Puempel on a MissionTuesday, November 27, 2012
New York Islanders first-round pick Ryan Strome joined the 50-point club for the CHL on the strength of an impressive week that saw him amass two goals and six helpers for eight points in three games. Kamloops Blazers teammates JC Lipon (53) and Colin Smith (52) are first and second, respectively, in the WHL scoring race as the CHL's other 50-point producers so far this campaign. Strome, who was the fifth overall pick in the 2011 draft, leads the OHL in scoring with 51 points in just 27 contests.
Here are some other CHLers who made waves this past week:
Scott Kosmachuk (WPG - Guelph Storm) - At the beginning of last week, Kosmachuk was seeking some puck luck to end his seven-game goalless drought and he found it. He tallied six goals and added two assists in three matches to help him earn the OHL player of the week distinction. Kosmachuk capped off his award-winning stretch by potting his first hat trick of the season and the second of his career in a 7-5 win over Ottawa on Saturday. The third-round selection of the Jets in 2012 has registered a team-high 18 goals and he has posted 32 points in 27 games.
Matt Puempel (OTT - Kitchener Rangers) - Puempel hasn't had any trouble finding the back of the net this season. He has netted 21 markers in 25 games and scored four in two contests last week. Puempel has just seven assists this year, with two of them coming this past week, but his current goal-scoring pace should allow him to easily surpass his previous career high of 34 that he put up in 2010-11. Ottawa's first-round pick, 24th overall, in 2011 has the makings of a legitimate sniper.
Brendan Leipsic (NSH - Portland Winterhawks) - The Nashville Predators chose Leipsic with the 89th overall pick in the 2012 draft and his stock with the organization may be on the rise if he can continue his superb play. He recorded three goals and six assists over three contests en route to receiving the WHL player of the week award. His efforts gave the Winterhawks three consecutive victories and his point total was raised to 38 in 22 appearances for this season. Leipsic is currently fifth in the WHL scoring race and Portland owns the second-best record in the league at 20-4-1-0.
Victor Rask (CAR - Calgary Hitmen) - Rask began the 2012-13 campaign in the AHL with Carolina's minor-league affiliate in Charlotte, where he ended up with five points in 10 outings. However, due to the over-crowdedness of the minors because of the NHL lockout, he was reassigned to his junior squad in Calgary to get more ice time. Rask made his return to the Hitmen lineup on Nov. 18 and he skated in three games last week. He has picked up one goal and three assists in four WHL matches since the move. Carolina's second-round pick in 2011 registered 33 goals and 63 points in 64 games with Calgary during his rookie year in 2011-12 and he should continue to produce at a high level for the remainder of the season.
Mikhail Grigorenko (BUF - Quebec Remparts) - Grigorenko was slated to challenge for a roster spot with Buffalo this season at training camp and his dominant play in the QMJHL is supporting that projection. The 12th overall pick in the 2012 draft netted five goals in three games last week to give him 23 in 24 matches this year. Grigorenko is currently second in league scoring with a whopping 43 points and he is just one point behind leader Ben Duffy of the P.E.I Rocket.
Allain Saulnier (Moncton Wildcats) - The 20-year-old veteran of junior hockey has generated 13 goals and 38 points in 26 games in his fourth season with Moncton. Saulnier was named the first star of the QMJHL after he totaled nine points (three goals, six assists) in only three games last week. Saulnier has exceeded the 70-point mark in each of his past two seasons and he appears to be well on his way to reaching that feat this year.