With the World Junior Championship finished, our Hot List Hall of Famers Steven Stamkos and John Tavares return to their shrines, likely until the OHL playoffs. In the meantime, let’s give a little extra love to the goalies this week – they were shining in the Czech Republic, but also making waves elsewhere.
1. Steve Mason, G – Kitchener Rangers (OHL): What else can be said about Mason’s wild ride at the world juniors? Derided by the media, then bafflingly traded by the London Knights in the most uncouth manner possible, his trip to Pardubice ended with a .951 save percentage, a 1.19 goals-against average and a whole lotta hardware with Team Canada. This may be his last appearance on The Hot List since he’s been called up to Columbus. Drafted 69th overall by Columbus in 2006.
2. Richard Bachman, G – Colorado College Tigers (WCHA): Getting drafted by the Dallas Stars as a goaltender is a double-edged sword. On one hand, you know you’re good if Dallas picks you, because the team has a knack for churning out solid keepers. On the other hand, you’re going to have to wait in a long line for your shot at the NHL – just ask Dan Ellis. But freshman Tigers goalie Richard Bachman has no problem playing his hockey in Colorado Springs for a while.
“I look at it as a positive,” Bachman said of his situation. “Marty Turco played four years of college. (The Stars) let you come into your own.”
For Bachman, it’s happening fast. He currently leads the WCHA in all the important statistical categories with some eye-opening numbers: A 1.63 goals-against average, .941 save percentage and a .812 winning percentage for the first-place Tigers. And in 10 of 14 WCHA starts he's allowed one goal or fewer. So what’s the key to his success?
“I think I stay square to the shooter,” Bachman offered. “And I move side-to-side well.”
And with Colorado College’s star-studded lineup, which also features Maple Leafs pick Chad Rau and Chicago prospect Bill Sweatt, Bachman is hoping to end a long national championship drought in Colorado Springs.
“We have something special in our dressing room,” he said. “Our depth at forward is great, our defense has stepped up and the senior guys help out the young guys.”
But if the Tigers hope to make it to the Frozen Four this season, it’s going to be a certain frosh between the pipes those senior guys will be looking for help from. Drafted 120th overall by Dallas in 2006.
3. James van Riemsdyk, LW – New Hampshire Wildcats (Hockey East): He couldn’t get his team past Canada, but van Riemsdyk still led the world juniors in scoring and showed some elite skill. Drafted second overall by Philadelphia in 2007.
4. Jhonas Enroth, G – Sodertalje (Swe): Enroth looked devastated in losing the WJC gold in overtime, but the Sabres prospect was a big reason Sweden got to the final in the first place. If there’s any solace for Enroth, it looks like he has a bright pro future. Drafted 46th overall by Buffalo in 2006.
5. Nikita Filatov, LW – CSKA 2 (Rus): Filatov cemented his position as the top European in the draft this year with a two-goal, three-point finish against the Americans, part of a nine point, plus-seven tournament that saw him finish just behind van Riemsdyk in scoring. Draft eligible in 2008.
6. Eric Filiou, C – Nanaimo Clippers (BCHL): The Clippers are one of the top Jr. A teams in Canada right now and part of the credit goes to Filiou, a Quebec import who also played for the legendary Notre Dame Hounds in Saskatchewan. Filiou has 50 points through 41 games. Draft eligible in 2008.
7. Alex Pietrangelo, D – Niagara IceDogs (OHL): Scouts love his size (6-foot-4, 210 pounds) and he’s averaging just under a point per game this year, but Pietrangelo’s huge asset is his responsible play. He was plus-40 as an OHL rookie last season and is already at plus-20 this year. Draft eligible in 2008.
8. Julius Hudacek, G – Spisska Nova Ves (Svk): Hudacek ended the world juniors with the second-best save percentage in the tourney behind Mason and clearly kept the Slovaks from ruin. Draft eligible in 2008.
9. Mike Iggulden, C – Worcester Sharks (AHL): Iggulden is putting himself in a really good position to get called up to San Jose anytime now, posting the best numbers in his career, with 36 points in 34 games. Plus he has great power forward size (6-foot-3, 215 pounds). Signed as a free agent by San Jose in 2006.
10. Mikhail Stefanovich, RW – Quebec Remparts (QMJHL): Not a ton of prospects hail from Belarus, but Stefanovich is putting up some very nice numbers for Patrick Roy’s squad. The rookie has crested the all-important point-per-game mark with 38 in 36. Draft eligible in 2008.
11. Scott Glennie, C – Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL): Glennie doesn’t turn 17 until next month, but he’s put up 29 points in 29 games for the Wheat Kings and he’s a plus-10, so watch for him on the horizon. Draft eligible in 2009.
12. Steve Quailer, LW – Sioux City Musketeers (USHL): The Colorado native is going to the East Coast next year, committing to Northeastern (Hockey East) over the holidays. The 6-foot-4 Quailer is putting up nice numbers on a very strong Sioux City squad. Draft eligible in 2008.
13. Colten Teubert, D – Regina Pats (WHL): The big Pats defenseman is a projected first-rounder who has drawn comparisons to Chris Pronger. He’s got NHL size and has already dealt with expectations of being a high pick in the Dub. Draft eligible in 2008.
14. Cody Hodgson, C – Brampton Battalion (OHL): Projected as a top-five pick this year, Hodgson has been lauded for his strong two-way play. He can put up big points, but most importantly has turned around an ugly minus-21 last year into a plus-13 this season. Draft eligible in 2008.
15. Louis Leblanc, C – Lac St. Louis Lions (QMAAA): Leblanc has done everything a phenom does so far in his young career: Played underage at major tournaments, put up big numbers and inspired panic and panting among Quebec League teams fearful he’ll go to the NCAA. His 48 points through 22 games was tops in the Quebec midget league. Draft eligible in 2009.
The Hot List, a weekly roundup of minor league, junior, college and high school players we’re exciting to one day see in the NHL, appears every Tuesday, only on thehockeynews.com.
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