Brandon Gormley ~ No brainer. Last season, he had 32 points in 35 games and 5g, 2a in 7 games during the Memorial Cup playoffs. He is the definition of sick and looked awfully good raising that trophy over his head. The lockout is killing his chances of making his NHL debut this October, but he is going to set Portland on fire. Book it. Bound to be a superstar..... I won't say he's OEL-ish, but, yeah.
Chris Brown ~ No, not that Chris Brown....... this one only beats on boys. Chris is coming out after his third season at U of Michigan. During his Junior year, he was much improved, scoring 12 goals & 17 assists in 38 games. I love to watch Chris at summer prospect camp because, even with just his teammates to play against, he goes for it. He's hard to the net. He's standing in front of the net. He won't be pushed around easily. I CAN NOT WAIT to see what he can do when he is unleashed in the AHL. Stay tuned on this kid.
Brendan Shinnimin ~ Stupid numbers. STUPID, STUPID NUMBERS. He puts up RIDICULOUS numbers. 139 points in 69 games. THAT ISN'T EVEN POSSIBLE, RIGHT? The year before he did 96 points in 60 games. Well, he must choke in the playoffs, right? 23 points in 15 playoff games. Yep, he was down right sucky. Yes, his size is an issue and it's worked against Andy Miele, but Brendan's numbers are insane. The physicality of the AHL is another story, but the WHL (where Brendan played) isn't known as pansyland. It will be greatly interesting to see how he does this season.
Darian Dziurzynski ~ Before being traded to the Wheat Kings last season, Darian was out of the gate hot, scoring 3 goals in 4 games for the Blades. In total last season, Darian scored 30 goals and had 16 assists. Not insane, but Darian has a secret weapon......
his hair.... he's tough. He won't back down from a fight and physically, he's a mini-beast. He had 106 penalty minutes last season and probably earned some that didn't get called. Considering he was a 5th round pick, Darian's upside is significant and Portland is gonna have some size.
And of course, the much lauded goalie........
Mark Visentin..... Louis Domingue!
Visentin-Shmishentin, BB Goalie is the business. I'm telling you, in a one game situation, I take Domingue every time. The Cup winning Kings? Pretty sure Domingue SHUT THEM OUT for a period and a half to end the game scoreless last preseason. In the shootout? WE WON cuz he has ice water in his veins (OEL scored the winner, ZOMG). Yes, it was a split squad, but the Kings kept all their stars at home...... Richards, Kopitar, Doughty, Brown.......he had to deal with back to back power plays... no sweat! BB GOALIE FOR THE WIN, Y'ALL. Yes, Visentin is consistent. He is dependable. He is ZZZzzzzzz....... Oh sorry, I'm back. It's tough to compare the OHL and the Q, but if Sarah Connors thinks the Q is tougher, I'm gonna agree.
I'm not super excited to see Visentin, I feel like I know what I'm going to get from him. Excited to see pro development? I'm on Team BB Goalie, for sure. Plus, Domingue has been coached by Patrick Roy for a couple years...... craziness is bound to ensue, no? /Goalie tirade
So, there are five newly pro players to keep an eye on. Luckily for them, we have nothing better to do than have the prospects dazzle our pants off, seeing as how the NHL is too busy fighting over cash.
/Gratuitous OEL Picture: