>A Promising Future for Weber, Mercier, Zatkoff
>Over at Hockey’s Future, they have released the 2008 Columbus Blue Jackets’ “System Audit,” as it’s called. RedHawk freshman defenseman Will Weber headlines the group of young Blue Jacket…”future” defenseman (and Goodness, don’t they need it right now.)
In the amateur ranks, the Jackets have a number of defensive prospects who may develop into NHL-caliber talents with more seasoning in either the NCAA, junior North American leagues or across the ocean. Headlining this group is 2007 second-round pick Will Weber, a lanky two-way rearguard still growing into his oversized 6’4 frame. While still several years removed from an NHL audition, Weber may well have the most talent below the NHL level among the organization’s defensive prospects. He’ll get a chance to further refine his game just a few hours down the road from Nationwide at developing collegiate powerhouse Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
I’m looking forward to seeing more of Weber…offensively and defensively. In my opinion, he hasn’t shown much in this early season, but he definitely has the size and the ability to adapt to the college level and play “his game.” As a Blue Jackets fan, I’m very excited to watch him develop.
Also, Justin Mercier receives a mention among the Colorado Avalanche prospects:
Mercier, a sixth-round pick in the 2005 draft, plays a game that may adapt easily to the pros. He always competes hard on the forecheck and backcheck and is effective with the puck down low. He broke out last season with Miami University with 25 goals in 42 games and has four points in six games to date this season.
And finally, Jeff Zatkoff gets some love from the LA Kings:
Two other goaltenders that will be battling Bernier for the starting duties in Los Angeles every step of the way are Jeff Zatkoff and Jonathan Quick. Zatkoff, who is in his first professional season, does not have the athleticism of Bernier or Quick, but is a fundamentally sound goaltender. He might be the perfect fit as the back-up to Bernier in five years if he does not beat out Bernier as the starter or can be used in a trade to fill gaps in other areas. Which ever of the three that finds himself as the starter in net for Los Angeles will have earned it with the level of competition that there is in the system. The others may find solace in the arms of another organization.