Icemen Top 20 prospects

by Sylvain Tremblay | September 29, 2007, 12:04 PM ET
Top 20 prospects With the many prospects the Reykjavik Icemen have either selected or signed as free agents in the past three years, the top prospects list is getting really crowded. Overall, the team can be pleased with their picks and signatures in the last years which helped gather a very deep pool of players. However, while talented, the pool of players is still lacking in terms of high octane offensive players. This year, Paul Ranger has graduated and will play as a regular for the year and most likely the years to come as well. He has been removed from the top prospect list. Now for the prospects ranking: #1 – Jakub Voracek, RW                                                              OV Rating: 9 This played adapted seamlessly to the north-american brand of hockey over the past year in the QMJHL. After a successful season, he totally exploded during the playoff with the Halifax Mooseheads. This talented player projects to play on the team’s top lines sooner than later. As the best talent in the prospect pool, and carrying almost no risk of being a bust, Voracek grabs the first spot and is the best prospect for the Icemen. #2 – Keith Yandle, D                                                                        OV Rating: 9- A player that has an extremely good vision of the ice, Yandle has been quickly learning the pro-game. His offensive game and passing are ready for the big league but he still needs to improve his strength to contend in the front of the net with the tougher SICHL forwards. He may see a few gamesthis year with the big club, but he should play mostly for the minor team to hone his skills. In the future, he should become an anchor for the team on the blue line for several years. #3 – Michal Neuvirth, G                                                                             OV Rating: 8+ Surging through the rankings after an outstanding year in the OHL with the Plymouth Whalers, Neuvirth has all it takes to become a good starter in the league. However, he is still a few years away, as he will need to become more consistent to become a regular in the SICHL. The Reykjavik management is keeping an eye on his development and on who might be the future goaltender of the hockey club for years to come. #4 – Sean Bergenheim, LW                                                                       OV Rating: 8 An energetic player, Bergenheim will be working on his game this year and could make his first SICHL appearance next year if he improves enough to be part of the big show. He had a good year in Finland where he was amongst the best players in the league. #5 – Chris Butler, D                                                                                 OV Rating: 8 During his sophomore season with the University of Denver, Butler proved he could handle top duties for his team, being not only a rock on defence but being able to contribute on offence as well. He will have to play minor hockey at least two more years before he is ready to contribute in the big league. His encouraging play and development have pushed up his projection to be a top pair defenseman. #6 – Max Pacioretty, LW                                                                          OV Rating: 8 The big forward had a very successful first year in the USHL with the Sioux City Musketeers last year. This year, he will try to bring his scoring prowess and two-way play to the University of Michigan, where he will begin his NCAA career. Pacioretty could become a good “top six” player for the Icemen in the future that brings along size and skills mixed with defensive acuity. #7 – Matt D’Agostini, RW                                                                         OV Rating: 8- The late selection in the 2006-2007 draft has developed tremendously over the course of last year. The management feel he is close to having a complete pro-game and he could make the jump to the SICHL within two years. D’Agostini possesses a good shot along with speed to burn, which backs up the opposing defence when he is on the ice. #8 – Tim Kennedy, LW                                                                             OV Rating: 7+ Another late selection in the 2006-2007 draft, Kennedy opened a lot of eyes last year when he led his NCAA team to win the famous Frozen Four tournament. The diminutive forward, who plays with a lot of speed and intensity, has showed that he has the skills required to make an impact as a top winger in the SICHL provided his development continues in the right path. He could be playing within a few years with the big club. #9 – Brodie Dupont, C                                                                              OV Rating: 7+ Dupont ended his junior career last year with a bang, scoring 37 goals for the Calgary Hitmen. In order to make his game progress even more, he will have to play a year or two with men. While he has a knack for scoring, Dupont is mostly known for his work ethic and his relentless forechecking. He is projected as a future third liner that has upside to play on the second line if he can keep scoring at his junior pace in the men’s league. #10 – Marc-Andre Cliche, RW                                                                   OV Rating: 7+ Cliche has just finished his junior career as well, a year where he participated in the successful win of the junior hockey championships (U-20). He will now try to adapt his game of speed and puck pursuit to the minor pro league. Cliche also has untapped offensive potential that he could develop while adapting his game. He is projected as a good third liner that can play on the second line when needed at this point. #11 – Thomas Popperle, G                                                                        OV Rating: 7+ The young Czech goaltender has vastly improved his conditioning last year when playing in the minor pro leagues. He may not be ready this year but should be close enough to handle back-up duties in the SICHL. This year he needs to show he can dominate at the minor pro level and this should be a key to his graduation to the major league. #12 – Oscar Moller, C                                                                               OV Rating: 7+ The Chilliwack Bruins center should return to his junior team after a successful first season last year. With his tremendous shot, expect him to improve his goals and points total this year. In a few years, the gritty hard working forward should be able to play on a second line if he can improve his skating to pro level. #13 – Mark Dekanich, C                                                                           OV Rating: 7 The Colgate University goaltender will enter his senior year in 2007-2008. Even though he is not a well known name, Dekanich has played big for Colgate since his record setting 2005-2006 campaign. An athletic goaltender, Dekanich gives his team a chance to win every night. For now, he could still project as a starter in the SICHL although we will know more when he plays in the minor pro leagues in a year or two. #14 – Yannick Weber, D                                                                           OV Rating: 7 Yannick Weber is another European who adapted well to the junior hockey style, enjoying a successful season with the Kitchener Rangers. Displaying defensive abilities and a good read of the game, he should be able to help offensively and become a key cog on the powerplay. However, he will first have to show that he can compete in the pro leagues despite his small size. He will need a few years to develop. #15 – Greg Zanon, D                                                                        OV Rating: 7- This defenseman can play a really solid defensive game and is a key player on the penalty kill. However, due to average at best mobility and a lack of offensive tools, Zanon will never be a very “sexy” player on ice. With another year of tuning his game for the pros, as well as more appreciation for defensive play, he could become a regular next year on the Icemen blueline. #16 – Johan Ryno, RW                                                                             OV Rating: 7- A big forward with explosive potential, Ryno should make his minor pro debut this year. The tall forward has a good skating stride and a scoring touch around the net. He had an up and down year in Sweden in 2006-2007 and will try to get closer to the SICHL by having a stronger and more consistent season this year. #17 – Jason Gregoire, LW                                                                        OV Rating: 6+ After missing a huge chunk of the year in 2006-2007 due to an injury, Gregoire will be back for another year with the Lincoln Stars of the USHL. In the fall of 2008, he will then join the University of North Dakota for his NCAA debut. Gregoire is a complete player that excels defensively and who will do all the small things that makes a team win. He is still far away from joining the team, as his development should take another four years. #18 – Tyler Ruegsegger, C                                                                       OV Rating: 6+ After two years at Shattucks St.Mary’s, Ruegsegger had a good freshman year with the University of Denver. A forward that’s competitive, he will need to work further on his skating to have an impact in the major league. He is still a few years ago before turning pro, which should help his development. #19 – Jeff Zatkoff, G                                                                        OV Rating: 6+ A huge but yet athletic goaltender, Zatkoff will start his third year with Miami University. He had a tough year in 2006-2007 even though he was named on the US junior championship team (U-20) where he couldn’t establish himself as the #1. Despite his struggles, Zatkoff still has the potential to become a good starter in the league. He will return to Miami once again this year and try to get back to form that saw him as US best in the nation. #20 – Kent Patterson, G                                                                            OV Rating: 6+ The youngest goaltender available in the last draft, Patterson was still one of the best goaltenders in the USHL. As well, because he is so young, he is likely at least four years away from making the pro team. Full of promises, the Reykjavik management will follow closely his development to keep him on track. Honorable mentions (OV Rating: 6) Harrison Reed: Good season with the Sarnia Sting last year. Could develop as a top 6 forward in the future. Will play another year in the OHL to develop his two-way game. Derrick Lapoint: He entered the USHL and became a top defenseman in that league last year. He will enter the NCAA and play for North Dakota in 2007-2008. Aaron Johnson: He played a few games in the SICHL but it was unconvincing. He may get a few more games this year but he still hasn’t earned a major leaguer spot. Oskar Osala: He had an up and down year, being dominant at times while looking disinterested at others. He will play in the SM-Liiga with the Espoo Blues. Ondrej Fiala: He was injured once again last year, shortening his season with the Everett Silvertips. He will join them again this year on his final WHL year. Kevin Marshall: The rugged defenseman enjoyed a presence at the Memorial Cup after a successful season with the Lewiston MAINEiacs. He will return to a much weaker team this year as he continues to develop. Olivier Fortier: He was able to put up a point per game with a weak Rimouski Oceanic team last year. He returns to a stronger team this year where he will pursue his development. Patrik Hersley: The big defenseman played last year in the SEL and held his own. He is going to play this year in the minor pro league with the Monarchs. Nicolas Blanchard: He ended his junior career by raising his goal and assist totals to new highs. He will play in the minor pro league with the River Rats this year.

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