|Ryan McDonagh (left) is having a solid freshman season at the University of Wisconsin, while Ryan White has picked up 41 points in 42 games with the WHL's Calgary Hitmen.|
Though only in his first season patrolling the Edmonton Oil Kings’ blue line, Cameron Cepek is the midst of a solid season in the Alberta capital. The California native leads all Oil Kings defensemen with 20 points, including seven goals, in 40 games and leads the entire Edmonton roster with 86 penalty minutes.
Further south, Ryan White, of the Calgary Hitmen, has had an extra jump in his step in meetings with his fellow 2006 Habs draftee, notching five points in two games. The Brandon, Manitoba native now has 41 points in 42 games this season.
Andrew Conboy’s productive campaign has propelled the Omaha Lancers to second place overall in the USHL. The Canadiens’ seventh pick in the 2007 draft, Conboy has nine goals and 13 assists in 32 games and has racked up 124 penalty minutes, the most among the Lancers.
Quietly progressing without much fanfare is defensemen Scott Kishel, of the Sioux Falls Stampede. The 18-year-old, Montreal’s ninth selection in the 2007 draft, has picked up a pair of points in his last four games, bringing his season total to seven in 29 contests so far.
Over the last two weeks, defenseman David Fischer, the Canadiens’ first-round pick in 2006, has put a lid on claims that he’s behind in his development. Despite a tough season that has Minnesota State hovering near the bottom of the Big Ten standings, Fischer has four points in his last three games.
Back at the University of Michigan after suiting up for Team USA at the World Junior Hockey Championship where he suffered a knee injury, Max Pacioretty has appeared in just one of the Wolverines’ last three contests. With a stellar record of 20-2-0, Michigan sits atop the American university standings. Pacioretty has been a key contributor to his team’s success with 19 points in as many games, in addition to a plus-16 differential.
In his third season at Dartmouth University, J.T. Wyman is cruising right along. The right-winger, chosen 100th overall by the Canadiens in 2004, has potted 10 goals and 10 assists in just 15 games so far this season, tops among the Big Green. Teammate and fellow Canadiens draftee Joe Stejskal, a blue-liner known for his physical style of play, ranks second on the New Hampshire university roster with 18 penalty minutes.
Overlooked by Team USA for the recent World Junior squad, Ryan McDonagh continues to have a solid freshman campaign at the University of Wisconsin. Though he was held off the scoresheet last weekend against Colorado College, the second-best team in the US, McDonagh has earned nine points in 20 games.
Philippe Paquet, a defenseman at Clarkson University, has suited up for just eight games this season. Paquet, whose game consists of speed and physicality, is in his third season with the Golden Knights.
Rimouski's recent acquisition of Keven Veilleux has been nothing but good news for centre Olivier Fortier. The Habs’ third-round pick in 2007 has amassed seven points in six games, to help lead the Oceanic to victory in three of their last four games.
Kitchener Rangers defenseman Yannick Weber closed out the recent World Junior Hockey Championship as the points leader among blue-liners, with six points in six games. Despite his personal success, Canada’s Drew Doughty and Sweden’s Victor Hedman were named as the tournament’s First Team All-Star defensemen.
Back with the Belleville Bulls after earning a gold medal with Team Canada, P.K. Subban has picked up right where he left off before the holidays, with two points in two games and plus-4 differential.
Félix-Antoine Viens is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Heather Engel.