CHL- December Edition

Some familiar teams remain at the top of their respective leagues and those teams were well represented at the ADT Canada-Russia Challenge. Unfortunately for the Russians, they were completely dominated and it was a great display of some of the key players you should see on Team Canada’s world junior team. The ADT challenge consisted of 2 games for the Russians against each of the three league’s top Canadians for a total of six games. I will profile the future of Toronto goaltending in Justin Pogge, Montreal’s top OHL prospect, rookie Sergei Kostitsyn and the Quebec’s Rempart’s rookie sensation, Angelo Esposito.OHL

The Peterborough Petes continue to lead the OHL and their left winger Liam Reddox highlighted the OHL sweep of the Russian Selects. Reddox scored two goals in the OHL’s 5-1 win in the second game that should help him earn a possible roster spot at Canada’s World Junior Camp. The roster will be selected between December 11th to 16th. Brampton Battalion captain and Avalanche draft pick Wojtek Wolski scored a hat trick and an assist to lead the OHLers to a 5-2 victory over the Russians in the first game all but cementing Wolski a spot on the World Junior team. Wolski should be one of the key players in Canada’s attempt to defend their gold medal.

Player Profile: Sergei Kostitsyn, London Knights

Everyone knew the London Knights would remain competitive this year but few believed they would still be first in their division after the losses of Cory Perry and Danny Syvret. The Knights have managed to still have 3 out of the top ten point leaders this year and Montreal Canadiens prospect Sergei is one of them. The younger brother of Andrei (Montreal prospect) is the top rookie in the OHL this year. The 6 ft 190lb winger from Belarus has adapted well to the North American game. He can take and dish the punishment but his elite skill is definitely his skating. A very strong lower body makes him a tough assignment for anyone trying to contain him or knock him off the puck. Sergei and Andrei compliment an already deep Canadiens’ talent pool. It looks like the 7th round pick is a steal at this point in his young career.


The Acadie-Bathurst Titans remain the QMJHL powerhouse and look on track to continue their dominance. Drummondville Voltiguers’ power forward Guillaume Latendresse so far has had a mediocre season after making a huge splash at the Hab’s training camp but Gui sure knows how to come back to the spot light when it counts. In the first game of the QMJHL vs. the Russian Selects, Latendresse powered 3 goals on route to a 7-4 victory for the QMJHL. In the second game, he scored a pair of goals beating Russia 6-4 and being named game MVP in consecutive games. Look for Latendresse to make a huge impression at the World Junior training camp.

Player Profile: Angelo Esposito, Quebec Remparts

The QMJHL version of the rookie sensation is easily Angelo Esposito (no relation to Phil or Tony) and will be of NHL draft eligibility in 2007. He is making a great case to be only the 5th 16-year-old to play for Team Canada at the World Juniors as he leads all rookies in scoring and sits 5th overall. The smooth skating centre has drawn much praise from his coach and GM Patrick Roy. “From what I have heard, he has excellent chances being invited to the final selection stage of the Canadian Junior Team,” said the proud future hall of famer. What makes Esposito such an exceptional centre is not just his great playmaking and scoring abilities on offence, but his defensive game is very well rounded making him a threat in all situations. The 6’1 174lb Montreal native is still growing and is one of the fastest players in the game. He definitely has all the tools to prosper in the new NHL.


The Medicine Hat Tigers, Calgary Hitmen and Kootenay Ice have been in a 3-way dog- fight for WHL supremacy. In the ADT challenge, Devin Setoguchi, a Saskatoon Blade forward and San Jose Shark prospect scored a hat trick leading the WHL to a dominating 9-2 victory over the Russian Selects in the first game of the series. Team Canada world junior captain hopeful Kyle Chipchura who is a Montreal prospect and top forward on the Medicine Hat Tigers led the WHL with a goal and assist in the second game against Russia. The WHLers won 3-1 with solid goaltending by the Calgary Hitmen’s Justin Pogge and the Kelowna Rocket’s Derek Yeomans.

Player Profile: Justin Pogge, Calgary Hitmen

This season has been Justin’s break out year. The Maple Leafs first pick in the 2004 draft stands second statistically amongst goaltenders in the WHL. He is the backbone of the Calgary Hitmen’s successes this year. He is a large goalie standing 6’3 204lb but his size is not indicative of his agility. The Penticton native is a great puck handler and has amazing crease movement allowing Justin to challenge all shooters but still being able move across the crease to protect the open side. This is his last year in the WHL and should at the very least be playing on the Marlies next year. His jump into the NHL really only depends on when Eddie decides to hang up the pads as Justin continues to improve his game.

19 Responses to CHL- December Edition

  1. Hockey_Fan_99 says:

    save me jebus…………….save me!!!!!

  2. habs_punk says:

    Pogge’s jump to the NHL won’t be depending on when Eddie hangs up the pads. If Eddie retires after this season, Pogge won’t be jumping right into Toronto’s lineup. Goalies take a long time to mature. He’s still a couple years away no matter when Eddie retires. Thibault had the potential to be a great goaltender in the league, but the fact that he was brought into the league as an 18 year old, and the fact he had to try to fill Patrick’s skates greatly hindered his progress. We almost saw the same thing happen to Fleury, but he finally looks to have gotten his game back. He’s still not out of the woods yet though, playing on such a bad defensive team this early in his career could easily still ruin him as a goalie. The Leafs definately want to bring Pogge along slowly if they think he’s a potential future goalie for them.

  3. 19AVSFANFoLIFE19 says:

    wouldnt angelo esposito be the 6th 16 year old on team canada? there was gretz crosby bouwm spezz and lindros im pretty sure i think daigle instead of gretz but one of the 2

  4. koolcory77 says:

    you make it sound as if the leafs drafted him in round 1 of 2004..i know what you meant but your sentence structure is off a bit

    when really..pogge was taken 3rd round 90th overall, so basically the 1st pick of round 4

  5. MTLROCKS says:

    Montreal Canadiens should use some of these prospects like Kostitsyn, or Higgins(who really sucks) to acquire a big named player if they want to win the Stanley Cup. They should trade Ryder, Komisarek, and a draft pick to San Jose for Patrick Marleau. They should try to get St. Louis, Richards or Lecavalier from Tampa. To get a guy like Lecavalier id even give up Saku any day. Lastly, they should trade for Sandis Ozolinsh so that he can give the Hab’s powerplay a much needed boost.

  6. Mikeyribs says:

    1 They wont trade a winger for a centre

    2 Higgins is just slumping

    3 Trading Koivu would be slapping a player who faught cancer AND came back the same year to play for YOU.

    4 If Anaheim doesn’t want Ozolinsh, why would we?

  7. simplyhabby says:

    This is why I indicated at the very least he will be playing for the Marlies next year. Where I do agree , goalies do take a long time to mature, I do not expect Eddie to hang them up after this year as he is still a top calibre goalie. I expect eddie to hang them up in a couple years clearing the way for possible backup duites for Pogge. As in the case with Thibault and Fluery, they attempted to make them starters and carry a very high workload.

    Telquist is currently in line for the number one job with his steady play if and when Eddie retired. Of course, you have to consider any major trade sinvolving a goalie for the leafs.

  8. simplyhabby says:

    You are absoloutley correct. Gretzky, Lindros, Spezza, Bouwmeester and Crosby. Thanks for the help.

  9. Lint07 says:

    4. Because we desperatly need a quaterback for our weak power play and we have the cap space for him.

  10. Mikeyribs says:

    Yeah, maybe. I heard that he is a TERRIBLE defensive player, but our PP does suck…

  11. simplyhabby says:

    Correction: Please note that both Team Canada and Team USA will be announcing their training camp rosters today (December 5) and the camp will be held between December 11 to 16th.

  12. simplyhabby says:

    “The Maple Leafs first pick in the 2004 draft”

    How do you figure the sentence structure is off? As you know, the leafs did not get their first pick until the 3rd round in the 2004 draft hence ” The Maple Leafs first pick in the 2004 draft”

  13. simplyhabby says:

    I do agree that we should trade some of our young talent to aquire the PP QB but Higgins is a guy I would hold on to. His play has diminished as of late but the kid has sound work ethic and is an excellent 2 way forward. One of the Kostitsyn brothers (preferably Sergei) would be ideal to trade as I beleive Andrei is a more complete player but Sergei will have to make it to the next level to prove his worth as a vaqluable trade commodity depsite his current success.

    As I have been stating for the last 3 years, Montreal is missing a defensive stud on the blue line that can QB a PP and a power forward up front.

  14. 92-93 says:

    Before I go on, i want to applaud the guy who wrote this. he obviously shed his biases to write this article especially considering his consideration of Pogge. i feel kinda guilty moving on with the remainder of this post but i think it might trigger a cool discussion. Ok. Now I know this is going to be a contentious post and that a lot of hab fans might have a problem with it because it concerns their big goaltending prospect. but lets compare the stats of Leaf goalie prospect Justin Pogge with Carey Price:

    Pogge:___21 wins___5 losses____1.52 GAA____40 GA___6 Shutouts____.929 Sv%

    Price:____8 wins____9 losses____2.89 GAA____64 GA___2 Shoutout____.909 Sv%

    but just to be clear: i know its early in both of their careers and that price plays on a last-place team and Pogge on a first-place team, etc.

    What i am saying is not so much that Pogge is better than Price, but that the amont of hype surrounding Price (compared to Pogge and other goalie prospects/picks) is a little bit much. This is especially true considering that Habs fans continually shoved their pick of Price at #5 – which was panned by a lot of people including hab fans – in the faces of the Leafs when they chose Rask at #21. the reason why there was so much hype had to do with the fact that he was the only goalie that was considered a top-10 draft pick.

    if you are going to disagree with this post dont disagree with it because i am saying Pogge is better than Price – because i am not saying that (although Pogge certainly has better stats so far this year). if you are going to disagree with it – disagree with my actual point: that Price is getting a lot of hype, maybe too much hype, because of how high he was picked and by who he was picked by. that is not to say that Pogge or Rask aren’t being hyped by leaf fans. but i certainly don’t hear any non-leaf fans (with the exception of simplyhabby) hyping these guys and everyone seems to be talking about Price – just because of the high-profiled spot of where he was picked.

    i know its too early to tell if he will live up to the hype, but why are leaf fans laughed at when we point to Rask and Pogge as being prospects with a lot of potential? what is so far-fetched about that?

  15. simplyhabby says:

    I appreciate your acknowledgement. I must give credit where credit is due. Besides, I will still able to throw in top hab prospects Latendresse and Kosistyn into the article which satisfied my Hab bias.

    You know, The Hitmen’s blue line is pretty thin this year which further endorses Pogge as a great goalie. The Hitmen’s successes this year rides on how well Pogge will play.

    It will be an interesting World Junior Camp when Pogge and Price go head to head for the starter’s job. Price has had an up and down season but has the international experiecne that Pogge lacks.

  16. habs_punk says:

    Pogge’s also a year older than Price.

    A lot of Price’s hype comes from how he plays. He’s only 18, from what I’ve read and seen he’s very solid positionally, he’s big, and above all else, he can handle the pressure. He’s always been viewed as incredibly calm under pressure, which will be key in Montreal.

  17. habs_punk says:

    The numbers aren’t always everything is what I was trying to say there. Like Corey Locke put up incredible numbers in junior but wasn’t picked until the 4th round. His size hurt him big time. I don’t know what it is that’s hurts Pogge’s status, but his numbers are solid.

  18. habs_punk says:

    Go Knights!!

  19. simplyhabby says:

    In his previous years, Pogge has been slightly above average at best. This year has been his breakout. Pogge was always the solid prospect but his value skyrocketed this year. It is very possible to see both Price and Pogge backstopping the juniors this year.

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