Off to a strong start

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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Lots of cuts are being made at NHL training camps, but some prominent prospects are still in the mix. Injuries and disappointments may clear the way for some more teen stars in the league this year, at least to start off. In the meantime, all three Canadian League circuits are playing real games now, so it’s on. Once again, here’s a look at some players we’re excited to see in the NHL one day.

Kevin Shattenkirk, D – Lake Erie Monsters (AHL)

Though he was cut from Colorado's training camp roster, Shattenkirk is a name to keep in mind. A puckmoving defenseman with great leadership skills, the blueliner won a national championship with Boston U. in 2009, already giving him an unforgettable hockey memory.

“That whole season was special,” Shattenkirk said. “We’ll be able to get together 30 years from now and talk about it.”

Soon, it will be fans in Denver talking about him. And while he will start the year in the American League, Shattenkirk knows the strengths of his game lie in the new-school style.

“I see myself as another offensive threat,” he said. “I’m definitely one to jump into the rush and join the forwards.”

Considering those forwards include fellow youngsters Paul Stastny, Matt Duchene and Chris Stewart, it’s going to be fun to watch the Avs in the future. Drafted 14th overall by Colorado in 2007.

Derek Stepan, C – University of Wisconsin Badgers (WCHA)

With the Rangers sending Mats Zuccarello-Aasen and Evgeny Grachev down to Hartford, Stepan remains one of the youngest forwards in camp. And given New York’s dearth of quality centers plus Chris Drury’s injury, the smart and quick Stepan is looking pretty good right now. Drafted 51st overall by the New York Rangers in 2008.

Xavier Ouellet, D – Montreal Juniors (QMJHL)

The Louis Leblanc show is about to take hold in Verdun, but so far it’s been Ouellet making a name for himself. A participant in the NHL’s R&D camp this summer, the blueliner is proving his worth early with 11 assists and 12 points through six games. That’s tops in the league among blueliners and best overall for Montreal. Draft eligible in 2011.

Sergei Bobrovsky, G – Mettalurg Novokuznetsk (KHL)

With Michael Leighton down and Johan Backlund coming back from injury, Bobrovsky has played big minutes for the Flyers during the pre-season and dazzled with a .940 save percentage. Philly has proved they don’t need a marquee name in net to go far and even if Bobrovsky bides his time in Adirondack, he’s shaping up to be a solid netminder. Signed as a free agent by Philadelphia in 2010.

Daniel Catenacci, C – Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)

Being the No. 1 overall pick in the Ontario League draft comes with a lot of pressure, but Catenacci is showing the Soo just what he can do early on. After a successful rookie campaign, the speedy sophomore has five points in two games and is really showing off his playmaking abilities. Draft eligible in 2011.

Seth Ambroz, LW – Omaha Lancers (USHL)

The United States League held its Fall Classic over the past few days and Ambroz showed he’s ready to dominate, particularly when he turned around a game against the NTDP with two goals in 2:28. Elsewhere, the burly scoring machine put up a goal and a shootout marker in a losing cause to Des Moines. Draft eligible in 2011.

Adam Reid, LW – U.S. NTDP (USHL)

Reid has also been great in the pre-season, leading the offensive charge for the NTDP alongside Rocco Grimaldi. The California-born Reid, a big kid already at 6-foot-3, 203 pounds, is currently committed to Northeastern University for the future. Draft eligible in 2011.

Steven Kampfer, D – Providence Bruins (AHL)

It’s been a long road for Kampfer, who was nearly killed in an off-ice assault at the University of Michigan, then assaulted again on-ice versus Michigan State once he came back. But now he’s lining up next to Zdeno Chara in pre-season and getting power play and penalty kill minutes. Boston loves his puckmoving game. Drafted 93rd overall by Anaheim in 2007 (traded to Boston in 2010).

Ryan Howse, LW – Chilliwack Bruins (WHL)

There hasn’t been a lot of good news since the Bruins came to Chilliwack, but Howse is the exception. He hit 47 goals last season and already has five in two games to begin 2010-11. He’s a sturdy 5-foot-11, 205 pounds and the Flames are going to need scoring in the future. Drafted 74th overall by Calgary in 2009.

Tomas Filippi, C – Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)

True, scoring is a little skewed early on in the ‘Q’ while older players are at NHL camps, but Filippi, an import from the Czech Republic, is making the most of his early opportunities. The 6-foot-1, 177-pound pivot has eight goals and 11 points in six games, not to mention an excellent plus-11 rating. Draft eligible in 2011 (undrafted in 2010).

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 regularly throughout the off-season only on A player is eligible for The Hot List until they play in their first NHL game.

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