There's an enormous amount of prospect action to cover, so this will be a multi-part news update. For this first part we'll look at the Grand Rapids Griffins, the OHL, and WHL players.
Grand Rapids Griffins
The Griffins have played three games since we last met here for a Prospect News update, and are 2-2-1 on the season.
This was the Griffins home opener, and myself and a group of fellow WiiM'ers had the pleasure of being in attendance. While the outcome was disappointing, there were many things to be learned. If you'd like a great play by play of what happened when, may I direct your attention to the WiiM recap that Stripe wrote; he also has the line combinations in his article.
Here are some of my observations in no particular order:
- Darren Helm played hockey! This was an exciting event. We all jumped out of our seats on both of his shorthanded breakaways, even though we didn't really think he would actually score on them. Helm is still a speedy mother Frk'er, and still has no hands. We love you Darren Helm.
- Riley Sheahan looked bigger, stronger, and played with a lot of energy and determination. It's not a stretch to think he's probably feeling a little pressure to be his absolute best. With Luke Glendening coming in and getting called up over Sheahan, I suspect there's a little extra motivation for Riley and it looks like that may be a good thing. I liked what I saw from him all night, because even when the team looked lethargic and sloppy, Sheahan never really slowed down, he just kept pressuring and I noticed him a lot when he was on the ice.
- Speaking of playing with energy and determination, Teemu Pulkkinen (Angus) gets an A for effort. He's still got work to do in his defensive game, and that was evident a few times on Friday night, but he is getting better. What I love about watching him, aside from the excited tingly feeling I get in my stomach when he unleashes a Holy Slapper, is that he plays with such ferocity. When he's on the ice, sometimes he seems like he's everywhere. He's not the biggest guy on the ice, but he doesn't mind being physical and he has so much energy and tenacity that it's sometimes exhausting just watching him.
- Calle Jarnkrok may look like just another quiet, reserved, polite young Swedish player. He's not imposing, neither physically nor in presence, but good lord I'm now convinced that behind that deceitfully innocent face is a psychopath who will devour your flesh.. and like it! Ok, slight exaggeration there, but only slightly. During the Prospect Tournament, I caught Iron Hook taunting the opposing centermen in the faceoff circle, and it struck me as comical, because he seems to be such a timid young man. Friday night, he surprised (and terrified?) us all by screaming at the opposing players on the ice, with his mouth wide open, and his teeth (he has kind of pointy teeth) bared. It looked like something I'd expect Hannibal Lecter to do right before tearing into a piece of human flesh. It was kind of scary and shocking. And if that wasn't enough, later on he was flicking his tongue at the opposition on the ice. If his goal was to scare his opponents into turning over the puck, I think it will work. It's one of the strangest things I've seen on the ice. He looks noticeably stronger and much more comfortable with the physicality of the game now than he did in his 9 games last Spring, and he's so darn smart, and sneaky, and now also terrifying.
- Please turn your text books to page 61 and prepare to make a new vocabulary entry. Ouelletwalled [Woo-let-walled] - Verb: When Xavier Ouellet Kronwalls someone. Oh yes, this is a thing that happened, and it was glorious and beautiful and amazing and fantastic and....the highlight of my night. About 10 feet in front of where we were sitting, Ouellet skated backwards/sideways (in that deceptive Kronwall way) across the blue line, into the offensive zone, and rammed hip/butt first into one of the Admirals players and leveled him against the boards. I'm still a little giddy when I think about it. I can tell Ouellet has been working out, because he's playing stronger and more physical than he was in the Prospect Tournament. He's never going to be a hulking player, but at 6'1" 190 pounds, he's as big as Kronwall is and he's very smart, effective, and is learning how to be physically effective against bigger players. There was something else about Ouellet that was very noticeable during the game Friday night, and I noticed this a bit during the Prospect Tournament as well. Ouellet is a leader, on the ice and off the ice. He was the Captain of his QMJHL team, the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, both seasons he was there, and the qualities that made him a good captain there, also make him a good leader in Grand Rapids. Ouellet was very vocal on the ice with his line mates, which helped them avoid confusion and mix ups. With so many new players on the Griffins team, who are not only new to the system, speed, size, and style of the game, but who also haven't played together before; the on ice communication between the players is important, and Ouellet led the way in this department.
The loss was disappointing, but more disappointing was how they lost. They scored early in the first, and had a 1 goal lead going into the second. After that, they just looked sloppy at times, tried to get too fancy, and let the Admirals take over the game. It's very reminiscent of the start they had last season, and that one turned out all right. I'm guessing that having so many new players on the team (there are 9 new players + Nick Jensen when he's able to play) and most of those new players still figuring out/adjusting to the jump up to the AHL, are a big contributor to the rocky start. With Blashill manning the ship, the leadership on the team, and the amount of skill on the roster, I expect wonderful things from the Griffins this season.
Here's a reminder of the prospects of interest that aren't currently with the Grand Rapids Griffins
|PROSPECT NAME||POS||HT||WT||DRAFTED||DOB||POB||Shoots||2013-2014 Team (League)|
|Andreas Athanasiou||C/LW||6.00||179||DET-12 (4-110)||8/6/1994||London Ont||L||Barrie Colts (OHL)|
|Tyler Bertuzzi||LW||6.00||178||DET-13 (2-58)||2/24/1995||Sudbury Ont||L||Guelph Storm (OHL)|
|Zach Nastasiuk||C/RW||6.01||190||DET-13 (2-48)||3/30/1995||Barre ONT||R||Owen Sound Attack (OHL)|
|Jake Paterson||G||6.02||183||DET-12 (3-80)||5/13/1994||Mississauga ONT||L||Saginaw Spirit (OHL)|
|Marc McNulty||D||6.06||185||DET-13 (6-169)||4/5/1995||Medicine Hat ALB||L||Prince George Cougars (WHL)|
|Mitchell Wheaton||D||6.05||230||DET-13 (5-139)||2/6/1995||Sherwood Park ALB||L||Kelowna Rockets (WHL)|
|Philippe Hudon||RW||6.00||190||DET-11 (5-145)||4/15/1993||Montreal PQ||R||Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL)|
|Anthony Mantha||LW||6.04||190||DET-13 (1-20)||9/16/1994||Longueiul PQ||L||Les Foreurs de Val-d’Or (QMJHL)|
|Mattias Bäckman||D||6.02||170||DET-11 ( 5-145)||10/3/1992||Linköping SWE||L||Linköping (SHL)|
|Mattias Janmark||C/LW||6.01||189||DET-13 (3-79)||12/8/1992||Stockholm SWE||L||A.I.K. (SHL)|
|Rasmus Bodin||C/LW||6.06||207||DET-12 (7-200)||5/5/1994||SWE||L||Linköping HC (J20 Superelit)|
|Hampus Melèn||RW||6.02||165||DET-13 (7-199)||2/28/1995||Karlskrona SWE||L||Tingsryds AIF (J20 Superelite)|
|David Pope||LW||6.02||187||DET-13 (4-109)||9/27/1994||Edmonton ALB||L||West Kelowna Warriors (BCHL)|
|James DeHaas||D||6.02||197||DET-12 (6-170)||5/5/1994||Mississauga ONT||L||Clarkson University (NCAA)|
|Ben Marshall||D||5.09||160||DET-10 (7-201)||8/30/1992||St. Paul MN||L||University of Minnesota (NCAA)|
|Mike McKee||D||6.04||230||DET-12 (4-140)||8/17/1993||Newmarket ONT||L||Western Michigan University (NCHC)
Barrie Colts: Andreas Athanasiou
|22||Andreas Athanasiou||LW/C||Barrie Colts||OHL||10||4||6||10||-2||15|
Friday, October 11th: Athanasiou didn't play in this game, and while I found no official explanation of why not, I suspect it probably had something to do with his fight from the previous game.
The stat sheet doesn't due Athanasiou justice in this game, so here are a few in game observations from someone who was able to watch it.
Andreas Athanasiou is dynamite tonight. Creating a few chances every shift, it seems.— Todd Cordell (@ToddCordell) October 13, 2013
Athanasiou is pretty frustrated. Several times tonight he's been wide open in scoring position and his teammates couldn't get him the puck.— Todd Cordell (@ToddCordell) October 13, 2013
#RedWings prospect Andreas Athanasiou is everywhere tonight. Creating tons of chances and physically engaged as well.— Todd Cordell (@ToddCordell) October 13, 2013
Athanasiou is on a point per game pace, leads his team in points and is tied for team lead in goals. The Colts are an offensively challenged team this season (scoring the 3rd fewest goals in the OHL) and are relying heavily on Athanasiou for offensive production. He is also the only unsigned Wings prospect whose signing deadline is this summer.
Guelph Storm: Tyler Bertuzzi
|17||Tyler Bertuzzi||LW||Guelph Storm||OHL||10||3||8||11||0||19|
Friday, October 11th: Bertuzzi didn't show up on the stat sheet in this 5-1 win, but I listened to the game and he had at least 2-3 good scoring opportunities and I heard his name a lot, in a good way. From what I could hear on the radio, it sounded like he was driving the net, making smart plays with the puck, and he had both PK and PP time as well. Video Highlights / Box Score / Storm Recap
Bertuzzi is just a hair above a point per game (1.14 ppg), which is 4th best on his team right now. Bertuzzi has only been held off the score sheet in 3 games so far this season. His first year in the OHL he had an average of .2 points per game, and last year he had n average of .5 points per game. The season is still young (the Storm have 68 games in their regular season), but he's currently on pace for 74.8 points on the season. His highest point total in two OHL season has been 22, and I don't expect 75 points from him, but if he keep up at even half the pace he is now, it will be a great year for him.
On a offense heavy team, he's currently 7th in points (though most of his have been assists). The Storm have scored the 2nd most goals in the OHL, and are tied for 2nd in the league in goals scored/goald against differential. With Scott Kosmachuk, Brock McGinn, Hunter Garnlet, and Robby Fabbri all hogging the offensive spotlight, Bertuzzi has been doing a pretty good job of filling the assist/secondary role that's needed on that team.
His penalty minutes are the second highest on the team , and he's currently averaging slightly higher penalty per game than last year (1.9 this year), and about the same as his first year. Penalties have been a problem for the whole team this year, and that issue has been brought up and discussed at length by team reporters, game announcers, and coaches. Tyler has also only taken 1 minor penalty in his last 5 games, and hopefully that decreased trend continues. Overall, not a bad start for Bertuzzi.
Owen Sound Attack: Zack Nastasiuk
|27||Zach Nastasiuk||RW||Owen Sound Attack||OHL||12||7||7||14||-6||8|
"Zach leads by example with his incredible work ethic.", said Head Coach Greg Ireland. "He does things right at both ends of the rink and is a great ambassador for our hockey club both on and off the ice."
Just another Red Wings prospect making us proud.
Zach was named the player of the week for the second time this month. Attacker of the Week
After being named the 20th Captain in Owen Sound franchise history, Nastasiuk had two big games, leading the Attack to their 3rd straight victory.
On Friday night in Sarnia, the Attack were down 2-1 late in the game when Nastasiuk took the team on his shoulders. Nastasiuk scored the tying goal and the winning goal while adding an assist en route to being named the first star of the game.
Saturday evening, the Attack were home to the powerhouse Kingston Frontenacs. Nastasiuk had himself another fine night as he tallied two goals and two assists and was once again named the first star of the game.
The Barrie native tallied seven points in two games and now sits with thirteen points on the season.
That's 4 goals and 3 assists since being named team captain, and the second time this month that he was named player of the week. It sounds like Nasty is a solid leader on his team (obvious statement is obvious) and this may be a case where he performs even better with the added responsibility. Great quality to have in a player, or even greater quality to have in a player?
Nastasiuk is second in points and goals on his team. He's currently at 1.16 goals/game and is on pace for 79.3 points this season. The most points in a season he's previously had was 40 last season. As with all the OHL players so far, we're still early in the season, so extrapolating is sill a bit risky. Once we get to 17 games in the OHL season, that will be comparable to a 20 game analysis in the NHL and we can start to get a better picture of what to expect in the season long run.
Saginaw Spirit: Jake Patterson
|57||Jake Paterson||G||Saignaw Spirit||OHL||10||0.907||36||3.58||5||5||352|
Friday, October 11th: Paterson stopped 37/40 shots in a 5-3 win. Box Score
Saturday, October 12th: Paterson got the night off.
Monday, October 14th: Paterson stopped 22/23 shots and was the 2nd star in a 2-1 win. / Box Score
Saturday, October 19th: Paterson stopped 27/32 shots in a 5-3 loss. Box Score
Since goalies in the OHL are difficult to gauge because they typically see a ton of shots, often don't have a lot of defense, scoring at this level is very high, and the goalies have a much higher GAA than we would typically expect, let's see how Paterson stacks up in comparison to other OHL goalies to gain some context.
in the OHL, Paterson is currently:
- 16th in GAA among goalies who have played at least 280 minutes.
- 11th in SV%, again with a 280 minutes played minimum.
- 3rd in minutes played (604)
- 4th in saves (the goalie with the most saves (405) has played 2 more games than Paterson and 4th in shots against as well.
Paterson sees a lot of shots, makes a lot of saves, plays a lot of minutes, and most night is the reason his team has a chance to win. The Spirit are in 7th place in the Western Conference out of 10 teams and is not a strong team. Some of the goals on Paterson have been painful to watch because the defense is just.... terrible. Don't let the seemingly less than stellar stats fool you, this kid is good, and most nights carries this team on his back.
Prince George Cougars: Marc McNulty
|3||Marc McNulty||D||Prince George Cougars||WHL||14||2||4||6||+1||32|
Friday, October 11th: McNulty was a +1 and had 4 PIM (double minor high sticking) in a 3-2 SO loss. / Box Score /
Saturday, October 12th: McNulty was a +1 in a 4-3 win. / Box Score /
Monday, October 14th: McNulty was a -2 and had 2 PIM in a 3-0 loss. / Box Score /
Friday, October 18th: McNulty was a +1 and had 4 PIM in a 5-4 SO loss. / Box Score /
Saturday, October 19th: McNulty was a +1 and had 2 PIM in a 3-2 loss to Mitchell Wheaton and Kelowna Rockets. / Box Score /
Kelowna Rockets: Mitchell Wheaton
|6||Mitchell Wheaton||D||Kelowna Rockets||WHL||2||0||1||1||-1||4|
Wednesday, October 16th: Wheaton played his first game since April 10th. He suffered a shoulder injury that made him miss the end of the regular season last year and the first round of the Rockets playoffs. He returned to play 4 games in the second round, but either wasn't really healed, or got another injury (I'm not sure which). This was his first game back and he had 2 PIM. Video Highlights / Box Score
Part 2 will be coming up on Thursday.
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