Quinton Howden scored 65 points in 65 games with Moose Jaw this season. (Cory Kerr Photography)
Oh, Hot List, I can’t quit you. There’s just too much going on right now not to file another roundup of the prospects we’re excited to see in the NHL one day.
What with summer signings and the draft combine results coming out, let’s get right to our weekly list – that will appear sporadically as fits in the off-season – of players we can’t wait to see in the NHL someday.
1. Quinton Howden, LW – Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL): A complete player who can work as a checker or put up points in an offensive role, Howden was a standout on an otherwise disappointing Team Canada that finished seventh at the world under-18s.
“It was definitely unfortunate how things worked out and we would have loved to do better as a team,” Howden said. “But every guy was a good guy and we all played our hearts out there so we just have to hope for the best now at the draft.”
With a solid 6-foot-3, 183-pound frame, Howden has NHL size, but it’s his skills that scouts will be more focused on.
“I’d say my skating is one of my strongest assets,” he said. “I think I see the ice pretty well and I have a pretty good shot.”
Howden still wants to improve his level of grittiness and corner play, but has a pretty good model in mind when looking towards his NHL future: Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks.
“He creates offensive chances and can put the puck in the net, but is also relied upon defensively,” Howden said. “He plays in key situations in the game and is always making something happen.”
And based on projections, there’s a team with a first round pick who will be looking to acquire much of the same this June when they pick Howden. Draft eligible in 2010.
2. Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, LW – Timra IK (Swe.): The one we call MPS has officially penned his entry level contract with the Edmonton Oilers, meaning there’s a good chance you’ll see him wearing copper and blue next season. The speedy Paajarvi-Svensson absolutely lit up the World Championship ice for Sweden last month, tallying nine points in nine games (good for third in the tourney), earning a bronze medal and getting named to the media all-star team. Drafted 10th overall by Edmonton in 2009.
3. Jack Campbell, G – U.S. NTDP (USHL): Campbell claimed he came to the draft combine aiming to be the best overall, not just the best goaltender. Based on statistics, he did a pretty good job backing his words up. The future Windsor Spitfire finished second in the grueling V02 Max bike test, fifth in the Vertek vertical jump (no-pause category) and had one of the lowest percentages of body fat overall. Draft eligible in 2010.
4. Danny Biega, D – Harvard Crimson (ECAC): Another workout monster, Biega won several categories at the combine, including the bench press, where he did 20 repetitions of 150 pounds. Keep in mind, these are measured reps that are timed and must be executed perfectly or the drill is ended, so 20 is nothing to sneeze at. The fact he already has a year of NCAA experience under his belt can’t hurt his draft ranking, either. Draft eligible in 2010.
5. Tyler Seguin, C – Plymouth Whalers (OHL): Seguin was front and center in a huge media scrum at the combine, but the young pivot handled it well. He has certainly grown more comfortable in the spotlight since the beginning of the year and his physique is unquestionably NHL-ready. Whether he’s the first or second pick, Seguin will be a keeper. Draft eligible in 2010.
6. Kevin Sundher, C – Chilliwack Bruins (WHL): Keeping pace with Biega, Sundher showed off a wide range of physical strength attributes at the combine, hitting the top five in numerous categories. Perhaps a bit undervalued by playing for a middling Chilliwack franchise, Sundher nonetheless put up 61 points in 72 games and registered a plus-9 rating on a team that gave up more goals than it scored. Draft eligible in 2010.
7. Sam Brittain, G – Canmore Eagles (AJHL): Brittain’s Jr. A stats this year weren’t eye-popping, but at nearly 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, he has the trendy big frame NHL scouts love. His work at the combine was also a good indicator; he won the hand-eye coordination drill, which seems to be a good trait for a netminder, no? He is committed to the NCAA’s Denver Pioneers. Draft eligible in 2010.
8. Louis Leblanc, C – Harvard Crimson (ECAC): Big rumblings have Leblanc leaving the Crimson this summer in pursuit of a team that will fast track him to the Montreal Canadiens. Chicoutimi owns his Quebec League rights, but Hamilton of the American League is another option. Big, skilled and French-Canadian, Leblanc is a future poster boy for the Habs. Drafted 18th overall by Montreal in 2009.
9. Jacob Markstrom, G – Brynas (Swe.): The Panthers officially have their goaltender of the future locked down, as Markstrom put ink to paper on an entry level deal this week. The big Swedish stopper, who carried Brynas this season, will likely start the year with the AHL’s Rochester Americans, but the kid is looking out for No. 1, so don’t be surprised to see him in the NHL sooner than later. Drafted 31st overall by Florida in 2008.
10. Jeremy Morin, LW – Kitchener Rangers (OHL): The American sniper just signed his entry level deal in Atlanta, meaning the Thrashers have a nice offensive weapon at their disposal in the near future. Morin averaged just more than a point per game during Kitchener’s playoff run. Drafted 45th overall by Atlanta in 2009.
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 regularly throughout the off-season only on thehockeynews.com. A player is eligible for The Hot List until they play in their first NHL game.
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