In the second part of our prospects season in review, the focus turns to players who played for Canadian Hockey League clubs this past season. One prospect ended the season with the Memorial Cup. Another captured a scoring title. Two other prospects find themselves without contracts and are now in search of new opportunities.
Gabriel Beaupre, Val-d'Or (QMJHL)
Drafted sixth round (153rd overall), 2011 NHL Entry Draft
Gabriel Beaupre, known more for his physical game, compiled six goals and 15 assists for the Foreurs this past season. The defenseman's 102 penalty minutes included six fighting majors. His club had a quick exit from the QMJHL playoffs after being swept in the opening round by the Rimouski Oceanic. Beaupre had six penalty minutes in the series. He'll attend Avs training camp in September, but is expected to return to Val-d'Or this fall.
Dillon Donnelly, Shawinigan (QMJHL)
Drafted seventh round (183rd overall), 2011 NHL Entry Draft
Like Beaupre, Dillon Donnelly also racked up the penalty minutes. He had 11 fighting majors and 125 penalty minutes for the Shawinigan Cataractes; and added a goal and 13 assists in 59 games. He was sidelined for several games this year due to a concussion.
Shawinigan swept Rouyn-Noranda in the first round of the playoffs before falling to Chicoutimi in the next round in seven games. Donnelly had one assist during the QMJHL playoffs. As host of the 2012 Memorial Cup, the Cataractes defeated the London Knights (OHL) in overtime 2-1 to take the championship. It was the first Memorial Cup title for the franchise. Donnelly did not record a point in the five game tourney, but had 21 penalty minutes. Those numbers are not likely to decline with Shawinigan next season.
Garrett Meurs, Plymouth (OHL)
Drafted fifth round (123rd overall), 2011 NHL Entry Draft
Garrett Meurs put together his best season in the Ontario Hockey League by potting 20 goals and 33 assists for the Plymouth Whalers in 67 games. It was a 13 point improvement from his draft year. Unfortunately, Meurs was sidelined with a shoulder injury late in the regular season and was unable to participate in the playoffs.
Plymouth would defeat Guelph in the first round of the playoffs, but saw their season end in a second round loss, in seven games, to Kitchener. A healthy Meurs will be an intriguing player to follow next year for the Whalers.
Calvin Pickard, Seattle (WHL)
Drafted second round (49th overall), 2010 NHL Entry Draft
Calvin Pickard cannot say that he was bored this season. He faced a league high 2,302 shots. He also set a league record in career minutes played by a goaltender. He passed Kurtis Mucha, who played 13,708 minutes. The record was regrettably recorded in one of many losses this past season for the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Seattle was 25-45-1-1 and failed to qualify for the playoffs. Pickard earned all 25 victories for the Thunderbirds and finished with a goals against average of 3.59 and save percentage of 0.906. Once Seattle's season ended, Pickard got a little taste of the pro-life with a short stint with the Lake Erie Monsters. He figures to fit prominently in the Monsters plans for the 2012-13 season.
Troy Rutkowski, Portland (WHL)
Drafted fifth round (137th overall), 2010 NHL Entry Draft
Despite producing 13 goals and 32 assists in 72 regular season games and 10 points in 22 playoff contests (fifth highest among defensemen), it wasn't enough to secure a contract with the Avs for defenseman Troy Rutkowski. His team, the Portland Winterhawks, finished with the third best record in the league and made it all the way to the WHL Championship Series before losing to Edmonton in seven games. A disappointing end for Rutkowski, who now finds himself looking for another organization in order to pursue his professional dreams.
Michael Sgarbossa, Sudbury (OHL)
Undrafted (acquired from San Jose via trade)
The San Jose Sharks signed Michael Sgarbossa to an entry-level contract in September of 2010 after participating in a prospects tournament. He was later dealt to the Avalanche at the recent trade deadline. Yet, it was another trade that really set off Sgarbossa when he was moved from Saginaw to Sudbury during the 2010-11 season.
Sgarbossa accumulated 47 goals and 55 assists in 66 games for the Sudbury Wolves this season. His 102 points captured the regular season scoring title. He was also named an OHL First Team All-Star.
Despite his regular season dominance, Sgarbossa was held in check during the playoffs. The Wolves were swept in the first round by Brampton. Sgarbossa finished with three points. Pro hockey will be his next stop and he will attend his first training camp with the Avalanche this fall.
Duncan Siemens, Saskatoon (WHL)
Drafted first round (11th overall), 2011 NHL Entry Draft
The 2011-12 season was a bit of a transition for Duncan Siemens. His defensive partner Stefan Elliott had moved up to the pro ranks and Siemens had the added responsibility of being named captain for the Saskatoon Blades. His offensive numbers dropped from 43 points to 28, but Siemens played in fewer games due a concussion he suffered in a game against Medicine Hat in early February.
The same Medicine Hat Tigers would sweep the Blades in the opening round of the playoffs. Siemens had a goal and an assist in the series. Though Siemens has already signed a contract with the Avalanche, he is expected to return to Saskatoon next year where the Blades will host the 2013 Memorial Cup.
Stephen Silas, Belleville (OHL)
Drafted fourth round (95th overall), 2010 NHL Entry Draft
After 49 points during his draft year, Stephen Silas was never ever able to match the same offensive output in more recent seasons. He had six goals and 26 assists for a club that finished seventh in the Eastern Conference. The Belleville Bulls would fall to Ottawa in six games in the first round of the playoffs. Silas contributed with a goal in the series.
Like Troy Rutkowski, Stephen Silas was unable to garner an entry-level contract from the Avalanche before the June 1st deadline. As a result, he will re-enter the draft.