Friday night saw a host of impressive performances from a few Maple Leaf prospects; among them is QMJHL power forward Joel Champagne of the PEI Rockets who turned in a ridiculous 7 point performance. Nazem Kadri also chipped a pretty shorthanded goal and 2 assists for London. Meanwhile, Phillipe Paradis was held scoreless in his debut performance as a Leaf prospect.
– Joel Champagne, the 6’4 220 lb faceoff specialist, showed off some impressive offensive skill with 4 goals and 3 assists in last night’s rampage over the Halifax Mooseheads. Champagne now stands at 34 points in 28 games played on the year, and should see the jump to the AHL next year. Phillipe Paradis did not record a point in his first game as a Leaf. It is interesting to note that while he is listed as a centre in many circles, he has been used almost exclusively as a winger over the past few years, rarely taking faceoffs during that time. Between Joel and the newly acquired Paradis, the Leafs should be pleased with the amount of physicality and size they have poised to enter the lineup in a few years time. Highlights from the game can be viewed here.
– Tyler Ruegsegger is fighting for his NHL career right now in his last year for Denver. The 5’11 senior recorded a goal and an assist in last night’s 2-1 win over Colorado College to bring him up to 16 points in 15 games. Tyler is a smart, character kid with some good hands but currently lacks NHL skating ability. He could be a longshot to get offered a contract at the end of the year, much like Chad Rau who lit up the NCAA for many seasons but was allowed to walk by the Maple Leafs this past summer.
– Nazem Kadri continues to heat up at the right time with World Juniors just around the corner. The slick centreman contributed 3 points to an 8-1 London win over the Guelph Storm, including another beautiful shorthanded marker. The Kinghts’ usage of Kadri’s speed and active stick harrassing blueliners on the penalty kill is surely going to intrigue Team Canada’s brass, not to mention the Maple Leafs. Keep in mind After starting off the year with 9 points in his first 11 games, Kadri’s followed that up with 22 points over his last 14 games. To refresh your memories on what Kadri is capable of doing on the penalty killl, take a look at what he did to the Russians during the Subway Series here. Fast forward to about the 4:00 minute mark to see Nazem’s highlight reel shorthanded goal.
Still got tickets available to either the Islanders or Thrashers games next week, so just drop me an email if interested.