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- With a $5 M cap hit, Sergei Gonchar is one of the most expensive d-men in franchise history. The only ones higher are P.K. Subban ($9 M), Andrei Markov ($5.75 M), Mathieu Schneider ($5.75 M), and Roman Hamrlik ($5.5 M).
January's prospect 3-Stars highlights the strong 2012 draft as most players selected last June were able to continue their strong seasons, two of which did so at the World Juniors. Also, despite their horrific month of December, there were a few Hamilton Bulldogs that were able to have decent months and stand out amongst the crowd.
1st Star: Nathan Beaulieu
The proverbial lightbulb seems to have turned on for the rookie defenceman. After struggling through the first month and a half of the season, his offensive game (and his confidence) took significant strides forward in December. His decision making still needs to improve but overall he is a better blueliner now than he was back in October.
Stats: 14 GP, 2 goals, 8 assists, 10 points, -4 rating, 34 SOG, 16 PIMS
2nd Star: Brendan Gallagher
Teams have really started to key on him defensively in recent weeks but despite that, he continues to be one of (if not the only) the few somewhat consistent producers in a Hamilton lineup bereft of any sort of offensive ability. Should the lockout end in the coming days, he is one of the few players who would merit a tryout with the big club.
Stats: 14 GP, 3 goals, 5 assists, 8 points, +4 rating, 45 SOG, 15 PIMS
3rd Star: Gabriel Dumont
Although his statline was the best of the month, half of his points came in one game (see highlights below). Dumont has been up-and-down for the most part, a trend that continued into December. However, he has played with more confidence in recent weeks and is demonstrating he can be more than a tertiary scorer for the Bulldogs.
Stats: 14 GP, 6 goals, 4 assists, 10 points, +5 rating, 28 SOG, 17 PIMS
Honourable Mention: Stefan Chaput
Chaput had a knack of finding his way onto the scoresheet more often than not in December and for a team that struggles to score most nights, a player like that is certainly good to have around. Since his recall, he has quickly worked his way up Sylvain Lefebvre's depth chart and is now entrenched in a top-six role.
Stats: 14 GP, 2 goals, 6 assists, 8 points, -2 rating, 19 SOG, 6 PIMS
1st Star: Alex Galchenyuk
How do you follow up a month where you averaged over two points per game? Simple, score at an even higher rate (2.4 PPG with Sarnia). He was the hottest player in the OHL before leaving to play for Team USA at the World Juniors. Despite seeing surprisingly low ice time (around the 14 minute per game range), Galchenyuk was their top point-getter through the preliminary round.
Stats: Sarnia (OHL): 7 GP, 11 goals, 6 assists, 17 points, +10 rating,
Team USA (WJC): 4 GP, 2 goals, 5 assists, 7 points, +2 rating, 10 SOG, 2 PIMS
2nd Star: Tim Bozon
Bozon slumped in November after a terrific start to the season but he picked his game up considerably last month, coinciding with the departure of JC Lipon to Team Canada at the WJC's. He re-established himself as one of the premier goal scorers in the WHL and has played a large part in keeping the Blazers near the top of the standings.
Stats: 11 GP, 8 goals, 7 assists, 15 points, +5 rating, 16 PIMS
3rd Star: Sebastian Collberg
Despite playing on three different teams in December, Collberg didn't see a whole lot of game action. He was, however, productive wherever he played, most recently at the World Juniors. Unfortunately, expect the scoring totals to drop considerably in January as he is back with Frolunda, the team that barely played him earlier this season.
Stats: Orebro (Allsvenskan): 3 GP, 2 goals, 1 assist, 3 points, 0 PIMS
Mariestad BoIS (Div. 1): 1 GP, 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points, +4 rating, 0 PIMS
Team Sweden (WJC): 4 GP, 3 goals, 2 assists, 5 points, even rating, 7 SOG, 4 PIMS
Honourable Mention: Danny Kristo
Although Kristo didn't see a lot of action, he made the most of things when he played. His month parlayed him into the top-10 in points-per-game in the NCAA (across all Division 1 teams). He remains one of the go-to players for North Dakota and is a fixture on their top line (often playing alongside fellow Hab prospect Mark MacMillan).
Stats: North Dakota (WCHA): 5 GP, 3 goals, 4 assists, 7 points, 6 PIMS