Things are heating up in the Q this week thanks to some big scores and big names. Meanwhile, with the CHL/Russia summit coming to a close, the next big tourney on the horizon is the World Junior Championship, where Hot List Hall of Famers John Tavares and Steven Stamkos hope to ply their wares for defending champion Canada.
Look for special WJC Hot Lists in the near future…
1. Marc-Andre Bourdon, D – Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL): The defensive player of the week in the ‘Q,’ Bourdon tallied six points in two games, but it’s his league-leading plus-14 that will have NHL teams curious this summer. Draft eligible in 2008.
2. Jakub Voracek, RW – Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL): The Blue Jackets pick has officially hit the vaunted two points-per-game average and leads the league in scoring despite playing only 25 games. Drafted 7th overall by Columbus in 2007.
3. Jase Weslosky, G – St. Cloud State Huskies (WCHA): Isles pick has size (6-foot-2) and skill (2.03 goals-against average in 11 decisions). Of course, with Rick DiPietro’s contract, sophomore Weslosky is certainly free to stay all four years in college. Drafted 108th overall by Islanders in 2006.
4. Nick Spaling, C – Kitchener Rangers (OHL): Had a great showing at the OHL/Russia challenge and is putting up serious numbers in domestic play with 45 points (26 goals) in 28 games. Drafted 58th overall by Nashville in 2007.
5. Jared Cowan, D – Spokane Chiefs (WHL): Projected as a top-five pick in 2009, Cowan is a mammoth defender at 6-foot-5, 211 pounds. He’s also still 16 until the new year, but still boasts a plus-16 so far. Draft eligible in 2009.
6. Ryan Ellis, D – Windsor Spitfires (OHL): This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Spitfires, but someone forget to tell the troops that. Under the tutelage of new owners (and former NHLers) Bob Boughner and Warren Rychel, the Spits are second in their division and third overall.
Part of that success comes from the rapid ascent of 16-year-olds such as defenseman Ryan Ellis, whose 24 points in 29 games – 17 of them on the power play – have lifted the once moribund Windsor side.
“We came to play right off the bat,” said Ellis of the team’s hot start. “No one wanted to lose like last year.”
Ellis, who counts rookie NHLer Kris Russell as an on-ice role model, views teammate and fellow blueliner Elgin Reid as the Spits’ initial power play threat from the point, but the youngster has his own deadly moves for opponents to worry about.
“If I get a shooting lane, I’ll take it,” he said. “But I like to dish it, too.”
Another ingredient to Ellis and the Spits’ growth is the presence of Boughner and Rychel, who have infused the team with enthusiasm and experience.
“We play 3-on-3 with them at practice,” Ellis noted. “It’s great. Everything that comes from them is helpful, because they’ve been there.”
And with the way Ellis is playing, he’ll be “there” before long, too. Draft eligible in 2009.
7. Mattias Tedenby, LW – HV71 (Swe. U20): At 17, Tedenby continues his speedy run through Sweden, notching 24 points in 20 games and bolstering his profile for the World Junior Championship. Draft eligible in 2008.
8. Michael Frolik, LW – Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL): Eight assists in a week is a pretty good way to get yourself on The Hot List. Frolik is a first round pick and with 25 points in 18 games, he’s starting to look like one. Drafted 10th overall by Florida in 2006.
9. Chad Kolarik, C – Michigan Wolverines (CCHA): The other half of Michigan’s terrible Phoenix twosome (alongside Kevin Porter), Kolarik is clicking at a super pace in his senior season at Ann Arbor, second in league scoring to Porter with 22 points in 16 games. Drafted 199th overall by Phoenix in 2004.
10. Nicholas Champion, G – Woodstock Slammers (MJAHL): The Maritimes’ Slammers moved up to No. 2 amongst junior- A teams in Canada this week and Champion has been a big part of that run, posting a 12-1-3 record and a league-leading 2.15 GAA. Draft eligible in 2008.
11. Mitch Fadden, C – Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL): In his fourth year of junior, Fadden is building up a head of steam with 40 points through 30 games and is on pace for a career high. Drafted 107th overall by Tampa Bay in 2007.
12. Drew Doughty, D – Guelph Storm (OHL): One of this year’s top-ranked draft possibilities, Doughty got another boost to his resume with an invite to the Canadian national junior team final evaluation camp. Draft eligible in 2008.
13. Drayson Bowman, LW – Spokane Chiefs (WHL): Bowman has been hovering amongst the top scorers in “The Dub” all season, so it’s about time he got some love on The List. Drafted 72nd overall by Carolina in 2007.
14. Alexei Cherepanov, RW – Avangard Omsk (Rus.): After a slow start, Cherepanov is rounding into form and now has 14 points in 26 games. That may not sound outstanding, but Alexei Yashin only has 21 points in 32 games and Cherepanov’s still a teenager. Drafted 17th overall by Rangers in 2007.
15. Kevin Regan, G – New Hampshire Wildcats (Hockey East): The senior goaltender is leading the conference in winning percentage as the Wildcats battle in a tough Hockey East race. Drafted 277th overall by Boston in 2003.
The Hot List, a a weekly roundup of players we can’t wait to see in an NHL uniform, appears every Tuesday, only on thehockeynews.com.
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