Jackets CHL PROSPECT UPDATE
Western Hockey League
Shane Bendera – G – Red Deer Rebels
Shane Bendera was one of two Columubs goaltending prospects to be named to Canada’s World Junior Tryout for the 2002 World Junior Championships. And why not? The tale of the tape shows that Bendera definitely deserves to take the trip to not only the camp, but to the Czech Republic as well. Bendera has posted an impressive 11-3-3 record, registering a 2.03 GAA and a .926 GAA. Bendera leads the WHL in both statistical categories, and is 4th in the league in wins, only 4 back of the leader, despite playing 8 fewer games.
Ben Knopp – RW – Moose Jaw Warriors
When I see the statistics on the season Ben Knopp is having, I get discouraged with his progress. He’s managed 17 goals in 29 games, adding 12 assists as well (17-12-29). However, a trip to the +/- column quickly shows that Knopp is still a one-dimension player. His –12 is second worst on the team, and is easily the most disgusting stat on the team considering Knopps offensive production. He’s been much more of a liability on the ice than he should be, and needs to desperately work on defensive zone play.
Kiel McLeod – C – Kelowna Rockets
McLeod has began to have the season the Blue Jackets organization has hoped he will. Although he sits fourth in team scoring with 9 goals and 22 points (9-13-22), he’s second on the team in Points Per Game with 1.22, behind only Calgary superprospect Chuck Kobasew. McLeod is also playing a very physical brand of hockey, averaging just below a penalty a game.
Tyler Sloan – D – Kamloops Blazers
The Kamloops Blazers aren’t expecting Tyler Sloan to contribute much to the offensive side of their game, although Sloan has chipped in for 9 points (1-8-9). The upside of Tyler Sloan is a rock-solid defensive game. His +/- is second only to sniper Jared Aulin. Being so effective in his own end hasn’t cost his team either, registering only 33 PIM in the 25 games he has played. His defensive ability and potential are nearly unlimited, and definitely will be one of the elite on the Jackets blueline.
Ontario Hockey League
Ryan Bowness – RW – Brampton Battalion
Just when I think Ryan Bowness has hit rock bottom, he amazes to surprise me yet again. When we last left him on November 14th Bowness had 3 points. Just over two weeks later, he’s registered another assist. Bowness has 2 goals for 4 points (2-2-4). His –8 rating is very unflattering, as is the rest of his performances, or lack there of, this season.
Scott Heffernan – D – Toronto Majors
Last update Heffernan sat at a –1 rating. To say the least, Heffernan has picked up his play tenfold. He now sits at a +7 rating, and has shown his great passing ability. Despite having scored only 1 goal this season, he has registered 17 points (1-16-17). He sits 6th in team scoring and has seen his powerplay time increase with the confidence he has shown on the blueline.
Cole Jarrett – D – Plymouth Whalers
Jarrett has continued his steady play on the blueline this year, and has been rewarded with a trip to the Canadian Junior Camp for the 2002 World Junior Championships in the Czech Republic. He has been in and around his usual PPG pace with 25 points (9-16-25) in 26 games. Jarrett has been a rock on defense with his +15 rating as well. He has played an all-round steady game in each of his 26 games with the Whalers this season.
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Aaron Johnson – D – Rimouski Oceanic
Johnson, like Jarrett, is the second of two Jacket defensive prospects who have been invited to the Canadian Junior Camp. Also like Jarrett, Johnson continues his PPG performance this season, registering 29 points in 28 games (10-19-29). He sits fourth in league scoring among defensemen, and is also fourth in +/- with a +15 rating. Although Johnson sits second on his team in defensive scoring next to Tomas Malec, he’s dominating Malec in +/-, (Malec is +2) which is a good indicator of how Johnson is playing in his own end.
Pascal Leclaire – G – Montreal Rocket
Pascal is still struggling, but has shown signs of improvement, sort of. His Save Percentage has increased from .887 to .890, and his Goals Against Average has fallen from 3.20 to 3.14. These aren’t significant advances, but advances nonetheless. Reputation alone has gotten Pascal a spot in the Canadian Junior Training Camp, because his statistics aren’t enough to get him there right now. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride is Leclaire, who has failed to make the team the previous two seasons. Leclaire currently has a record of 9-12-2.
Louis Manderville – D – Halifax Mooseheads
Manderville hasn’t exactly seen his production trail off whatsoever in Halifax. His Points Per Game are almost identical from that of the last CHL update, and he currently sits 8 points out of second place in the QMJHL Defensemen Scoring Race. Manderville has registered 23 points (9-14-23) thus far for the Mooseheads.