Now that we’ve gone through the Goalies, let’s move out to the blueliners! From top-down as per usual.
Connor Clifton - RHD
Points: 4g - 11a - 15pts
Connor Clifton has been having a great time in Providence now that he can focus on it for the time being, currently being the highest scoring defender for the P-B’s and a boon to their recent success with how he’s done lately, especially with his slick passing creating golden opportunities for Providence’s forward corps. Clif’s season has undoubtably taken a seriously great turn upwards and he’s looking like a low-key intriguing prospect to keep your eye on.
Urho Vaakanainen - LHD
Points: 0g - 6a - 6pts
After a lengthy recovery period from one of the single most maliciously inflicted concussions in recent memory and then illness, Vaak had himself quite the World Junior Championship, where he was often tasked with plenty of minutes to deal with top junior talent, and eventually went home with a shiny gold medal. His reintroduction to the AHL has been fruitful, as he’s racked up assists pretty handily. He isn’t even close to their most productive blueliner due to his absence however, so the rest of the season is a little bit of catchup for the 2017 first rounder.
Still! A great turnaround for a guy who got elbowed in the head in his 2nd game in the NHL!
Jeremy Lauzon - LHD
Points: 1g - 5a - 6pts
Lauzon’s year has truly been all over the place. He’s been sent up, sent down, played in the NHL, been out for stretches, and this is still unfortunately the case for him as of right now; he’s been out for a little while and the timetable for such an injury is unclear. Here’s hoping he comes back ready to play and hopefully ready to inject a little stability into his life again.
Jakub Zboril - LHD
Points: 3g - 6a - 9pts
If it isn’t Lauzon who’s banged up or taking maintenance days, then it’s Jakub Zboril, who for his part has been able to be at least one of the more productive defenders in terms of helping out with goalscoring, but a bad hit got him taken out of a lot of recent action. He’s back now, but it really feels like little Z’s just had some of the more rotten luck among the AHL guys this year. Which features plenty of rotten luck.
Emil Johansson - LHD
Points: 1g - 4a - 5pts
Johansson’s no-frills, no nonsense brand of hockey has ensured that he’s not going to be much more than depth for any team he’s on, but that also means his game is essentially secure as he continues to play to his strengths of getting the puck out, board play, and smooth skating. He’s had a perfectly fine season so far.
Wiley Sherman - LHD
Points: 2g - 2a - 4pts
Providence’s big boy defender has been a presence. In that he appears and has matter.
I’m kidding, of course. He’s been alright, and considering his size he’s actually been much more careful about the spots he’s chosen to drop the gloves, probably aware that there are only so many players in Providence who are able to get the kind of reach he does.
Atlanta - ECHL:
Olivier Galipeau - LHD
Points: 4g - 9a - 13pts
Galipeau’s time in hotlanta has been a productive one, as he’s 8th on the team overall in scoring, the Gladiator’s leading point-getting defender, and has kept his nose fairly clean in terms of PIM. He’s probably not edging anybody out of the Providence lineup yet, but he’s unquestionably made himself a little niche within Gwinnett County.
Sweden - Hockey Allsvenskan:
Axel Andersson - RHD
Points: 0g - 4a - 4pts
Andersson has remained a depth guy as is tradition for Swedish youngboys, but has been able to garner slightly more minutes than the slightly-over-10 he had at the beginning of the season. His first goal still eludes him, but he’s still seeing accolades in being selected for the Swedish U19 team to go to the Five Nations tournament this February. So congrats to him!
SSK Fans seem to be kinda concerned he’s going to be gone for a little while too, which is even better to know that he’s making a positive impression!
Victor Berglund - RHD
Points: 4g - 5a - 9pts
Berglund’s season has seen him rise to the rank of 3rd overall in defenseman scoring for MODO Hockey, playing around 14 minutes a night and clearly being the most interested in scoring, as the other two ahead of him were mostly picking up assists. Of course, it helps if Berglund has been taking a boatload of shots to help build his total, which he has, with 58 SOG, good enough for 2nd on the team. Definitely a player to keep tabs on for the World Championships once those come around.
Cameron Clarke - RHD
Points: 0g - 7a - 7pts
Cam Clarke has matched his previous season totals with the Ferris State Bulldogs. Fun!
Bad news: Cam Clarke still plays on a deeply out of their depth Ferris State team whose record is 6-17-1. Any victories you can get this year are going to be primarily moral. Everything he does now will mostly be growing his game and getting better from where he is.
Which is being a guppy in a shark tank. Have a heart for this poor kid.
Daniel Bukac - RHD
Points: 2g - 5a - 7pts
Bukac has continued to enjoy a pretty solid resurgence with the OHL’s leader in the Central Division: the Niagara IceDogs. Sure, he’s a bit of an overager but being 6’5 and being a net-positive on the ice can definitely help a lot. He even gets to hang out with fellow Bruins prospect Jack Studnicka now! I hope he’s good and rested for the home stretch because they’re probably gonna need him for what’s looking to be a deeper playoff run.
Dustyn McFaul - RHD
Points: 3g - 10a - 13pts
There’s already only a month left in the OJHL season but I bet you McFaul is probably already good and done with it, since Pickering has had a pretty unspectacular year and doesn’t have much hope to go see the postseason, so for him the thing he should be considering working on what he’s good at, and then get ready for a fruitful year of “being a Clarkson University student and also hockey player”.