This week’s prospects include Lane Zablocki (Red Deer Rebels), Ben Jones (Niagara IceDogs) & Matteo Pietroniro (Baie-Comeau Drakkar).
Lane Zablocki, RW, Red Deer Rebels, WHL
Weight: 184 lbs.
Born: December 27, 1998 - Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada
Draft: 2013 WHL Draft – Round #5 (109th overall) by the Prince George Cougars
Lane Zablocki is one of those character players every team likes to have. He can play top line duty or fourth line minutes depending on how the team is doing. Mixes skill with toughness and is not afraid to get his nose dirty. He has trouble staying consistent but has surpassed the 25-goal mark and will finish with 100+ penalty minutes. Likes to park himself in front of the net and dig for rebounds and wreak havoc for opposing defencemen. Has a quick release when he shoots but is also a playmaker who likes to look for his streaking linemates down the ice. Has good speed for his size but could spend more time battling in the corners to be more effective along the wall.
DID YOU KNOW? Originally drafted by Prince George, Zablocki never played a game for the Cougars and was traded to the Regina Pats prior to the 2015-16 season for Boston Bruins prospect Jesse Gabrielle. Zabloci was traded again to Red Deer in a 2017 trade deadline blockbuster with Regina which featured Anaheim Ducks prospect Josh Mahura headed to the Pats.
Ben Jones, C, Niagara IceDogs, OHL
Weight: 187 lbs.
Born: February 26, 1999 – Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Draft: 2015 OHL Draft – Round #1 (7th overall) by the Niagara IceDogs
Ben Jones is a productive forward who makes the most of his time wearing out defenders in the offensive zone. Jones is a balanced skater who has mobility in all four directions. He has quick, agile hands in tight and can stickhandle in and out of traffic. Has a unique skill set and likes to showcase his offensive ability to deepen the offensive attack and may try to do too much by himself at times. Plays the role of agitator and likes to get under the skin of opponents. A two-way centre who has good success in the face-off circle and as a former defenceman, he understands the importance of helping out in your own end. Likes to compete hard in the dirty areas and continues to build his strength to be effective below the goal line.
DID YOU KNOW? Jones is a competitor who has seen his point totals soar to 50+ after only scoring five goals and nine points his rookie season on an extremely deep Niagara team that went all the way to the OHL Finals, coming up short to the London Knights.
Matteo Pietroniro, D, Baie-Comeau Drakkar, QMJHL
Weight: 178 lbs.
Born: October 20, 1998 – Boise, Idaho, United States
Draft: 2014 QMJHL Draft – Round #4 (66th overall) by Blainville-Boisbriand Armada
Matteo Pietroniro is a real gritty, heart and soul type of player who has quickly taken on a leadership role and plays an offensive role from the blue line. Developing a good shot and has worked on his quickness and foot speed. Will get his nose dirty in the corners and clears the front of his net. Has a strong first pass on the breakout and will sacrifice his body blocking shots. Has a mean streak and has been known to drop the gloves. Comes from a background of family playing in the QMJHL and older brother Chad recently graduating after 71 games with Val D'Or, Baie- Comeau and Sherbrooke.
DID YOU KNOW? Pietroniro grew up in Boise, Idaho and around the age of five moved to Arizona but only started playing hockey at a high level when he relocated to Val D’or when he was 14 and was drafted by Blainville-Boisbriand in the 2014 QMJHL Draft. His Father was born in Montreal and Pietroniro and his three brothers are dual citizens and have all either played Major Junior or will in the future.
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