Columbus Blue Jackets Prospects Report: February 28
18 years old, 6-2, 190 pounds (Kladno, Czech Republic)
Columbus' 1st pick, 7th overall, 2007 NHL Entry Draft
After a sizzling start to the 2007-08 campaign, Voracek has actually improved his point production as his Halifax Mooseheads (38-20-0-5, with 250 goals for, second in the Q) progress through the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season. The talented Czech playmaker has taken over the league scoring race, racking up 31 goals and 64 assists for 95 points in just 47 games played, for an average of two points per outing. His standout performances have earned the Kladno native offensive player of the month honors in both October and January. Voracek has shown an ability to strap the team on his back when necessary, as he did in a recent 4-1 over the Chicoutimi Saugeens in mid February. He scored twice and set up the two other goals, helping the Mooseheads snap a three-game losing streak.
Stefan Legein RW
19 years old, 5-10, 185 pounds (Oakville, Ontario)
Columbus' 2nd pick, 37th overall in 2007 NHL Entry Draft
Legein remains on the shelf for the Niagara IceDogs, still recovering from a shoulder injury suffered in Team Canada's gold-medal game win over Sweden in the World Junior Hockey Championships. Before departing for the Czech Republic in December, he was enjoying a great season with the IceDogs, scoring 17 goals and adding 10 assists in 23 games, and playing with an edge the entire time. He did get a chance to take a close up look at the Jackets when they traveled to the Air Canada Centre to face the Toronto Maple Leafs. Legein watched from the press box and suggested to media that he would be returning to the ice soon.
Jesse Dudas D
19 years old, 6-1, 228 pounds (St. Albert, Alberta)
Columbus' 8th pick, 159th overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft
Dudas has performed well for the Western Hockey League's Swift Current Broncos following a recent trade from the Prince George Cougars. The physical defenseman had two goals and 19 assists in 29 games with the Cougars. But in his 15 games with the Broncos, Dudas has two goals and nine assists with a solid +8 rating. Injuries have been a concern as he doesn't mind throwing his body around. He was forced to sit out a game this past week with a knee injury, though he has been listed as just day-to-day.
Jake Hansen RW
18 years old, 6-1, 182 pounds (St. Paul, Minnesota)
Columbus' 4th pick, 68th overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft
In a recent interview with CBJ.com, Hansen suggested that he's learned plenty about being responsible in his own end in this his first full season of USHL hockey, thanks in large part to Sioux Falls Stampede head coach/GM Kevin Hartzell. But the high school senior has had no difficulty whatsoever filling the net, something he's done with regularity. Hansen, who scored again in a 2-0 win over the Des Moines Buccaneers earlier this week, has 26 goals (second in the league) and 21 assists for 47 points in 46 games. Eight of his goals have come on the power play and the young Minnesota phenom also leads all USHL players with five game winners. His +14 rating suggests that he is indeed paying as much attention to helping keep the puck out of his own net as he does on scoring in the offensive end. Hansen will be attending the University of Minnesota as a freshman this upcoming fall.
Will Weber D
19 years old, 6-4, 205 pounds (Traverse City, Michigan)
Columbus' 3rd pick, 53th overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft
Weber had been playing well on the blueline for the USHL's Chicago Steel until he was forced out of action with an injury to his left wrist. Already out about a week, Weber is expected to return to action in approximately two to three more weeks. Prior to the injury, he had strung together a few good outings. He picked up two assists with three shots on goal in his most recent game, a 4-3 OT Steel loss to Sioux City on February 16. In the three games prior to that, he had an assist and a combined +5 rating as Chicago won two and lost one. On the season, Weber has seven goals, 10 assists, a +14 rating and 129 PIMs.
Matt Marquardt LW
20 years old, 6-3, 229 pounds (North Bay, Ontario)
Columbus' 10th pick, 194th overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft
Marquardt hit the 40-goal mark this week when he tallied twice in Baie-Comeau Drakkar's 8-3 thumping of Shawnigian. The North Bay native has been on fire for the Drakkar since coming over in a trade from the Moncton Wildcats earlier this season. His 40 goals rank him third overall in the high-scoring QMJHL, behind only Francis Pare (48) and Dean Ouellet (41). Fourteen of Marquardt's goals have come on the man advantage and he's also added 24 assists for an average of better than a point per game. The massive winger has also shown that he's not afraid to dish out some punishment – he had 133 hits through 61 games this season, good enough for 10th overall in the Q in that department.