Saturday, November 1, 2008

Staying Power

Now that every team has played atleast 10 games, it's time to look at those youngsters who have passed the magic mark of 9 games and look destined to stay in the NHL.

Oscar Moller, of the LA Kings scored twice, giving him 4 on the year and helping the Kings against Calgary Saturday night. Moller has 6 points in his 10 games with LA who weren't sure before the 9 game mark if they were going to keep the now former Chilliwack Bruin of the WHL. Saturday night Moller was all over the ice, and as usual shooting from every direction, which led to his 3rd tally this year. Unlike Moller, there wasn't much doubt about his teammate and Kings rookie blueliner Drew Doughty who had just one assist heading into action Saturday night, but a league leading (heading into Saturday) plus 6 when it comes to NHL freshmen.

The guy drafted 3 spots after Doughty this past June also isn't going back to Junior. Luke Schenn played his 12th game in comeback victory over New York Saturday, and picked up an assist, his 3rd on the season. Schenn has been physical, has racked up 17 minutes in penalties, and is playing more than 21 minutes a night. I was one of the guys who thought going back to Kelowna would have been a good move as the Rockets could be Memorial Cup contenders this year and Schenn would surely captain Team Canada at the World Juniors, but he certainly hasn't looked out of place in the NHL thus far.

Maybe the biggest surprise of this year's crop of rookies is Philadelphia D-man Luca Sbisa. Most (myself included) expected the 19th overall pick last June, to end up back in Lethbridge helping the Hurricanes to a 2nd straight WHL Eastern Conference Championship. But injuries in Philly and great play by the Italian born, and Swiss raised blueliner have kept in the city of brotherly love, where Sbisa has 5 assists and is averaging almost 25 shifts per game.

The Kitchener Rangers weren't likely expecting the Great Dane Mikkel Boedker back this season, in fact former Rangers head coach Peter Deboer told TPS before last year's Memorial Cup that Boedker was NHL ready, even before he was drafted. Boedker was drafted 8th overall and before Saturday night was averaging a point every 2nd game for Wayne Gretzky's EX-JETS. His terrific speed and vision on the ice has Boedker playing in the desert dogs top 6.

A couple of other notes, both Zach Bogosian and Alex Pieterangelo are hurt right now, and if their injuries linger on, would the Thrasher and Blues think of sending them back? I highly doubt it, but who knows. Brandon Sutter is also hurt, but he won't be returning to Red Deer, and the Saskatoon Blades are hoping to get Colton Gillies back, will it happen? Maybe. Gillies is playing less than 10 minutes a night for Jacques Lemaire's Wild and has only played 8 games. The Blades are a great team this year and Gillies might be better off leading the charge in toon town, rather than going into the wild and sitting on the bench.

There's a few others out there who have made it past the 9 game mark, let me know who has impressed you thus far.

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