Team Orr Ready for puck-drop in Halifax

Written for the CHL by Steven Perko of

The Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game brings together elite players from the CHL each season, and this year’s Team Orr is no exception.

Here is a quick preview of the two teams and some head-to-head matchups to watch see as the game unfolds:

Team Orr

This season former NHL player and Stanley Cup champion Mike McPhee will be coaching the home Team Orr.  Doug MacLean, a former NHL head coach and general manager, along with Mooseheads’ coach Dominique Ducharme will join Team Orr as assistant coaches.

Some NHL stars who have put on the Team Orr jersey include Brendan Morrow, Simon Gagne, Vincent Lecavalier, Eric Staal and Jordan Staal.

One of the goalies between the pipes will be Spencer Martin of the Mississauga Steelheads.  Martin won 11 of his first 13 games, including a stretch where he went unbeaten in nine straight appearances while posting a 2.19 goals against average and .941 save percentage.  Sixth ranked netminder Philippe Desrosiers of the Rimouski Oceanic will also tend the net after being a late replacement for Eric Comrie of Tri-City.

Up front Team Orr will be led by players like Max Domi of the London Knights, who opened the 2012/13 season on an 11-game point streak and he’s already surpassed last year’s goals and points totals.   He is among the OHL leaders in points, plus/minus and first goals.  A rookie on the Orr roster is Oliver Bjorkstrand of the Portland Winterhawks, who leads all WHL rookies in scoring while averaging almost a point per game.  His five game-winning goals is tied for fifth in the league and he sits second in plus/minus among first year players.  Bjorkstrand is one of three Winterhawks on the team along with fellow forward Nicolas Petan.  One of the players to watch from the QMJHL is Adam Erne, who leads the Remparts in scoring and is among the QMJHL leaders in power play assists (15).  He’s won 59% of his face-offs this season (92/156).  Erne will also be joined up front by Quebec teammates Anthony Duclair and Swedish silver medalist Nick Sorensen.

Leading the back-end for Team Orr is another Portland Winterhawk Seth Jones, who was just named NHL Central Scouting’s number one ranked player among North American Skaters shortly after winning gold with the United States at the World Junior Championship.  Jones has recorded a 9-game point streak and eight multi-point games this season, impressive for a defenceman.  He leads all WHL rookies in plus/minus.

Chris Bigras of the Owen Sound Attack will be facing his teammate Zach Nastasiuk in this game.  This marks the first time that both players will compete head-to-head after growing up and playing minor hockey together in Barrie, ON.  This also marks the fifth consecutive year that an Attack player is participating in the game. 

Catch Team Orr take on Team Cherry in the 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game Wednesday January 16 at 7PM Eastern on Sportsnet and the NHL Network U.S.

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