The Jackets have a handful of prospects playing in various leagues throughout Europe and North America, and due to the lockout some of the players who would otherwise be on the big club are in the minors.
Columbus has six prospects currently suiting up in the Canadian Hockey League, one each in the QMJHL and WHL, and four in the OHL. Here are their statistics to begin the season:
|C Boone Jenner, Oshawa Generals (OHL)||6||7||8||15||6|
|D Ryan Murray, Everett Silvertips (WHL)||5||1||3||4||4|
|C Lukas Sedlak, Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL)||7||3||2||5||4|
|RW Josh Anderson, London Knights (OHL)||5||1||4||5||2|
|D Gianluca Curcuruto, Plymouth Whalers (OHL)||5||1||4||5||4|
|G Oscar Dansk, Erie Otters (OHL)||5GP||2-3-0-0 RECORD||0.891 SV%||4.51 GAA||0 SO|
Boone is off to a fantastic start to the season, currently leading the entire CHL in scoring with his 15 points. This burst of offense is great to see, but it doesn't change the fact that at the pro level Boone is expected to play the role of defensive centerman. He'll also likely fill that role with the Canadian Junior team again this holiday season.
Murray would almost assuredly still be with the Jackets if not for the lockout, but in the meantime he's back for another season with the 'Tips. Everett is in the midst of a down cycle, and in my opinion this could hinder his development potentialy. He's done all he can in junior, and if he's not in the pros he needs to be in a winning program. This is a prime example of why I don't like the AHL eligibility rules, mandating that a player must be 20 to play in the league. It's really too bad he can't be with the Falcons right now.
Goaltender of the future Oscar Dansk has made the jump from Europe to ply his trade in the OHL. He's not going to set the league on fire as long as he's with the Otters, as they are a team in rebuild mode. They are going to be exciting to watch however, as Connor McDavid, along with some other great youngsters dot the roster. McDavid is the latest player to earn the OHL Exceptional Player exemption, allowing him to play in the league at 15 years old. Dansk may not put up the best stats this season, but Canadian junior is the best development path for the NHL. With continued development, the Otters will be much better next season, led in the cage by Dansk.
Lukas Sedlak is entering his second season with the Sags, and I expect him to have a breakout season offensively. You often see Euro players up their offensive totals considerably in their sophomore season of Canadian junior. Though the Sags are expected to be a middle-of-the-pack squad this year, Sedlak will be one of their go-to weapons. Unfortunately, I won't be able to see him in person until January when Chicoutimi is in town to face the Mooseheads.
Curcuruto was traded this summer from the Soo Greyhounds to the Plymouth Whalers. He's generally considered to be a boom or bust prospect, as he has the skill but has yet to bring it all together. My hope, and that of the Jackets, is that with a strong franchise like the Whalers he can reach his potential and turn out to be a draft steal. He's a player to keep an eye on.
Josh Anderson is a player worth tracking. If he makes an impact in the pros, it will be as a grinding, depth player, but with the Knights he has the potential to be a go-to, impact forward. He has the work ethic to succeed in the OHL, especially for a top-notch program in London.
The Jackets also have seven prospects currently playing college hockey. Forwards T.J. Tynan, Seth Ambroz, and Kevin Lynch will all look to take the next step in their development. Tynan is the most promising of the bunch, while Ambroz could surprise as a power forward. Lynch has the ability to be a shutdown center, but needs to improve across the board to earn a pro deal with the Jackets. On defense, Mike Reilly, Thomas Larkin and Drew Olson are in the system, with Reilly the best of the bunch. Reilly is one of the Jackets' top prospects, but Larkin and Olson need to really up their game to earn pro consideration. Martin Ouellette is struggling to earn the starter's role with Maine, even though he is going into his junior season. The NCAA schedule generally kicks off next week, and I'll update you once the games get underway.
There are four prospects currently playing in Europe- two in Sweden, one in Finland and one in Russia's KHL. In Sweden, slick winger Daniel Zaar has four goals, three assists for seven points for Rogle's J20 squad. He's a pure sniper who could be a draft steal for the Jackets. Joining him in Sweden is goaltender Anton Forsberg, who is one of the top goaltenders in the Allsvenskan, Sweden's Tier 2 league. Joonas Korpisalo, who was taken in the third round of the NHL draft by the Jackets, after Dansk, chose to remain in Finland, rather than making the jump to Canadian junior like Dansk. Korpisalo is currently on loan to Kiekko-Vantaa of Finland's second league, and has a 2.70 GAA and 0.906 SV%. Rounding out the Euros is Maksim Mayorov, who went home to Russia after spending a couple of seasons in the AHL. With Atlant Mytishchi of the KHL, Mayorov currently has a goal and an assist in two games played.
Stay tuned for another update, which by then will feature up-to-date stats for the players playing college hockey.