Winnipeg is the last stop on our 30 day tour. They've got one of the best prospect groups in the entire NHL. Unfortunately, they don't have many OHL prospects right now.
1. Brendan Lemieux - Windsor Spitfires
An interesting year for Lemieux. Suspensions (which is nothing new) and a trade from one contender to another (which apparently had to do with the unhappiness of both sides). But Lemieux did still play some hockey and was a very effective player...when he played. He remains a solid goal scoring prospect because of how effective he is within 10 feet of the net. Has such good anticipation for where loose pucks will be and his hands for tip ins, and garbage goals are excellent. With his strength, I would anticipate that he continues to find scoring success at this range in the AHL/NHL. His skating has definitely improved over the years, although he'll never be a burner. And of course, Lemieux's pest like demeanour makes him a pain in the butt to play against. The type of guy other teams hate, but your fans love. I think he's ready for pro hockey and will make the transition to the AHL next year. I would expect him to put up pretty decent numbers. A 20 goal, 40 point rookie season is a very realistic goal (given a guy like Justin Bailey just put that up and I think Lemieux is equally as talented as a goal scorer).
2. Logan Stanley - Windsor Spitfires
If you've read my blog, you know my feelings about Stanley as an NHL 1st rounder. But I've written about that before. Let's evaluate Stanley's season. All in all, you'd be hard pressed to find a player who improved more from his freshman season to his sophomore. The hulking defender struggled badly as a 16 year old rookie, but emerged as one of Windsor's go to defenders last year. His skating (while still requiring some work) improved a ton, especially his forward mobility. He also really increased his physical confidence, establishing himself as a physical beast and the type of guy who makes you feel his presence in the defensive end. Offensively, he will occasionally skate the puck out of trouble and actually does a very good job getting point shots through to the net and demonstrates poise on the point. His overall potential remains a highly debated topic. Some feel there is a lot of hidden offensive potential there. Others feel that he's destined to become more of a Matt Greene/Hal Gill type. We'll find out in good time. Next year Windsor is hosting the Memorial Cup, which will be tremendous for Stanley's development. He'll continue to be a top 3 defender on the team and I would guess that he cracks the 25+ point mark.