Sunday, September 23, 2012
The 2012-13 hockey season is officially underway! Despite the prospect of no NHL games until January or later, there is plenty to watch and get excited about, especially for prospect fans. The CHL season started a few days ago, and the AHL and NCAA seasons will begin in a few more weeks, so if we can’t watch the present NHL, why not watch the future of the NHL?
The OHL kicked off on Thursday, and several high profile prospects were center-stage. Here are my observations on some key players:
Mark Scheifele (Winnipeg)- Scheifele was dominant with five points in his first two games. A confident Scheifele was physical (including dropping the gloves) and drove to the net with authority.
Cody Ceci (Ottawa)- Ceci also had five points in his first two games, including one goal. He was involved in both end of the ice, and his skating looked great. Ceci also showed his leadership off the ice, calling a players-only meeting following the team’s second loss in as many games.
Anthony Camara (Boston)- Camara really looked good in Barrie’s first game, notching a hat trick and showing a nose for the net. Camara is a great compliment to Scheifele, and the two show fill the scoresheet all season. The physical Camara looked stronger than last season, which is certainly good news to Bruins’ fans as well as those who may own him in deep keeper leagues.
Sean Monahan (Draft Eligible)- Monahan was an absolute beast for Ottawa in their first two games, tallying a pair of goals and two assists as well. He was always around the puck and could seemingly do what he wanted when he had it. If the first two games are any indication, Monahan will break out as an OHL superstar this season and will definitely be in the discussion for top pick in next summer’s NHL draft.
Boone Jenner (Columbus)- Jenner had two goals and an assist in one game and added a goal in the other, and was very effective using his size to create opportunities for himself and his teammates.
Lucas Lessio (Phoenix)- Lessio is the guy who surprised me the most over the first two games. The winger had two goals and an assist in his first pair of games, flashing very good foot speed along with a physical style and a nice finishing touch. He showed some of the potential that Phoenix saw when they chose him in the second round of the 2011 draft. He has a nice package of skills, and is now on my prospect sleeper list.
John Gibson (Anaheim)- Gibson made 25 saves while collecting a shutout in his first action of the season. Gibson was poised and technically sound and looked every bit like a future NHL netminder, despite not being tested a lot in this contest. With Gibson’s experience, he may not need much time in the minors and is possibly closer to being NHL-ready than thought.
Ryan Strome (Islanders)- Wasn’t bad by any means, but he sure didn’t assert himself the way you would expect. Strome had two assists in two games, and his obvious skill level did stand out at times, but I just expected more than what I saw from him.
Connor McDavid (Draft Eligible)- I have to include the player whom I’ve been asked about the most. I tweeted about him was watching the game, and I’ll repeat it here: This kid is the real deal. Believe the hype, His offensive instincts and skill level are off the charts. While short of dominant, he was certainly very involved in his first two OHL games, picking up his first (of many) goal and assist. His play away from the puck needs to improve, and he needs to get stronger, but he is without question a superstar in the making. In one of his first shifts he was welcomed to the league by Dougie Hamilton, who laid McDavid out with a hard open-ice check. McDavid sprung to his skates and got right back into the play, showing no signs of intimidation.
Seth Griffith (Boston)- As if the Bruins need another forward prospect, Griffith is progressing toward legitimate prospect status. The former fifth-rounder had a hat trick in his first game of the season, and his skating looked to be improved over last season. If his skating and shot ever come close to matching his excellent hockey IQ, he will jump up the prospect lists.
Matt Murray (Pittsburgh)- Okay, five pucks got past him in the game he won, and three more in the loss, but many of them weren’t Murray’s fault. He faced 82 shots in the two games, and received very little support from his mates. Murray showed good quickness and lateral agility and showed why the Penguins spent a third-round pick on a goalie with a GAA over 4.
Throughout the season, Brendan and I will continue to bring you prospect news and updates from the action that is taking place on the ice. You can get lockout news and updates many places, we want to be the place you turn for all of your prospect needs. Thanks for reading, and feel free to send your questions to @RichDillon17