Saturday, December 9, 2006

World Juniors

The USA selected their roster for the World Juniors recently, and it included 7 former USHL players.

Leading the list is former Des Moines Buccaneers Trevor Lewis and Kyle Okposo. Lewis is having a solid season in the OHL with the Owen Sound Attack and Okposo is probably one of the best freshman in college hockey this season. Okposo continues to prove he was worth a high draft pick in the most recent NHL Entry Draft.

Others named to the team include Nathan Gerbe (River City), Justin Abdelkader (Cedar Rapids), Brian Lee (Lincoln), Kyle Lawson (Tri-City), and Jeff Zatkoff (Sioux City). gives a brief blurb about each player.

Justin Abdelkader-Cedar Rapids RoughRiders
Abdelkader was with the RoughRiders during the 2004-05 season. In 60 games, Abdelkader scored 27 goals and assisted on 25 others. He was tied for 8th in goals scored and appeared in the USHL Prospects/All-Star Game. Abdelkader was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the second round of the 2005 NHL entry draft and is currently a sophomore at Michigan State University.

Nathan Gerbe-River City Lancers
Gerbe appeared in 25 games with the Lancers during the 2002-03 season when he was only 15 years old. He had three goals and three assists in those 25 games. He was drafted in the fifth round of the 2005 NHL entry draft by the Buffalo Sabres and is currently a sophomore at Boston College.

Kyle Lawson-Tri-City Storm
Lawson spent 2005-06 with the Storm before moving onto the University of Notre Dame, where he is currently a freshman. Last season, Lawson played 49 games with the Storm and scored nine goals and assisting on 13 more for 22 points. He was tied for 13th in scoring among USHL defensemen. Lawson was selected by the Carolina Hurricanes in the seventh round of the 2005 NHL entry draft.

Brian Lee-Lincoln Stars
Lee was a before and after player, meaning he spent time with the Stars before and after his high school season. Lee played 12 games with the Stars in 2004-05 and picked up three assists. He made his mark in the playoffs that year, however, scoring two goals and assisting on three more for five points in only four games. Lee was a first round pick of the Ottawa Senators in the 2005 NHL entry draft and is currently a sophomore at the University of North Dakota.

Trevor Lewis-Des Moines Buccaneers
Lewis was with the Buccaneers for two seasons, and in his second year enjoyed one of the finest seasons in USHL history. Lewis had 97 points in 108 career USHL games. Last season, he finished second in the league scoring race with 75 points, just one point from the league title. He was a captain of a Buccaneers team that won the national championship. Following the season, Lewis was named USHL MVP, USHL Forward of the Year, 1st Team All-USHL, and the recipient of the Curt Hammer Award. Lewis was also named USA Hockey's Junior Player of the Year. He was chosen in the 1st round of the 2006 NHL entry draft by Los Angeles. Later in the summer, he chose to bypass a scholarship to the University of Michigan and became the first player ever to sign an NHL contract directly from the USHL. Lewis currently skates with Owen Sound of the Ontario Hockey League.

Kyle Okposo-Des Moines Buccaneers
Okposo played just one season in the USHL, but it seemed like he was there a lot longer. Okposo appeared in 50 games for the Buccaneers in 2005-06, scoring 27 goals and adding 31 assists for 58 points. He was chosen to play in the 2006 USHL Prospects/All-Star Game. He was a 1st Team All-USHL selection, a member of the league All-Rookie Team and was voted the league's Rookie of the Year. He was also named Clark Cup MVP after helping lead the Buccaneers to a national title. Okposo was chosen 7th overall in the 2006 NHL entry draft by the New York Islanders and is currently a freshman forward at the University of Minnesota.

Jeff Zatkoff-Sioux City Musketeers
Zatkoff played 24 games for the Musketeers in 2004-05. He had a 13-6-3 record, a 2.55 goals against average, and a .914 saves percentage. He had the fourth highest saves percentage in the league. After one college season, Zatkoff was chosen by the Los Angeles Kings in the 3rd round of the 2006 NHL entry draft. Zatkoff is currently a sophomore at Miami University in Ohio.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ohio State, already struggling through a tough first half of the season that included the loss of its top returning scorer, appear set to receive another blow.

The London (Ont.) Free Press is reporting that Buckeyes freshman defenseman Kevin Montgomery is leaving the team to sign with the London Knights of the OHL.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Montgomery was a fourth-round draft choice of the NHL's Colorado Avalanche in 2006. He was also selected by London in its draft, and the article states that the two sides kept in touch.

Montgomery was a member of the U.S. National Development Program the last two years, and played on the under-18 team that won a gold medal in Sweden last spring. He was by-passed, however, for the upcoming World Junior tournament.

Unlike some other college freshman who leave for the CHL, Montgomery has been getting plenty of playing time. He has played 17 of OSU's 18 games this season, with one goal and five points.