Friday, January 14, 2005


Gearing up for the CHL Top Prospects Game

Even though there may not be an entry draft this summer, the CHL Top Prospects Game will be held, regardless, on Wednesday, January 19th.

John Davidson (replacing Bobby Orr, unfortunately) and Don Cherry have picked their rosters from amongst the top group of CHL prospects for this exciting annual event. As the game is taking place here in Vancouver, I get to have a first-chance look at many of these top prospects that I have only been able to watch on TV (especially Crosby and Zagrapan). Of course, I will take (bad) photos and have some scouting reports on selected prospects.

There is just one lone Slovak (Zagrapan) and one lone Czech (Kindl) playing this year due to a very weak European crop in the CHL these days.

Hometown hero Gilbert Brule will be playing for Cherry’s team, so the fans will ultimately be behind "Grapes" in this game.

It might be just ‘one’ game, but just ask Dion Phaneuf (“The Hit”) how much it can propel your draft status come July. With a bevy of scouts and NHL executives in attendance, this game offers them the chance to watch the best prospects compete against their true peers.

Personally, I would never put that much stock into a lone game. A season is a marathon, and one game shouldn’t erase the long-term trend of a particular player. Still, it would be hard not to get a little hyped on a particular player if he dazzled the crowd with big hits or big goals.

As an aside note: International Scouting Services (ISS) has released its latest Top 10 rankings. 8 out of the top 10 players on this list will be playing in this game! Jakub Kindl, who was previously in the Top 10, has dropped in recent months after a shaky CHL debut:

“Kindl’s adaptation to the North American game has been slower then expected. Although the overall skill set is good, ISS is starting to have trouble keeping him in its Top 10. His inconsistency is a concern and we are bothered by the fact that he picks his spots in terms of physical play. When he decides to turn it up, he is definitely a force, but these instances are becoming more sporadic. His dismissal from the Czech National Junior Team also raises some questions. Although we feel he will become a good NHL defenseman, his consistency will have to improve. Kindl has all of the tools that leave scouts excited.”
This game will be a great warmup for the 2006 WJC to be held here in Vancouver. So, here are the rosters for the game (barring last minute injuries)


Sidney Crosby, Rimouski Oceanic
Kenndal McArdle, Moose Jaw Warriors
Devin Setoguchi, Saskatoon Blades
Ryan O'Marra, Erie Otters
James Neal, Plymouth Whalers
Michael Blunden, Erie Otters
Wacey Rabbit, Saskatoon Blades
Blair Jones, Moose Jaw Warriors
Viatcheslav Trukhno, PEI Rocket
Patrick Davis, Kitchener Rangers
Evan Brophey, Belleville Bulls
Mathieu Aubin, Lewiston MAINEiacs


Luc Bourdon, Val d'Or Foreurs
Jakub Kindl, Kitchener Rangers
Marc Staal, Sudbury Wolves
Raymond Macias, Kamloops Blazers
Scott Jackson, Seattle Thunderbirds
Jean-Philippe Paquet, Shawinigan Cataractes

Alexandre Vincent, Chicoutimi Sagueneens
Daren Machesney, Brampton Battalion


Gilbert Brule, Vancouver Giants
Benoit Pouliot, Sudbury Wolves
Bobby Ryan, Owen Sound Attack
Chris Durand, Seattle Thunderbirds
Alex Bourret, Lewiston MAINEiacs
Dan Collins, Plymouth Whalers
Dan Ryder, Peterborough Petes
Nicholas Drazenovic, Prince George Cougars
Guillaume Latendresse, Drummondville Voltigeurs
Chris Lawrence, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Marek Zagrapan, Chicoutimi Sagueneens
Cody Bass, Mississauga IceDogs

Ryan Parent, Guelph Storm
Matt Lashoff, Kitchener Rangers
Brendan Mikkelson, Portland Winter Hawks
Oskars Bartulis, Moncton Wildcats
Dustin Kohn, Calgary Hitmen
Michael Sauer, Portland Winter Hawks

Carey Price, Tri-City Americans
Jean-Philippe Levasseur, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies

Wow. That's amazing. Team Cherry with Europeans and French players on the roster!

It's cool to see a couple of Erie Otters on the team. I hope they do well. Go see them play! They were awesome the past few seasons. I just might take a road trip up to see them soon.
Macias has been mostly playing forward, so I wonder where they'll put him for this game. He's a Californian, and as they notoriously are, is a fantastic skater without much sense for the game.
Macias - Yeah, I've felt the same way (not about all Californians..but I haven't done a study). I heard about Macias and some hype about him on McKeens and when I've been to Kamloops games, I basically see a good skater and that's about it.

Giants have a Californian - Tim Kraus - who would almost fit that description...though he's improved a bit. The level of competition down there doesn't yet breed brilliant hockey players, but at least they have the skating down.
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