Since the big team is not really giving us much to talk about lately I thought I'd check on the up and comers.
Quietly Mikael Backlund has risen to third in team scoring with the Heat with 8 goals and 8 assists after starting the season very slow. It is nice to see his balanced attack is starting to pay dividends, Backlund has a tremendous shot and great passing with vision so as he adjusts and become more comfortable it is becoming apparent he can be a factor. He is devastating on the power play which, if you look at the Flames lately, is something lacking.
Jason Jaffray is by far the best player in Abbotsford, other players may have one attribute better than him but as an all around player he is doing tremendous things with the Heat. 11 goals and 27 assists lead the team in both catagories but so does his +11 rating and team lead with 2 short handed goals. In short he should be up with the big cub next time there is a call up, Lundmark can handle himself but Jaffray is a guy you HATE to play against...exactly what this team needs if you ask me.
As far as first rounders go, there is Kris Chucko with 8 goals and 7 assists but his -7 rating is really horrible, in fact it is the lowest on the entire team. Matt Pelech is just a hard ass to play against, he will be great here, like a mobile Corey Sarich. Keith Seabrook is an interesting player because he has all of the tools, he has a respectable 13 points so far but has a ton of potential.
If you're wondering how last year's top pick Tim Erixon is doing he has 8 points in 30 games but is a really poor -8. Erixon is looked at as a long term prospect right now and hopefully he will come to North America soon. I think Backlund waited a year too long and it hampered his development, i would hope Erixon doesn't make the same mistake.
A prospect you may not know about is Ryan Howse in the WHL who right now is at 42 points in 38 games and is 17th in the "dub". A natural goalscorer and a guy who can play either wing, nothing to not like here. His team in Chilliwack is reliant on him for their offence so you know what he has is real and he is not being fed by a tremendous player to help him out.
Obviously Greg Nemisz is a great prospect right now, expected to center the top line in the world juniors for Canada, he is a power forward player that can do it all, his speed still needs to be addressed but it isn't so bad it hurts his game.
Mitch Wahl is a smaller guy but has great vision and tends to make other players around him better, he is above a point a game right now and doing well but maybe a little disappointing considering how much talent he has.
Last...Leland Irving, why would I leave him until last? Because Kipper is going to be in the net FOREVER... but if something were to happen to Kipper we do have a guy here who will be a workhorse positional goalie who had better than average reflexes. He is a guy who, in a year or two, come in and create a real goaltending controversy...well as much as you can have one with Kipper in net anyway.
Not mentioned is Keith Aulie, Brett Palin and a few other prospects but if they do something great I'll let you know.