Canada, Sweden and Team USA have all announced their squads for the nearing World Junior Championship in Ottawa and there weren’t a lot of big upsets, though Taylor Hall certainly has a case. Since The Hot List – our weekly roundup of players we ‘re looking forward to see in the NHL someday - will be very WJC-centric in the coming weeks, let’s show some love to those doing big things on the domestic front.
1. John Carlson, D – London Knights (OHL): Carlson bucked UMass in order to fast-track his skills and he’s getting it done for the Knights. The American defenseman has 27 points in 24 games, including nine assists on the power play. Drafted 27th overall by Washington in 2008.
2. Jeff Frazee, G – Lowell Devils: As much as it’s a dream for any goalie to be drafted into the NHL, the one team that never seemed to need new applicants was New Jersey. With Martin Brodeur a scion of excellence, ice time was rare. But for former Minnesota Golden Gopher Jeff Frazee, there’s nothing wrong with learning from the best.
“He’s just a great guy in the dressing room, very funny,” Frazee said of Brodeur, who is missing extended games for the first time in his career due to injury.
With Brodeur sidelined, Frazee found himself elevated on New Jersey’s depth chart. The youngster started the season in ECHL Trenton, but moved up to Lowell of the American League where he has thrived, ripping off a 2.24 goals-against average and .935 save percentage, some of the best numbers in the league.
“The guys are a little faster and the shots come off a little quicker,” Frazee said of the step up. “I just go in every day, work hard and try to get better.”
Working with New Jersey goaltending coach Jacques Caron and former Devil Chris Terreri has also helped Frazee hone his game and when the time is right, the young netminder is ready for his opportunity.
“I love playing in the type of atmospheres as in the WCHA (with Minnesota),” Frazee said. “I love playing in the big game with the big crowds.”
Drafted 38th overall by New Jersey in 2005.
3. Bryan Cameron, RW – Belleville Bulls (OHL): Cameron has improved every season since he joined the Bulls and with 45 points in 35 games, he’s set to up the ante again this year. Drafted 82nd overall by Los Angeles in 2007.
4. Louis Boileau-Domingue, G – Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL): Just 16 years old, LBD is already establishing himself as one to watch in the ‘Q.’ Moncton’s backup has a scorching 2.28 GAA, good for second overall, and a .927 save percentage in six games. Draft eligible in 2010.
5. Toni Ritter, LW – Montreal Juniors (QMJHL): Formerly one of Germany’s best prospects, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound Ritter has taken his game to North America, where he has posted five points in his first nine games. Ritter had four points in four games at the World Jr. A Challenge for Germany. Draft eligible in 2009.
6. Bryce Aneloski, D – Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (USHL): After starting out the season with the Providence College Friars, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound defenseman is slated to return to Cedar Rapids. While at Providence, Aneloski was a respectable minus-1 on a Friars team that had yet to win a conference game. Draft eligible in 2009.
7. Tyson Barrie, D – Kelowna Rockets (WHL): On a team full of stars, Barrie is still producing a point per game from the blueline and he’s a plus-7 so far. With Tyler Myers headed to the world juniors, Barrie will once again take on more responsibility for the Rockets. Draft eligible in 2009.
8. Pat Mullane, LW – Omaha Lancers (USHL): A Boston College commit, Mullane is tearing up the United States League this season, tallying 27 points in 24 games and looking like a good late bloomer. Draft eligible in 2009 (undrafted in 2008).
9. Simon Lacroix, D – Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL): It’s amazing how many of the Quebec League’s scoring leaders are undrafted 20-year-olds, but Lacroix is an exception. One of the top offensive defenders, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Islanders pick has 31 points in 29 games. Drafted 196th overall by the Islanders in 2007.
10. Ryan Stoa, C – University of Minnesota Golden Gophers (WCHA): The veteran Stoa is just slightly ahead of linemate Jordan Schroeder with 22 points in 16 games for the Gophers scoring lead and is having a nice recovery season after last year was wiped out by a knee injury. Drafted 34th overall by Colorado in 2005.
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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