Prospects from all around the Canadian Hockey League are on their way to Halifax, in preparation for Wednesday’s 2013 Home Hardware CHL Top Prospects Game.
Team Cherry, which includes top NHL prospects including Jonathan Drouin and Nathan MacKinnon, boasts nine representatives of the Ontario Hockey League, seven QMJHLers and five WHL players. The roster also includes four players who participated in the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships.
Six Ontario Hockey League teams are represented among Team Cherry’s forwards: Erie, Guelph, Kingston, Oshawa, Owen Sound and Plymouth. Four QMJHL teams (Val-d’Or, Baie-Comeau, Halifax and Rimouski) will also send forwards to Team Cherry, with one WHL rep from Regina.
• Cole Cassels (Oshawa Generals, OHL): The Columbus-born 17-year-old has 10 goals and 16 assists in 40 games with the Generals this season, already an improvement after scoring 11 points in 64 games with Oshawa in his rookie season.
• Stephen Harper (Erie Otters, OHL): Harper is in his sophomore season with the Otters; after scoring 35 points (24-11) in 63 regular season games with Erie last year and ending the year a minus-36, the Burlington native has already notched 24 points in 42 games this season.
• Zach Nastasiuk (Owen Sound Attack, OHL): Another 17-year-old on the Team Cherry roster, Nastasiuk has 21 points (11-10) and a plus-16 in 36 games with the Attack this season. Last year, he scored 19 points in 68 games with Owen Sound.
• Jason Dickinson (Guelph Storm, OHL): A Georgetown native, Dickinson is set to break his rookie season point tally this year. After scoring 13 goals last year, he’s already got 15 this season; with 22 assists last season, Dickinson is close to matching that, with 19 helpers so far this year.
• Ryan Hartman (Plymouth Whalers, OHL): Hartman is one of the few 18-year-olds participating in the tournament, as the West Dundee, IL native turned 18 in September. He’s in his rookie season with Plymouth, having scored 35 points (16-19) in as many games, and recently represented Team USA in the World Juniors.
• Ryan Kujawinski (Kingston Frontenacs, OHL): Kujawinski is in his second season with Kingston, having joined the Frontenacs halfway through the 2011-12 season from Sarnia. He has 12 goals and 23 assists in 42 games this season and scored a combined 36 points in 59 games with Sarnia and Kingston last year.
• Anthony Mantha (Val-d’Or Foreurs, QMJHL): Right-winger Mantha leads the Foreurs with 62 points (33-29) in 43 games this season. The 18-year-old Longueuil native is in his second full season in the QMJHL, scoring 51 points (22-29) in 63 games last year.
• Valentin Zykov (Baie-Comeau Drakkar, QMJHL): The rookie leads Baie-Comeau with 53 points in 43 games this season, scoring 28 goals and 25 assists in that stretch. His season stats also include four power play goals and 165 shots taken.
• Nathan MacKinnon (Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL): A centerman born in Halifax and raised in Dartmouth, he’s in his sophomore season with the Mooseheads. After a 78-point rookie campaign that saw him score 31 goals and 47 assists in 58 regular season games, MacKinnon is on another strong stretch. This season, he has 55 points in 32 games (23-32) to date, and also represented Canada at the World Juniors.
• Jonathan Drouin (Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL): Like MacKinnon, Drouin also represented Canada at the World Juniors and is in his sophomore season with the Mooseheads. After scoring 29 points (7-22) in his rookie year, the Ste-Agathe native has exploded offensively for 51 points (20-31) in 26 games this season.
• Frederik Gauthier (Rimouski Oceanic, QMJHL): Rookie Gauthier is among the top players on the Oceanic, scoring 45 points (15-30) and a plus-21 in 38 games so far this season. The Mascouche-born 17-year-old has a 1.18 points/game average and has won 451 of 954 faceoffs taken.
• Morgan Klimchuk (Regina Pats, WHL): The Calgary native leads the Pats with 53 points (23-30) in 46 games this season. This is his second full season with the team, having appeared in five games during the 2010-11 season before joining the team for the full extent of last season, when he scored 36 points in 67 games.
Three Western Hockey League players, two OHLers and one QMJHL representative will take space on the blueline for Team Cherry in this year’s game, with six different teams represented.
• Jordan Subban (Belleville Bulls, OHL): Of skaters who have played the entire season with Belleville, Subban leads the team in points with 31 (8-23) in 41 games. This is his sophomore season with the team, having scored 20 points in 56 games last year as a rookie.
• Darnell Nurse (Soo Greyhounds, OHL): Nurse is third among defensemen in points on the Greyhounds, scoring eight goals and 19 assists in 44 games. He also leads Soo defensemen with a plus-nine.
• Samuel Morin (Rimouski Oceanic, QMJHL): A 17-year-old native of St-Henri, Morin is in his sophomore season with the Oceanic, having notched eight assists in 62 games during his rookie year. This season, he has three goals, 12 assists, 96 penalty minutes and a plus-9 in 40 games with Rimouski, including his first QMJHL goal on December 21.
• Mirco Mueller (Everett Silvertips, WHL): Mueller, a Swiss rookie, is in his first season with Everett and has scored 18 points in 36 games this season. He is also a plus-four and also represented his country at the World Juniors this year.
• Eric Roy (Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL): The 18-year-old is second among Brandon defensemen with 24 points in 45 games. This is his third season with the Wheat Kings, putting up 53 points in his sophomore season (11-42) and scoring 19 points during his rookie year.
• Josh Morrissey (Prince Albert Raiders, WHL): The 17-year-old Calgary native leads Raiders defensemen with 32 points (12-20) in 43 games this season. He may match or exceed his numbers from last year, when he scored 38 points (10-28) in 68 regular season games.
Finally, the goaltenders for Team Cherry will represent the QMJHL and WHL.
• Zachary Fucale (Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL): Fucale is one of the top netminders in the QMJHL, touting a 2.50 GAA, .896 save percentage and league-high 28 wins on the season. The Rosemère native is in his second season with Halifax, appearing in 58 games last season and winning 32 of them before assisting the Mooseheads through 17 playoff games, where he went 10-5-2.
• Tristan Jarry (Edmonton Oil Kings, WHL): Jarry is the top goaltender in the WHL in GAA (1.68), second-best in save percentage (.934) and has four shutouts this season with the Oil Kings, in 16 games played. The ’95-born native of Delta, BC is in his second season with Edmonton, appearing in 14 games last season.
The 2013 Home Hardware CHL Top Prospects game will be held on January 16, 2013, in Halifax, Nova Scotia at 7 pm EST. The event will be televised on Sportsnet and NHL Network.