Jordan Binnington has been the best goalie in the OHL this season and is pushing for a spot on Team Canada's WJC squad. (Photo by Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
The purpose of the Hot List is not just to celebrate those who had big weeks – that would get pretty repetitive. Instead, it’s also a place to shine light on a whole range of players reaching for the spotlight. So Anthony Mantha, Jonathan Drouin, Taylor Cammarata and Hunter Shinkaruk may not be on the list this week, but rest assured they’ve all been piling up the points lately. Here’s a look at some of the other intriguing prospects in the hockey world today.
When Harvard comes calling, you better have a pretty good reason for saying thanks but no thanks. For Gauthier, 10 goals and 20 points in 17 games for Rimouski is a pretty good riposte. That makes him the top rookie scorer in the ‘Q’ and affirms the decision he made to join the Oceanic after an exemplary year in midget AAA.
“Rimouski is a great organization, they’ve helped me out a lot,” Gauthier said. “My goal is to get to the draft and be in the NHL.”
The kid certainly has the tools. Standing 6-foot-4, 219 pounds, Gauthier is a big pivot who prides himself on playing intelligently in all three zones.
“I’ve always been good defensively and with my skating,” he said. “D-zone is what I like to do, that’s my big point.”
Gauthier would still like to improve on his physical play and faceoff work, which will go a long way in helping him emulate his favorite NHLer, Carolina’s Jordan Staal. Playing on the league champion College Esther-Blondin squad last season along with future Oceanic teammate Maxime Gravel, Chicoutimi’s Laurent Dauphin and Sherbrooke’s Daniel Audette, Gauthier helped his team to the national championship game before falling in double-OT to Red Deer, but the loss made him stronger.
“It was a lesson for me,” he said. “The game is never over.” Draft eligible in 2013.
OK, Schultz is here because he is incredibly hot right now – you’ve already heard of him. But how do you ignore a rookie pro defenseman who leads the American League in scoring with six goals and 12 points in seven games? The puck-moving D-man is already attracting top attention from opponents, but it doesn't seem to matter. The Anaheim draft pick was signed as a free agent by Edmonton in 2012.
Since teammate Anthony Duclair has been sidelined by injury and import Nick Sorensen is starting to get caught in a numbers game, Erne has attracted more of the spotlight in Quebec so far. The sturdy American has been held off the scoresheet just once this year and has six points in his past two games to put him 13th in the league with 24 points in 15 games. Draft eligible in 2013.
A defensive defenseman just traded from the hot-shot Oil Kings Wednesday, Geertsen is an intimidating presence on the back end at 6-foot-4, 203 pounds and he uses that frame to the fullest. A punishing hitter and shutdown man, he can also do damage when he drops the mitts. Draft eligible in 2013.
Who will be Canada’s goaltenders at the world juniors? Malcolm Subban seems to be a lock, but Binnington is making a pretty good case for the other slot. The Owen Sound netminder hasn’t given up more than three goals in a game this season, boasts a 9-1-2 record and a league-leading 1.96 goals-against average. Drafted 88th overall by St. Louis in 2011.
Yakimov will be one of the Russians to watch at the CHL Super Series, which begins next week in Quebec. A towering specimen at 6-foot-5, 202 pounds, the skilled two-way player is great at both protecting and dishing the puck. This season, he’s been bumped up from junior to the Russian league below the KHL, the VHL. In 12 games, he has a respectful five points while playing against men. Draft eligible in 2013.
Committed to Penn State, McAdam has two shutouts in his past three appearances, earning him goalie-of-the-week honors in the United States League. He’ll also tend net for Team USA at the World Jr. A Challenge next week and played at the All-American Prospects Game in Buffalo last month. Plus, he leads the USHL with a sick .960 save percentage. Draft eligible in 2013.
Miami came into the season with a lot of turnover and freshman contributions were going to be needed to sustain the program’s success. Enter Barber, a gifted offensive talent who won a USHL title with Dubuque. The right winger is tops among CCHA scorers with four goals and eight points in six games, helping Miami to a stellar 4-1-1 record. Drafted 167th overall by Washington in 2012.
Though Mantha is getting the hype (and rightly so), Murphy is also carving himself out a nice season with 11 points through 16 games. An effortless skater with nice size, Murphy has been a key defender for the Foreurs along with Tampa prospect Artem Sergeev. Draft eligible in 2013.
Tied for the team lead in scoring with Red Wings pick Marek Tvrdon, Houck gets most of his points in a playmaking role and has a nice frame and quickness to his game. Along with his offensive side, Houck can also throw some pretty mean hits when the occasion arises. Draft eligible in 2013.
The Hot List, a roundup of minor league, junior, college and high school players we’re excited to one day see in the NHL, appears every Tuesday on thehockeynews.com. A player is eligible for The Hot List until they play their first NHL game.
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