Last week I threw out a bunch of names of forwards who I'd like to see get free agent invites to Edmonton's summer camp for a closer look. (See HERE). I have a shorter list of defencemen that I'd have an interest in seeing.
Eric Doyle - Swift Current Broncos
Born Apr 5, 1989 Calgary, ALTA
Height 6.03 Weight 191 Shoots R
His WHL career is at an end after a year and a half in Everett followed by two and a half with the Swift Current Broncos. Doyle has decent size and contributed a pile of points this year his 55 points were a team high for blueliners. Doyle was also a healthy +25 n the season and found a way to play physical without taking a lot of penalties - only 32 PIM on the year. The Calgary native was a key ingredient to the Broncos' power play and has a big shot to go along with competent passing skills.
Dallas Jackson - Prince George Cougars
Born Mar 31, 1989 Edson, ALTA
Height 6.02 Weight 194 Shoots L
He's got one more year of junior eligibility left and could still be taken in the NHL draft but if he doesn't, Jackson is a guy I'd like to see more of. He plays a tough and physical brand of hockey but isn't a goon, just a difficult guy to play against. He wasn't drafted into the WHL but was listed by Red Deer. He started with the Rebels but was moved to Regina where he played 18 games and had 6 points and was eventually dealt to Prince George. The Cougars signed him on September 19th of this past season and he went on to be an anchor of the PG blueline scoring 13 goals and 38 points in the process.
Ben Wright - Lethbridge Hurricanes
Born Mar 18, 1988 Foremost, ALTA
Height 6.02 Weight 200 Shoots R
Originally drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 4th round of the 2006 event, Wright was not signed by the NHL team and was not re-drafted last year. It's really surprising to me because when I watch the Hurricanes play, he's a guy that seems to be a big part of their team. He was the captain the last couple of years and is a pretty sound shutdown guy if you ask me. I've spoken with a lot of people around the league who think he's a solid pro prospect so why he is still available is beyond me. I am pretty sure he was invited to a NHL camp last fall (Ottawa - thanks Alan Caldwell)but was not signed. Wright played in the 2007 ADT Canada-Russia Challenge as well.
Rob Kwiet - Windsor Spitfires
Born Aug 2, 1988 Toronto, ONT
Height 6.01 Weight 218 Shoots L
We just watched him help the Spitfires capture the 2009 Memorial Cup and after a 67-point campaign I'll be surprised if someone doesn't sign him sooner as opposed to later. One has to wonder how padded his stats might be considering the team that he was on this year but he did manage 27 points last season and 39 the year previous to that. He's a big body that appears capable of playing a decent 2-way game, he might not be a first pairing power play guy but he might be someone who can play on the second unit as well as on the PK.
Maxime Ouimet - Rimouski Oceanic
Born Feb 6, 1988 Laval, PQ
Height 5.11 Weight 192 Shoots L
The Oceanic really missed having Ouimet in their line up during the Memorial Cup. He was this year's winner of the Kevin Lowe trophy given out to the QMJHL's top defensive defenceman. He was originally a 1st roound pick of Baie-Comeau where he played his entire QMJHL career until the trade deadline this past season when he was picked up by Rimouski. Ouimet has been a league all-star and played in the ADT Canada-Russia Challenge as well. Outside of that, I don't know much but that's the point of an invite to a summer camp; to learn more about players.
(Photos Courtesy: Francis Vachon,Lethbridge Hurricanes, Swift Current Broncos, WHL)
Quick correction on Dallas Jackson - he wasn't released by the Pats, he was traded to Prince George by the Pats for a 2010 4th round bantam pick.
Ben Wright was at Ottawa's camp last year as a tryout player but was cut. Add in the two years at Columbus's camp and that's three NHL camps he has been to now without showing enough to earn a contract.....you have to think there's some major flaw in his game which doesn't stand out to us junior watchers but which NHL coaches & GMs see as a red flag. He's not the fastest skater, maybe that's the problem. But he was certainly a solid player in the WHL for four years, that's for sure.
I think Doyle will be back in the WHL as an overage but he's another one of those guys who you wonder why the NHL hasn't noticed.
You going to do your team-by-team WHL prospects list again this year? That was handy.
The prospect reports will definitely be done again this year. Right now I am just waiting on the Alberta AAA midget and AAA bantam leagues to release their final stats so that I can include those stats with prospects from those leagues.
Most of the rest of the legwork is done so once those stats are out, I can probably start posting the reports pretty soon after.
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