Saturday, September 8, 2012

1500 reasons why prospect hockey matters

Oliver Bjorkstrand (Henning Blue Fox)
The final weekend of the CHL preseason is upon us and it is nice to see New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects treating this weekend as if they were trying to convince the two NHL teams to bring them back east for training camp.

Any other year and those getting ready to attend the NHL prospect camps would be sitting out this weekend (some are) so their teams can look to see who they should keep while the prospects are away.

As most of you already know I have relocated so the Portland Winterhawks are my local team and I have to say that several of their younger prospects have really caught my eye. Dominic Turgeon the son of the former Islander star Pierre is very much making a case not only to make the Winterhawks but to be one of the Top Six forwards.

Turgeon had 2 goals to help the Winterhawks earn a dominating 5-2 win over the Kootenay Ice on Friday. It was Turgeon 2nd and 3rd goals in 4 preseason games this year.

Turgeon is 3-2-5 in the 4 exhibition games he has played which puts him 7th in the WHL in preseason scoring but the only rookie in the Top Ten. His teammate Ty Rattie was 1-3-4 in the game and if Rattie a 2012 2nd round pick of the St. Louis Blues gets any shot at the NHL this year; I would not be shocked if he forced his way onto the Blue's roster.

Another player who is catching my eye is Oliver Bjorkstrand who played with NYR 2012 6th round pick Thomas Spelling last year in Denmark on the Henning Blue Fox. Not sure how Mike Johnson every year can find these European prospects who turn into major contributors but if Bjorkstrand was Henning's 3rd leading scorer last year at 16 then expect the Winterhawks to add to their NHL draft pick count.

Bjorkstrand was 1-1-3 in the Winterhawk win and is showing that he is picking up the North American game. Expect Bjorkstrand to earn serious consideration for Denmark's Under-20 team this winter.

One last Winterhawk note, Taylor Peters should be given the "C" by the Winterhawks already as he is showing the "right signs" to be a team captain. Hey Gordie Clark, here is a character player that deserves an invite to the CT Whale camp.

Rest of the WHL

Brenden Kichton (NYI 2011 5th) sat out his Spokane Chief's 4-0 win over the Everett Silvertips. Kichton (20) will be attending the Islander's AHL team's training camp in the event of a lockout has not played during the preseason.

Not much need to when you are one of the WHL's top defenseman and you can't blame Kichton when he says his goal is to play this season in the AHL not the WHL. Still would like to see Kichton get a game under his belt before he leaves because he could find himself right back in Spokane.

The Edmonton Oil Kings left Michael St. Croix (NYR 2011 4th) back in Edmonton along with a few other veterans as the team headed to Prince George for a pair of exhibition games. It was a chance for Edmonton coach Derek Laxdal to look at some of the younger players.

Griffin Reinhart (NYI 2012 1st) did make the trip but sat out Friday night game (a 3-1 loss to the Prince George Cougars). Reinhart is expected to be in the Oil King lineup on Saturday.

Shane McColgan (NYR 2011 5th) missed his Saskatoon Blade's 6-2 loss to the Prince Albert Raiders. McColgan is out with a knee injury that is not considered serious and only expected to keep him off the ice for about a week.


J.T. Miller (NYR 2011 1st) had an early night when he was ejected for fighting as his Plymouth Whaler's dropped a 6-4 decision to their rivals the London Knights. In the preseason any fighting major is an automatic ejection.

Not 100% sure of the details of the fight but while Miller is going to most likely attend the CT Whale training camp in the event of a lockout; I would rather not see him fighting unless he has no other choice.

This season when Miller gets into a fight then he is helping the other team more than he is his own. When you are a star and a leader then you can't do much from the penalty box to help your team win.

In Guelph, the Storm defeated the Barrie Colts 4-1 but we don't have any word on whether or not Andrey Pedan (NYI 2011 3rd) played. Preseason coverage is really hard to get in the OHL.

But with a big thank you to Neate Sager of Buzzing the Net who had this clip of Ryan Strome's 5 point night on Thursday to show you.

Sager also pointed us to an item towards a report that impacts NYR 2011 6th round pick defenseman Peter Ceresnak of the Peterborough Petes. Slater Koekkoek was Ceresnak's partner for most of the season last year.

If Koekkoek is out any significant amount of time then Ceresnak will need to elevate his overall game. Last year Ceresnak could get a pass because he was adapting to the North American game but no passes this year; Ceresnak needs to produce.

And got to hand it to the OHL as if you want to give your critics any ammo for the need of reforming the junior player's education package then check this out. Bill Walker who covers the Owen Sound Attack had this gem in it.

American winger Trevor Boyd was released because of his age (18 this year) and the fact that his education package was more expensive because it would be to a U.S. university

Are you kidding me here? Releasing a player because his education would be more expensive just because he is an American. If this doesn't stink of discrimination then I don't know what else to call.

But I sure want to hear how CHL President David Branch explains it when he says the players don't need a union. He is right they don't need a union but they sure do need a lawyer to protect their rights.


Samuel Noreau (NYR 2011 5th) earned his first point of the preseason with a secondary assist on a power play goal as his Baie-Comeau Drakkar defeated the Chicoutimi Saguenéens 4-1. Noreau was wearing the "A" for the Drakar and had a pretty decent game.

In addition to the assist, Noreau was a +2 on 1 shot and a roughing minor. Noreau has a huge opportunity to earn a Ranger contract if he has a solid season.

In Cape Breton, Islander 2012 4th round pick Loic Leduc was scoreless as his Cape Breton Screaming Eagle lost in the shootout to the Halifax Mooseheads 5-4. Leduc was a +1 for the game with a cross checking minor.

Oh yea and while we are down to 7 days until the lockout; the college prospects are heading to school so NCAA hockey is not too far off.

1500 Posts and going

This is the 1500th edition of the Prospect Park. Thank you for sticking it out and supporting not only me but the dreams of the kids.

They are the story and I am just their messenger but that I get to share this with all of you is what makes this happen. Once upon a time someone said Ranger fans would never support rebuilding because they want the already made stars.

You proved them wrong and now prospect coverage is just as important as the parent team itself. Without you I wonder would a Ryan Callahan be wearing the "C"?

My answer is no he would not be. Ranger fans have made it clear that while they want to see the stars on the team; they still cheer loudest for those who grew up as Rangers.

There used to be no coverage of the prospects but it is everywhere. That is because you folks demanded it.

Thank you


Michael van Bronkhorst said...

Bjorkstrand already played for the Danish U20s last year, didn't he? Scored too, don't see why he wouldn't be on the team again.

Jess Rubenstein said...

Thanks for the correction, I saw his brother's name and missed it.