Hockey Hotbed: Rochester, New York
Posted 03-24-2011 at 06:16 PM by Bags2
Rochester, New York. The city where I have grown up for these first eighteen years of my life, and in these eighteen years I have seen the likes of Ryan Callahan, Marty Reasoner, Brian Gionta, and many more extremely talented hockey players come through this area. Rochester has become a hockey hotbed of sorts and the talent in this area is just getting better. Some are already in junior, some are still in high school. However one thing is for sure, all these prospects have a very legitimate shot at playing at the next level.
Here are this years top prospects from the Rochester, New York area.
Shane Prince (OHL-Ottawa) Ht:5'10 LBS:181 H:L Pos:LW DOB:11/16/92. 2011 Draft Eligble
GP:59 G:25 A:63 Pts:88 PIMS:18
Prince is from Spencerport high school and this was his 3rd season in the OHL splitting time between his former team the Kitchener Rangers, and his current team the Ottawa 67's. Prince never really made much noise in the OHL until this year when he exploded onto the scene with a huge season with 88 points. Prince always puts himself in good position when he's on the ice to score, or set up someone to score. he has a great pass, probably one of the best in this years draft class. He was tied for 10th this year in the OHL for scoring and really did have a phenomenal year. He is very disciplined and plays solid defense for a winger. However he is only ranked 35th by NHL's central scouting. The reasons behind this are his size and who he played with. He is only 5'10 and he did get pushed around a little bit all through his OHL career. He also never really had a big year before this, granted this was his third year in the OHL which is the breakout year for many bu he went from 30 points to 88 in one year. Some suggest it is because he was skating with Ryan Martindale who was a 3rd round pick by the Oilers last year, and OHL leading scorer Tyler Toffoli who was a 2nd round pick by the Kings last year. Many think these may have inflated his numbers. At the moment I am unsure of what to think about Prince, but I do think someday we will see him in the NHL. As far as how effective he is, I'm not sure I see him being a big scorer in the NHL. I hope he proves me wrong though, and represents Rochester in the NHL for a long time.
Philip Lane (OHL-Brampton) Ht:6'3 LBS:195 H:R Pos:RW DOB:5/29/92. Phoenix Coyotes 2010 2nd round pick (52nd overall)
GP:54 G:17 A:17 Pts:34 PIMS:113
Lane comes from Greece Athena high school and played on a state champion team his last year playing for the Athena/Odyssey Thunder. Lane is a real touh player who really likes to play on the edge of tough and dirty. he has a good amount of skill but thrives on his toughness and hard work to get points. He plays very tough defense and is never easy to play against. he's very tough on the forecheck and backcheck and is never afraid to throw his body around. Outside of Ryan Callahan he is the best body checker to have ever come out of the Rochester area. And boy can he throw. He was in eight fights this year and he's never one who is shy to drop the gloves. Not only does he fight a lot, he is a very skilled fighter. The Coyotes were very high on him selecting him in the 2nd round at last years draft. As long as Lane keeps playing the tough nosed, hard style of hockey he plays he will have no problem getting to the NHL, and staying in the NHL. I think he could be a Chris Neil type player in the NHL if he keeps playing like he is. Out of everyone I would have to say I think Lane will last the longest in the NHL once he gets there.
David Shields (OHL-Erie) Ht:6'3 LBS:215 H:R Pos: D DOB:1/27/91. St. Louis Blues 2009 6th round pick (168th overall)
GP:61 G:6 A:21 Pts:27 PIMS:48
Shields comes from Irondequoit high school and this was his fourth year playing with Erie of the Ontario Hockey League. For a 6th round pick Shields has already been much more than the Blues anticipated he would be when the drafted him. He is one of the best defenseman on the Otters and has really grown over the past two seasons. He is a stay at home defenseman who can be physical when he needs to be but still if very responsible. For a player his size he is actually a fairly good skater as well. He has a pretty heavy shot which he has shown no problem getting through so far in the OHL, but don't expect him to ever put up big goal scoring numbers wherever he goes, but he can certainly provide a little offense. If Shields continues to grow and progress at the rate he is right now I think we could see him in the NHL. I think he'll always be a guy who's on the 3rd pairing but I think he could find a home in the NHL and make a decent career if he continues to play smart defense, and continues to play a simple but effective game. Maybe not with the Blues, but I would be surprised if we don't see Shields in the NHL.
John Padulo (OHL-Barrie) Ht:6'0 LBS:183 H:R Pos:C DOB:5/6/92. 2011 Draft Eligable
GP:64 G:9 A:13 Pts:22 PIMS:67
Padulo also comes from Irondequoit, which has produced a solid amount of very talented hockey players over the years such as Rory Fitzpatrick. Padulo is a third year OHL player and plays a very physical game especially this year. He was involved in five fights as a result of his hard forechecking. Although he has been in the OHL every year and his numbers have gone up every year they aren't to the caliber where an NHL team would draft him this year. I think he has potential to play in the NHL someday but I feel he could use another year playing in junior. He also has had some pretty bad luck playing on three of the worst teams in the past three years (Oshawa the last two years and Barrie this year). he plays hard every shift and is never one who will be seen as a lazy player. He doesn't overwhelm you with any of his offensive skills though. However, next year in the OHL I feel if he continues to work hard, and being older than most of the kids I honestly feel he could put up point per game numbers. He needs to get in the dirty areas and work for goals and continue to be the tough nosed player he is all over the ice.
Nick Papas (HS-Irondequoit) Ht:6'0 LBS:185 H:R Pos:LW DOB:1/10/93. 2011 Draft Eligible
GP:20 G:18 A:17 Pts:35 PIMS:16
Papas comes from the same high school as Shields and Padulo (as well as myself). He has a wide skill set and if he continues his growth he's a player who I honestly think could play in the NHL. He plays a very solid two way game and is always a very aggressive backchecker and forechecker. He plays a fairly physical game and every once in a while you'll see forwards fall asleep near the wall and he can really deliver a knock out shot. He is a huge asset on the power play as he has a rocket for a shot, both his wrist and slap shot are very effective. He is very good at sneaking up the left wing and firing wrist shots through defenseman. But he also is very good at faking his shots and sending great passes to open teammates, when the puck is on his blade he becomes a very dangerous player. I put his position as left wing because that is where he seems most comfortable but he really can play all three forward spots and in his sophomore year he actual played some defense, so he is a very versatile player. He reminds me a lot of Jason Spezza when I watch him play. He's a very good skater and is very aware of his surroundings when he has the puck. Don't be surprised if you see Papas in the OHL next year, and by the way he was second on the team in goals and points. The only player he was behind was little brother John. So don't be surprised if this isn't the last time you hear the name Papas.
Cory Gurski (EJHL-Maksymum) Ht:5'11 LBS:160 H:R Pos:C DOB:5/31/93. 2011 Draft Eligible
GP:31 G:20 A:18 Pts:38 PIMS:77
Gurski comes from Hilton, the same town where Ryan Callahan is from. he was a senior in high school this year and after being arguably one of the best players in Section V (Rochester's high school league) he moved on to playing junior hockey for Maksymum. He moved around from their A and B teams but found a home on the B team becoming one of their top scorers. Gurski is a very skilled skater and has incredible hand eye coordination. He is also very good at finding scoring pockets on the ice and isn't afraid to go anywhere. He'll pay the price to score goals and he'll make sure others pay the price if they try to get in his grill. Gurski is more than open to dropping the gloves and is a real tough player. I think Gurski has found a home playing with this Maksymum team but I think he will be playing A next year. He is a little undersized but it seems like wherever he goes he succeeds. I have no doubt he can compete at the next level and I'd expect to see him professionally in the future.