Monday, March 4, 2013

Michael St. Croix WHL Player of the Week (Updated with the Newest NYR Prospect)

Michael St. Croix (Edmonton Oil Kings)
CALGARY, AB. - The Western Hockey League announced today that Edmonton Oil Kings forward Michael St. Croix is the Denny's WHL Player of the Week.

St. Croix collected nine points, scoring two goals and seven assists to go with a +5 rating in three games over the past week, helping the Oil Kings to a 3-0-0-0 road record in that span.

On Tuesday, February 26, the Oil Kings were in Seattle to face the Thunderbirds. St. Croix gathered one goal, two assists and was named the games' 2nd Star as the Oil Kings tripled the Tbirds 6-2. On Wednesday, February 27, the Portland Winterhawks hosted the Oil Kings in a finalist reunion of the 2012 WHL Championship Series. St. Croix collected one goal, one assist and was named the game's 3rd Star as the Oil Kings edged the 'Hawks 4-3. The Oil Kings wrapped up their U.S. Division road trip with a stop in Everett on Friday, March 1. St. Croix nabbed four assists and was named the games' 1st Star in the Oil Kings 7-1 triumph over the Silvertips.

St. Croix currently sits 9th among all WHL scorers with 83 points (33 goals, 50 assists) in 66 games played thus far this season. The Edmonton Oil Kings have won 16 of their last 20 contests and currently sit 1st in the WHL Eastern Conference with a 46-15-2-3 record for 97 points.

A 19-year-old from Winnipeg, MB, St. Croix is playing his fourth straight year with the Edmonton Oil Kings. Originally a 4th overall selection by the Oil Kings in the 2008 WHL Draft, the shifty centerman was selected in the 4th round of the 2011 NHL Draft by the New York Rangers.

Josh Nicholls (Saskatoon Blades)
Meet the newest New York Ranger prospect Josh Nicholls of the Saskatoon Blades and a stick tap to the Rangers for snagging a prospect who would have signed a NHL deal this spring. Nicholls is a 6'2 200 lb right wing who was originally a draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs but not signed by them.

Nicholls is currently a linemate of 2011 5th round pick Shane McColgan and is having a rather strong overage season for the Blades. Nicholls is 41-32-73 (19th in WHL) in 65 games for the Blades, is their leading goal scorer who has 5 power play, 4 shorthand goals and 4 game winners.

Needs to bulk up the upper body as while he has the size, he needs more muscle on the body. Has a strong move towards the net and can create his own offense but is also the kind of player who adapts well to whoever is on the line with him.

Not going to make the jump right to the NHL but is coachable and Ken Germander will like having him on the Whale roster next season. Nicholls will be playing in the Memorial Cup this spring giving the Rangers 2 players with a shot to keep the championship streak alive.

Skating which is the typical area of concern these days for the prospects but if Brian Boyle can have his skating issues fixed so can Nicholls.

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