The Toronto Maple Leafs had five prospects playing in the CHL in 2004-05. Below is a summary of how they did with their teams this past season.
John Mitchell, C – Mitchell topped the Plymouth Whalers in scoring for the second year in a row. In 63 games he netted 25 goals, which tied him with teammate Dan Collins and led the team with 50 assists and a +14 rating. A leader in the locker room, Mitchell possesses good playmaking skills and can play the point on the power play, but he has been criticized for having a lack of intensity on the ice. After missing the first part of the 2004-05 season with a back injury, he returned to the ice and took some time to rebuild his game.
Mitchell had a goal and an assist in four playoff games before the Whalers were eliminated in the first round by the Owen Sound Attack. He joined St John’s Maple Leafs for two games late in the season after the Whalers were eliminated from the playoffs, but did not see much ice time.
Martin Sagat, LW – Sagat improved his play in his second season with the Kootenay Ice of the WHL. He finished third in team scoring with 63 points, scoring 17 goals and adding 46 assists. A physical player, Sagat chips in offensively through hard work and determination and has good hockey sense.
Sagat played strong in the playoffs, helping his team to the WHL Western Conference final, before they fell to the Kelowna Rockets four games to two. He led all Kootenay players in points with 22 in 16 games, had a +9 rating and currently sits tied for third overall in WHL playoff points.
Jan Steber, C – Steber played his second season with the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL. He was handed a five-game suspension early on in the season for a cross check to the face of an opponent. In 63 games he had 17 goals, 34 points and a +10 rating. This native of the Czech Republic has strong intensity on the ice, possesses a good slap shot and is creative with the puck.
Steber and the Mooseheads begin their series with the Rimouski Oceanic for the QMJHL championship on Thursday. Like the Oceanic the Mooseheads have sailed through the playoffs thus far; in nine games Steber has two goals, five points and a +5 rating.
Shaun Landolt, C – Landolt enjoyed his best season yet in the WHL in 2004-05 with the Calgary Hitmen, posting higher numbers than he had previously. In 68 games he had 17 goals, 42 points and 89 penalty minutes. At 6’1 and 205 lbs., Landolt uses his size to play a physical game, works hard on the ice and is effective on the penalty kill.
A teammate of Maple Leaf goaltending prospect Justin Pogge, Landolt managed five goals and nine points in the 12 postseason games he played with the Hitmen and added 14 penalty minutes.
Justin Pogge, G – Pogge joined the Calgary Hitmen from the Prince George Cougars in January. He improved his numbers after joining the Hitmen by posting a 2.29 goals against average and a .917 save percentage in 29 games. In 53 games overall this season he had 24 wins, a .907 save percentage and six shutouts. Over the last two years Pogge has shown rapid improvement. In addition to his 6’3 frame he moves well in the crease and has shown strong confidence between the pipes.
Pogge played well in the 12 games he played in for the Hitmen in the playoffs before they lost in game seven to the Brandon Wheat Kings in the second round. He backstopped his team to seven wins, one shutout and a 1.94 goals against average.
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