December 19, 2008
By Aaron Bell
Jared Cowen has already played in some pretty big games, so don’t expect the hulking defenceman from the Spokane Chiefs to get too nervous about suiting up in the Home Hardware CHL-NHL Top Prospects Game in Oshawa on January 14.
Cowen helped the Spokane Chiefs win the 2008 MasterCard Memorial Cup last May in Kitchener and then suited up for Canada’s Under-18 effort, helping his country win the gold medal at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial last August.
Cowen, who also represented the Western Hockey League in the ADT Canada-Russia Challenge, is the WHL’s top rated prospect for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
Cowen, who participated in Canada’s final World Junior Selection Camp last week in Ottawa, is an imposing figure, standing six-foot-five and 218 pounds but he also comes with some offensive flair.
“Cowen has an offensive upside to him as well as size,” said NHL Central Scouting Director E.J. McGuire. “I really think the combination of them both is why right now, in mid-November, why he (Cowen) is a notch ahead of Evander Kane.”
Kane, the Vancouver Giants’ sniper, was rated second in the WHL in the preliminary rankings.
The 18-year-old from Vancouver has already reached his scoring totals from a year ago and sits fourth in league scoring with 22 goals and 48 points in 28 games. He also missed some time last week from the Giants while participating in Canada’s final World Junior camp in Ottawa.
Kane is the top goal scorer for the Giants, who trail only the Calgary Hitmen in the WHL standings this season. He played a handful of games with the Giants during their WHL championship season two years ago and suited up in the Memorial Cup in Moncton, NB.
Kane is the top offensive prospect in the WHL so far this season and said that he feels the pressure to score in every game.
“My job here is to produce offensively and I think the team and the coaches know that is what I have to do,” Kane told Hockeysfuture.com. “I also put the additional pressure on myself to do that every night. Again, I like to have a big role on any team and I think it’s going to be a challenge as we move into the rest for the season.”
Brayden Schenn is looking to follow in older brother Luke’s footsteps as a first round NHL draft pick this year. Luke was tabbed with the fifth overall pick by the Toronto Maple leafs last June and the Kelowna Rockets’ graduate has spent the entire season in the NHL.
Brayden, a centre with the Brandon Wheat Kings, is a solid two-way player and is touted as one of the most well-rounded forward prospects in the draft this year.
Schenn has 15 goals and 37 points and is a plus-10 in 32 games with the Wheat Kings. The Saskatoon native missed a pair of games last week while skating in Canada’s selection camp.
Schenn enjoyed a tremendous rookie season in Brandon last year, piling up 28 goals and 71 points in 66 games.
Schenn’s teammate Scott Glennie has also received a lot of attention from NHL scouts this season. The Winnipeg native is the Wheat Kings’ top scorer this season with 19 goals and 42 points in 34 games and was rated fourth among WHL prospects in the preliminary list.
Saskatoon Blades’ blueliner Stefan Elliott is also enjoying a good offensive season with 13 goals and 34 points in 36 games this season and is rated fifth among WHL prospects. The North Vancouver native has already surpassed his rookie scoring totals from last season and is second in scoring among WHL defencemen.
The scouting community is looking forward to watching the top 40 draft eligible CHL players compete in the Top Prospects Game again this year.
“The Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game is one of the premiere annual events for National Hockey League scouts to attend,” McGuire said. “This is always a highly anticipated showcase that provides us with a unique opportunity to see the top NHL Draft eligible players in Canadian Major Junior Hockey play together. This is a game that NHL scouting staffs expect to be competitive and full of intensity and each year the players do not disappoint us.”