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Setting the stage

Matt Duchene has been making waves in NHL draft talk lately and his clutch playoff play is only making matters more complicated. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

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Matt Duchene has been making waves in NHL draft talk lately and his clutch playoff play is only making matters more complicated. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Prospect season never truly ends; it just reloads. While the Canadian League playoff races are closing out and the Memorial Cup is within sight, the Ontario League and the Western League both held their drafts recently. Let’s take a look at some of the young stars involved, not to mention a few other notables who we can’t wait to see in the NHL one day.

1. Matt Duchene, C – Brampton Battalion (OHL): After getting choke-slammed by Windsor in the first two games of the OHL final, the Troops got back off the mat in Game 3. Duchene had another great goal and an assist in a 4-2 must-win game, showing once again why he is top-three material this summer. Draft eligible in 2009.

2. Daniel Catenacci, C – York-Simcoe Express (OMHA): The first overall pick in the OHL draft, Catenacci is being welcomed with open arms in Sault Ste. Marie, where he is expected to suit up for the Soo Greyhounds next year. Catenacci had 87 points in 39 midget AAA games this year and plays the game at high speed. Draft eligible in 2011.

3. John Moore, D – Chicago Steel (USHL): Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? Despite the fact Moore is committed to Colorado College for next season, Kitchener took a flyer on the smooth-skating defenseman – who plays a Scott Niedermayer-type game – in the second round of the OHL draft. Draft eligible in 2009.

4. Scott Harrington, D – Kingston Voyageurs (OJHL):
Seen as one of the top prospects available in the OHL draft, Harrington’s fall to the end of the first round was based on his proclamations of NCAA interest in the future. But that didn’t bother the powerful London Knights, who tend to be very persuasive in getting players in their uniform. Is Harrington this year’s John Carlson? Draft eligible in 2011.

5. Kirill Kabanov, LW – Moscow Spartak (Rus. 2):
The mercurial young Russian star is already making CHL scouts drool and rumors of his destination are rampant, even though the import draft isn’t until the summer. Wherever he ends up (including staying in Russia to play up in the Kontinental League), Kabanov will put up points thanks to his great technical skills. Draft eligible in 2010.

6. Derrick Pouliot, D – Weyburn Wings (SSMHL):
The Saskatchewan native went first overall in the Dub’s bantam draft and will provide another building block for the Portland Winter Hawks. A puck-moving defenseman, Pouliot was nearly a goal-per-game player this year and led his team with 38 assists in 26 games. Draft eligible in 2012.

7. Matt Dumba, D – Calgary Bronks (AMBHL): A Dion Phaneuf-type defenseman playing for Red Deer? Naw, it can’t work. Kidding aside, Dumba can move the puck and skate, not to mention lay out unsuspecting opponents. He was Red Deer’s first pick in the Dub bantam draft. Draft eligible in 2012.

8. Timo Pielmeier, G – Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL): Down goes Drummondville! Pielmeier’s Cataractes dealt the Volts their first loss of the playoffs with a 5-3 win in Game 1 of the ‘Q’ final and having veteran goaltending will certainly help the Cataractes in this series. Drafted 83rd overall by San Jose in 2007 (traded to Anaheim in ’09).

9. Cody Almond, C – Kelowna Rockets (WHL): Perhaps an even bigger shock is previously undefeated Calgary going down 3-0 in its series against upstart Kelowna. No slouches themselves, the Rockets got an empty-netter from Almond, who now has 25 points in 19 post-season games. Drafted 140th overall by Minnesota in 2007.

10. Mark Guggenberger, G – Kelowna Rockets (WHL): When you give up just three goals in three games to a previously unstoppable team, you get some Hot List love. Guggenberger has bounced around in his Dub career, but is rockin’ it with the Rockets, posting a stellar 2.02 goals-against average in the post-season. Draft eligible in 2009 (undrafted in ’08).

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The Hot List, a weekly roundup of minor league, junior, college and high school players we’re excited to one day see in the NHL, appears every Tuesday only on thehockeynews.com.

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