Dietz Doesn’t Stop Scoring In This Week’s Prospect Update (18/02/13-24/02/13)

Darren Dietz continued his incredible scoring run with a 9 point week. Olivier Archambault, Charles Hudon, Danny Kristo, Erik Nyström all managed 4 points, while Dalton Thrower has found consistency at both ends of the ice. Mark MacMillan finally managed to break out of his production slump, and Sebastian Collberg continued his.





After playing defence for a three games, Brady Vail was finally moved back to his natural position of centre. However, it didn’t last long as defenceman Adam Bateman went down with injury part way through the game, so Vail had to go back to defence. It was probably his best game as a defenceman; he used his speed and agility to create multiple scoring chances from the back end. He also made multiple good defensive plays, including a diving poke check to break up a break away. With the injuries piling up, Vail played defence for the rest of the week. Thursday night saw Vail play a quiet, steady game in which he didn’t take many risks. He picked up an assist from a nice pass on the point on the power play in an 8-5 win. Vail and his Spitfires had a night from hell on Friday. They lost 9-1 against their rivals, Plymouth, and Vail on the ice for 4 goals against. Vail was able to exact some revenge against Plymouth as they got a second crack against them on Sunday. Vail was on the ice for three goals against, including in which he made an awful turnover in the neutral zone, but more than made up for it. He scored the game winning goal with just three minutes left. He made a nice move to find and open shooting lane and then used a heavy wrist shot to beat the goal tender top shelf. Vail played the entire last minute of the game, which is pretty telling of how much faith Windsor has in Vail despite playing out of position, or how decimated by injuries they are.



Following four points in three games last week, Olivier Archambault was able to continue his momentum with four more points in three games this week. Archambault’s week started Thursday night and did he ever have a good game. He was able to pick up a goal and two assists (Video), all three of came from generating turnovers. Archambault’s second assist sparked a come back from a 6-2 deficit, but Drummondville was able to score the tying goal and lost 7-5. His efforts allowed him to pick up second star honours. With his second point of the night, he tied his career high of 53 points in 11 less games. Drummondville lost to Moncton 7-2 on Friday, but Archambault was among the game’s best players. He looked dangerous every single shift and took four shots on goal. Archambualt was able to pick up a goal, which was his 25th of the season. Archambault played in an extremely exciting game on Sunday. There was no score until Drummondville scored with 4 minutes left, which turned out to the game winner. Archambault was unable to pick up any points, but looked very good. He took a knee-on-knee hit at the beginning of the game, but he returned shortly after. He made a brilliant dash from his own end, but rang one of the post. It seemed like every shift he could have scored. Archambault has been playing very good hockey as of late, hopefully he keeps it up.

Charles Hudon exploded for seven points in two games last week and continued to put up the points with four in two this week. He played his first game against Rimouski, he managed to pick up a goal, an assist, and a shootout goal. He got his assist by fighting off the defender and making a beautiful pass to the front of the net. Hudon scored a shorthanded goal after intercepting a pass. He flew down the wing and shot a laser top shelf. He seemed to have chance after chance, and was named the first star of the game. Hudon and the Saguenéens faced off against the Sherbrooke Phoenix. Hudon didn’t get off to the greatest start as he had a pair of awful turnovers. Hudon wasn’t fazed, and the offence started coming. He picked up an assist from a textbook take-a-hit-to-make-a-play play. His goal was an empty netter. After a five game pointless streak, Hudon’s started to rack up the points again, he’s currently three points off of his career high of 66 points.



Tim Bozon’s poor play continued this week. The Kamloops Blazer managed to muster up only a single point. The Blazers were shut out twice in three games this weekend, and Bozon’s struggles to produce were a huge part of that. Bozon’s week started against the WHL leading, Portland Winterhawks. He was a complete non-factor in the game and was unable to generate any offence. Bozon played against the Vancouver Giants on Sportnet’s Friday Night Hockey. Bozon yet again struggled to generate chances, but did have one particularly great play. He made a brilliant cross-ice pass to Kessy on a 2-on-1. The Blazers faced off against the Chiefs on Saturday to close out the week, and yet again, Bozon was non-factor. He was on the ice for both goals against and seemed to be fighting the puck all night. Bozon is a very streaky goal scorer, once he pots one, don’t be surprised to see him start scoring in bunches again.

After finishing a game with a minus +/- rating for the first time in almost a month, Darren Dietz stormed back with a nine point week, and collecting a +8 rating in four games. Dietz’s first game was Monday night against Brandon. He picked up a goal and an assist. His goal was a wicked wrist shot after deking around the defenceman to get his 17th goal and CHL leading 12th powerplay goal amongst defenceman. The assist was a nice pass to the point after working hard to gain the offensive zone. Dietz also came close to picking up two more points, he nailed a howitzer off the post and then passed on a 2 on 0, and his team mate got robbed. Dietz didn’t stop, as a matter of fact, he was just getting started. The Blades were in a tight-checking 1-1 game against Moose Jaw before Dietz decided to take over the game and put up a three assists in the third period (Video). With his third point, he tied his career high in points with 44 in 14 less games. Dietz’s incredible run continued on Friday, Dietz scored a pair of goals, including on a shorthanded breakaway (Video). Earlier in the game, Dietz surrendered a shorthanded goal after fumbling the puck, but answered back with one of his own. Dietz finished the game with +2, which made him an overall plus player for first this season with +1. Dietz closed the week on Saturday night against Moose Jaw, and he continued to rack up the points. He scored a nice goal off the rush, and added an assist with a beautiful pass to Benoit and then driving the cage to act as a screen. That goal was his 20th of the season, and made him the CHL leader in goals amongst defenceman. Saskatoon has currently won a franchise record of 15 straight, and Dietz has been a huge part of that. Picking up 9 goals, 13 assists, and a +23 rating over that span. With Dietz’s incredible week and month, he should put in a strong case for not only WHL Player of the Week, but WHL Player of the Month.

Despite team mate Darren Dietz stealing the show, Dalton Thrower has also been playing the best hockey of his season. He has struggled in his own zone this year, but he’s made some huge strides this past month. Thrower wasn’t able to register a point in Saskatoon’s 5-1 win over Brandon, but he played a very important role. He looked very good defensively and was aggressively moving the puck up the ice. He also had a beautiful end to end rush, but lost the puck at the last second. Thrower’s solid play continued on Wednesday. He didn’t do anything special offensively, but kept Moose Jaw to the outside and didn’t give up any good scoring chances. Thrower also had a good game on Friday. He had a pair of assists; both were great break out passes. His play in his own zone, was yet again, very good. Thrower closed the week out with Gordie Howe Hat Trick (Video) and had an all around solid game. He’s goal was on the power play, which was only his second of the year. Last year he nine in total. After a year of ups and downs, he seems to finally find consistency.



Photo: Tim Brule,

Photo: Tim Brule,

After having last week off, Mac Bennett and the Michigan Wolverines returned to action on Friday night. Before they played against Ohio State, Bennett talked about his season so far, and the upcoming series (Video). Bennett spent the game on the top pairing with Jacob Trouba. Bennett played very good and moved the puck well. He also played good defensively and had an active stick. Unfortunately, his three game point streak was snapped. Bennett and Trouba were also paired together on Saturday. Bennett was unable to pick up a point, and had a fairly uneventful game. The Michigan Wolverines will return home on Friday, where they will face off against Ferris State. Hopefully Bennett will be able to get on the score sheet.

It was a battle of the Habs prospects this weekend as Josiah Didier played against Danny Kristo and Mark MacMillan. Didier continued to play on the third pairing with Joey LaLeggia this weekend. The Denver Pioneers and Didier won the first match in 5-4 nail-biter. Didier played a solid game as he used his size well and looked fantastic on the penalty kill. The Pioneers weren’t as fortunate on Saturday, as North Dakota won 6-1. Didier was able to escape with only a -1, but struggled overall like the rest of the team.

Danny Kristo is on fire. He currently has a goal and an assist in each of his last four games. He is riding a seven game point streak (6 goals, 6 assists). This weekend, Kristo picked up a goal and an assist in both games against Denver. Kristo’s assist came from a nice to Gleason, who fed Knight for a power play goal. His goal was a shorthanded beauty. On 2-on-1, after receiving a pass, he waiting just a split second to freeze the goalie, and then unleashed a wicked wrist shot that the goalie had no chance on. That goal tied his career high of 19. Kristo wasted no time surpassing it, as the next night he set a new career high of 20. His scored after going to the front of the net and out waiting the goaltender. He also picked up an assist with a very slick pass to Grimaldi on an odd man rush. Kristo is currently tied for 2nd in goal in the entire NCAA. He also sits third in overall scoring.

Mark MacMillan has struggled mightily to produce points as late, but on Saturday night he exploded for with three points. MacMillan’s weekend start off against Didier’s Denver Pioneers on Friday night. MacMillan was centring the third line with his brother, Mitch MacMillan, and Brendan O’Donnell. MacMillan was held pointless for the second time in his last 11 games, but he certainly had his chances. He made a number of beautiful passes and had multiple scoring chances. On Saturday night, MacMillan was finally able to capitalize on those with a three point performance (Video). MacMillan is currently two points off of his career high of 23. He has at least eight games left to play, so he’ll more than likely shatter his career high.

Colin Sullivan only played a single game this week. His only game on Sunday, it was 2-1 overtime win against Merrimack College. Sullivan spent the game on the bottom pairing, as he has for his entire freshman year. Sullivan is still looking for his second career NCAA point. He picked up his first point with an assist back in December.

Dustin Walsh has been up and down all season, but this week, he was just down. He started out the weekend on the top line against Clarkson University. Unfortunately, Dartmouth was blanked in a 4-0 nothing loss and Walsh was unable to generate any offence. Saturday night saw Walsh be demoted to the second line against St Lawrence University. He was also shifted from left wing, to right wing. Walsh was yet again held pointless, but this team his team was able to pull out a win. Walsh is fighting for a contract, because of that; he has to produce if he wants to get a contract from the Canadiens.



Photo: Yuri Kuzmin, The Associated Press

Photo: Yuri Kuzmin, The Associated Press

Despite seeing increased minutes in a second line role, Sebastian Collberg has been held pointless for eight straight games now. Collberg’s first game was played on Wednesday, and he was able to pick up two shots and an even rating. Collberg didn’t fare much better on Sunday either. He was only able to pick up a single shot, but did remain even. Collberg currently has 5 career SEL goals, and only one has been on an even strength situation. Hopefully he will gain the confidence to start shooting more, as he’s struggled to produce.

Färjestads BK defenceman, Magnus Nygren was inked to a one year contract extension to remain with the club until the end of the 2013-2014 season. Nygren has to be signed by June 1st, 2013 or else he won’t be Habs property any more. So what does that mean for Nygren? Montreal could sign Nygren, and then loan him back to Färjestads BK, where he would play until the end of the season. From there, he would head over to North America. Whatever happens, it should be interesting to see how the Marc Bergevin and the Montreal Canadiens manage this contract situation. Nygren played his first game the same day that he signed the contract, on Thursday. Nygren paid immediate dividends as he scored a goal and an assist. His goal was a bomb of a slap shot from the point that cleanly beat the goalie. His assist came from a slapper as well, it generated a rebound. Nygren played his second and final game of the week on Saturday. He was unable to pick up a point, but registered two shots on goal. Nygren currently sits first in defenceman goal scoring in the SEL, and first power play goals. Nygren has spent the last two weeks playing on a pairing with Chris Lee (no, not that Chris Lee).

Erik Nyström had a fantastic week. He managed to score twice and add two helpers in two games. He currently is riding a three game point streak, in which he has amassed two goals and three assists. Nyström’s first point of the week was a nice assist. He made a nice a centring pass from the behind the net, and then grabbed the puck again passed the puck to the point. He played on the top line and registered a lone shot. Nyström’s followed that game up with a three point performance against IK Oskarshamn (Video). It was his first ever three point game in the Allsvenskan. He currently has 11 points in 20 games since being loaned to the Allsvenskan.

Photo: Jan Beneš,

Photo: Jan Beneš,

Daniel Přibyl has really started to put up the points. He currently has 10 points in his last  9 games, which gives him 21 points in 41 games in his first full season in the Czech Extraliga. Přibyl started the week by scoring a very nice goal. He created a turnover, which resulted in a 2-on-1. He faked out the defender and roofed a backhander right over the goalies shoulder. One thing of interest that game was how hard he drove the net. Despite being 6’4″, he tends not do a “power-forward” move to the net, but he tried it multiple times. Although Přibyl had his fair share of chances, he was held pointless on Sunday. His play really elevated part way through the second when he team was down by a few goals. He made multiple nice passes, one of which was a beautiful no-look behind-the-back pass. Přibyl continues to see more and more minutes, often seeing time on both the penalty kill and power play. With this expanded role, he’s produced and has played extremely good hockey.



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