Your junior hockey round-up is back and full of news, notes and opinions for those of you that love to delve into the world of junior hockey. In this week’s edition, we take a look at the latest NHL emergency call-up, a coaching milestone and the lack of talk surrounding draft-eligible prospect – James Hardie.
With that here’s a look at some of the top headlines in junior hockey.
Blue and Foudy Show in Columbus
London Knights’ forward and Columbus Blue Jackets’ prospect Liam Foudy was recalled on an emergency basis to the Blue Jackets not once, but twice over the past week. Foudy made his NHL debut on Feb. 10 against the Tampa Bay Lightning and finished with two shots in 10:23 of ice-time.
After re-joining his OHL club and playing the following night, Foudy returned to the Blue Jackets on another emergency call-up basis and played again for the team on Feb. 13 against the Buffalo Sabres. This time, he earned himself just over 18 minutes of ice-time and had an assist and a plus-one rating to go along with it – his first NHL point.
Once again, Foudy was returned to the OHL Knights and will play for his junior club when they hit the ice next. Foudy has 21 goals and 47 points in 34 games for the Knights this season. He sits fifth on the team in points.
Sutter’s Coaching Milestone
Speaking of milestones, Red Deer Rebels’ head coach Brent Sutter reached one of his own on Wednesday. Sutter became just the ninth coach in WHL history to coach 1,000 games and the 19th in CHL history to reach the mark.
“Every year is different but obviously those first few years, I remember when I bought the team in 1999 I got crucified for saying we’d win a Memorial Cup within three years, and we won it in the second year,” said Sutter in a release by the CHL. “Obviously those next years after were pretty good rides. We haven’t been able to get back to that but we just have to continue to push and move forward.”
Sutter also celebrated his 500th career win just under a year ago and holds an all-time record of 518-371-111 over his junior coaching career.
Burzan’s 100th Goal
Sticking with the WHL, Colorado Avalanche prospect and Brandon Wheat Kings’ forward Luka Burzan tallied his 100th WHL goal on Friday against the Saskatoon Blades. Burzan has played games in five separate WHL seasons, but didn’t really take off on the offensive side of the puck until his move to Brandon during the 2017-18 season.
Since then, he had a 40-goal season in his first full year with the Wheat Kings and he’s on pace for another 35-goal season this year as a member of their leadership team. As a 20-year-old, Burzan has 31 goals and 55 points in 53 games for the Wheat Kings this season.
He was a sixth-round pick, 171st overall, for the Avalanche in 2019.
Durocher Hits 300 Games
Heading over to the QMJHL, Saint John Sea Dogs’ forward Jeff Durocher played in his 300th career QMJHL game. Originally a member of the Gatineau Olympiques, Durocher had a stop in Rimouski before joining the Sea Dogs in 2019-20.
Over that span – a QMJHL career spanning five seasons – Durocher has tallied 65 goals and 161 points in 302 career games. At 21, this will be his final year in the QMJHL before he heads to Concordia University.
A Franchise Mark in Baie-Comeau
The milestones continued to pour in this week as the Baie-Comeau Drakkar’s franchise hit 700 wins in franchise history with an overtime win against the Voltigeurs. They’ve had 12 seasons with 30 wins since coming into the league in 1997 and have had the best record in the QMJHL on two occasions – 2003 and 2014.
Some of the more noteworthy players to have suited up for the Drakkar include Marc-Andre Bergeron and Patrick Thoresen, while Yanick Lehoux holds the franchise’s all-time record for points with 382 career points in 266 games for the Drakkar.
Coaching Change in Shawinigan
On Monday, the Shawinigan Cataractes announced that Gordie Dwyer and Darren Rumble would be joining the team’s coaching staff as head coach and assistant coach, respectively. Dwyer replaces former bench boss Daniel Renaud, while Rumble takes over for Adrien Plavsic.
Both Dwyer and Rumble have impressive resumes which include both regular season and playoff success, including Dwyer leading the PEI Rocket/Charlottetown Islanders franchise to its first playoff series victory in 11 years.
Hardie: Underrated or Not?
Is it possible that James Hardie is having one of the quietest draft years in recent history? Not many are talking about the 18-year-old winger for the Mississauga Steelheads as he is quickly approaching June’s NHL Draft.
But Hardie has shown some great offensive prowess ahead of the big day. He has 32 goals and 56 points in 51 games for the Steelheads so far this season. He’s currently second on the team in scoring behind Cole Schwindt (63 points) and he has as many goals and fellow prospect Marco Rossi and is one shy of potential first-round pick Cole Perfetti.
While he’s not a lock to go first round, Hardie could become a potential steal if he drops far enough in the upcoming NHL Draft.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.