With major junior playoffs in full swing, the Frozen Four set and some ex-NCAA players getting their feet wet in the American League, there’s a lot of turf to cover this week, so let’s get right to our weekly collection of the kids we’re excited to see in the NHL some day.
1. Zac Dalpe, C – Albany River Rats (AHL): The former Ohio State Buckeye has been gold for the Rats since his college career ended. Dalpe, playing with former Toronto first round draft pick Jiri Tlusty, has seven points in seven AHL games, including a hat trick against Syracuse. Look for him to get a shot with the Canes next season. Drafted 45th overall by Carolina in 2008.
2. Blake Geoffrion, LW – University of Wisconsin Badgers (WCHA): A Hobey Baker Award finalist, Geoffrion has kept it going in the most important games. The grandson of Bernie ‘Boom Boom’ Geoffrion has 11 points in six post-season tilts and was the West region’s most valuable player leading up to the Frozen Four. The senior also kills penalties and can take faceoffs with efficiency. Drafted 56th overall by Nashville in 2006.
3. Ryan Ellis, D – Windsor Spitfires (OHL): Ellis and Taylor Hall have played together for three years now, so it’s no surprise the Spits teammates know how to connect for goals. With 13 assists and 15 points in seven playoff games so far, Ellis may also be helping his buddy get the draft edge on Plymouth’s Tyler Seguin. Windsor leads the Whalers 3-0 in their second round matchup right now. Drafted 11th overall by Nashville in 2009.
4. Calvin Pickard, G – Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL): Pickard faced a lot of rubber with the T-Birds this year, but he’ll have a solid roster in front of him as one of Team Canada’s goalies at the under-18 championship in Belarus this month. His .914 save percentage was excellent, considering the 2,207 shots he faced were hundreds more than his closest competitor. Draft eligible in 2010.
5. Jordan Schroeder, C – Manitoba Moose (AHL): Undersized, but not outclassed, Schroeder has picked up his game in the ‘A’ after a so-so sophomore year with the University of Minnesota. The 19-year-old pivot has seven points in eight games for the Moose, a better points pace than he had with the Gophers this season. Drafted 22nd overall by Vancouver in 2009.
6. Ryan Johansen, C – Portland Winterhawks (WHL): The young Hawks are in tough against Vancouver in the second round of the Dub playoffs, but Johansen has been there for them. The 6-foot-3, 188-pound pivot leads the team in post-season scoring with 13 points through nine games. Draft eligible in 2010.
7. Geoffrey Schemitsch, D – Owen Sound Attack (OHL): Another player who will benefit from exposure at the under-18s, Schemitsch was a playmaking force for Owen Sound and he did it as an Ontario League rookie. His 40 points was tops in the circuit among freshmen blueliners and now he’ll take his skills to Belarus for Canada. Draft eligible in 2010.
8. Joel Chouinard, D – Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL): The upstart Tigres are on the verge of eliminating the powerhouse Quebec Remparts and Chouinard has played a big role. The veteran Quebec League blueliner has eight points in nine playoff games after his most offensively successful regular season to date. Drafted 167th overall by Colorado in 2008.
9. Jake Allen, G – Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL): Allen and the Volts have yet to drop a game and the statistics reflect the juggernaut results. Allen sports a nice 1.66 goals-against average in the playoffs, tops among starting goalies in the ‘Q,’ plus a solid .921 save percentage. Drafted 34th overall by St. Louis in 2008.
10. Cam Atkinson, RW – Boston College Eagles (Hockey East): In a wild 9-7 victory over Yale, Atkinson was the main attraction for BC, tallying a hat trick and an assist. The diminutive right winger led the Eagles in scoring this season with 50 points in 40 games and now has his eye on a Frozen Four date with Miami. Drafted 157th overall by Columbus in 2008.
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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