It just came across Twitter that Matt Puempel is done for the year with a hip injury. A devastating blow for the Peterborough Petes if true.
Although the reigning CHL Rookie of the Year's star has fallen a bit this season, he still managed to eclipse his 33 goals from a year ago, tallying his 34th the other night against Belleville, giving him 69 points in 55 games this season. He was out of the lineup in tonight's matchup against Owen Sound.
If this report is true, and we have no confirmation on it, the question becomes how will it affect Puempel's draft status? He's been productive on a poor team (he's a -33) this season, and that always counts with scouts. If he misses the rest of the year, NHL teams will have to be confident in what they've seen from him up until now, and they'll have to be sure that the hip injury is not of the chronic sort that could affect his long-term viability.
Tonight, the Puempel-less Petes got hammered by Belleville in the rubber match to the tune of a 5-1 score. Bulls goalie Tyson Teichmann had a strong night, notching just his 10th win of the season. It has been a year of incredible frustration for the Ivan Hlinka Team Canada Under-18 gold medal-winning goalie, who plummeted off the draft radar with a poor season. Scouts identified some flaws in his game to begin with but the year has been magnified with shaky play all around. Will an NHL team take him late and hope that he's similar to Kevin Poulin, a touted goalie coming into the season who faltered in his draft year before getting his development back on track. Our thinking is that the year has been so tough that it will not come to pass.
Bulls winger Austen Brassard has been another disappointment, posting just 13 goals and 26 points in 56 games after much was expected from him when acquired from Windsor last season. He had no points in the win over Peterborough. The 6-2, 191-pounder has some upside, but any hopes of being a top-round selection went by the wayside before the calendar year flipped over to 2011. Someone will likely take him in possibly the second or at least third round because of his size and hands, but he's not backed it up with production up this season.
In the London-Saginaw game, B's prospect Jared Knight notched a pair of assists, to push his point total to 62 in a 4-2 win. Unfortunately for the Spirit, Brandon Saad is injured and not in the lineup. However, fellow Keystone stater Vince Trocheck had an assist on the night. A skilled centerman who plays bigger than his 5-11 size, Trocheck has 22 goals and 55 points this season. Not bad production out of the OHL sophomore.
Bad news for Niagara: Ryan Strome is still out after taking a sucker punch from Joey Hishon last week. The incident was an ugly one and resulted in a five-game ban for GM/coach Marty Williamson, who went off on the referees for their, what certainly appears to be, blatant incompetence. How else can you explain the OHL giving Hishon a six-game vacation after Matt Parlette and Keith Caval accused Strome of taking a dive and did not assess a penalty on the play to Hishon? That kind of keystone cops routine doesn't play well at any level, regardless of what's at stake.
Niagara got an offensive outburst in the third period with five goals to close out the Erie Otters by a 6-3 tally. Defenseman Dougie Hamilton, a B2011DW favorite, put up an assist and in the effort. He now has 11 goals and 50 points in 56 games this season, and is a +30 with 69 minutes in penalties. That's some pretty nice production from a guy who came into the year having to answer questions about the offensive element in his game. He's not the best puck mover, but with his wheels and cannon from the point, Hamilton is going to appeal to a lot of teams holding a top-10 pick in this draft.
Ottawa stumbled in action against Windsor, with Shane Prince out again with a bad shoulder. Tough break- he's a real offensive presence when he's in there, but it's tough to generate offense without the ability to put torque on a shot or move the puck accurately. With his lack of size, that will open up durability concerns, but there is no question that this guy can play. Hope he get back in action soon! Quiet night for the 2011 eligibles on Windsor- Alex Khokhlachev was held off the scoreboard. The dynamic scoring forward has 33 goals and 66 points in 57 games in his first OHL season. Had he been born then, Van Halen's "Light Up the Sky" would have been written for him. Big Jack Campbell stopped 26 of 27 shots for his 18th win, a 4-1 score.
In Sarnia, 2012-eligible Nail Yakupov is doing it again, with a thee-assist night in a 3-1 lead over Barrie that has pushed his scoring line to 41-44-85 in just 54 games. Wait, what? Sick. He's primed to break it open in his draft season next year and take the top spot in the draft. You can check the 2012 Draft Watch section in the labels on the blog mainpage for more on Yakupov.