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Thursday, October 14, 2010

WHL notes: McColgan still looking for 1st goal

Shane McColgan has been pretty high on most scouts' radars since showing up for some late-season action with the Kelowna Rockets in 2009.

Unfortunately, the small but highly skilled South Californian was injured at the Select-17 festival in July and not able to participate in the Team USA entry for the Ivan Hlinka (ditto USHL forward Alex Gacek, who has yet to get into a game with the Indiana Ice). He missed the first few games of the Rocket's season after having his tonsils removed.

He did post a three-assist night in a 5-4 losing effort against Kamloops Wednesday, raising his totals to four assists in four games, but he's still trying to pot his first goal of the season. Last year, he netted 25 tallies and 69 points for the Rockets and that's a big part of why he is so high on a lot of preseason scouting lists for the WHL.

The size is a concern with this kid, but he's an excellent skater with slippery moves and the agility to turn defenders inside-out when he attacks them with speed. His hands are superb; he can stickhandle in the proverbial phone booth.

McColgan will break through, but the lack of goals could see him moved down on a few lists because if he's not scoring, then he's not rising. Again-- skill is not an issue with this right winger, but size/durability concerns are.

EDIT: McColgan may not have scored a regular season goal when this was posted, but he did tally a shootout goal. You can check it out in the WHL's Plays of the Week posted Oct. 15 here.
McColgan also got off the schneid to tally a goal and assist in Kelowna's win over Chiliwack Friday night.

The WHL scoring race isn't as prolific with 2011 candidates as the OHL is. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins leads the way at 6th overall with three goals and 14 points in nine games for Red Deer. Prince Albert's Mark McNeill is right behind him with five goals and 13 points in 10 games. I'll need to track down McNeill and get some more detailed notes on him. The 6-2, 210-pound right-shooting center was 85th overall in Red Line Report's September issue, and I think he's likely going to be a riser if he can keep the production going. Portland's Ty Rattie and Sven Bartschi round out the top-20.

Bruins fans will be pleased to know that Craig Cunningham is currently in the league lead with five goals and 17 points in 10 games for the Vancouver Giants as their captain.

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