Hamilton report

Wednesday, 31.10.2007 / 1:00 PM / News
canadiens.com
Corey Locke has picked up eight points with the Bulldogs so far this season.
MONTREAL - With plenty of returnees from their Calder Cup winning squad of a year ago, the Hamilton Bulldogs will once again be a force in 2007-08. Throughout the AHL season, canadiens.com will be keeping you up to date about which prospects are making the most noise down on the farm.

It will be tough to miss Andrei Kostitsyn’s little brother Sergei this year as he makes the jump from junior to the pro ranks. After racking up 131 points with the London Knights last season alongside the likes of Sam Gagner and Patrick Kane, Kostitsyn has adapted quickly to life in the AHL, amassing 12 points in his first nine games.

Kostitsyn’s biggest night so far came in a 5-1 win over the Rockford Icedogs on Sunday when he recorded a goal and three assists to lead the way for Hamilton. The 20-year-old’s blistering start has him sitting sixth in the AHL tied with highly-touted Blue Jackets prospect Derick Brassard with a dozen points.

Veterans Maxim Lapierre and Corey Locke have also exploded out of the blocks so far with eight points apiece. Holding an equally hot stick these days is fellow veteran Jonathan Ferland, who leads the Bulldogs with five goals.

After being among the final cuts at training camp, Ryan O’Byrne has added some offense to his hardnosed game this season. Drafted 79th overall by the Canadiens at the 2003 Draft, O'Byrne has followed up his 12-point campaign in 2006-07 with a goal and three assists already this year. At his current pace, O’Byrne should easily double his production of a year ago.

The ‘Dogs also remain rock-solid between the pipes with Jaroslav Halak and Yann Danis boasting a .910 and .927 save percentage, respectively.

Another new but not-so baby face in the Hamilton dressing room is newly-signed, veteran defenseman Joel Bouchard. With 364 games of NHL duty under his belt following stints with the Flames, Predators, Devils, Rangers, Penguins and the Islanders, Bouchard will bring his wealth of experience to the Bulldogs’ blue line.

Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com