"Hello. My name is Jori Lehtera, and I could be the best Blues' prospect that you will never see..."
The Peoria Rivermen have caught fire, winning three straight this week. Rookie pros Sebastian Wännström and Paul Karpowich achieve career firsts. Jori Lehtera has a big game for Sibir Novosibirsk. All this and more in Game Time's "Prospect Sunday."
By Brian Weidler, "Game Time" Prospect Department
PROSPECT TRANSACTIONS THIS WEEK
11-17-12: RW Cam Reid signed to a PTO (pro tryout) contract by Peoria (AHL) from Cincinnati (ECHL).
PROSPECT INJURY REPORT
10-27-12: RW Mackenzie Maceachern (Chicago/USHL) out indefinitely with concussion symptoms.
PROSPECTS ACHIEVE "FIRSTS" THIS WEEK
Several Blues' prospects posted career "firsts" this week, and others posted "firsts" for the season.
Forward Sebastian Wännström (STL 3/44, 2010) picked up his first North American pro point this week, an assist, during Peoria's 3-2 OT win at home over the arch-rival Chicago Wolves on Friday, Nov. 16. The next night, in Chicago, Wännström scored his first pro goal at 8:33 of the first period to get the Rivs on the board and propel them to a 3-2 win.
Goaltender Paul Karpowich (STL 7/185, 2008) also posted a career first against his team's chief in-state rival. On Saturday, Nov. 17, Karpowich threw up a 23-save shutout as his Evansville IceMen won their third straight ECHL game by a 5-0 tally over the Fort Wayne Komets.
Prospect goalie Jordan Binnington (STL 3/188, 2011) also pitched a shutout on Saturday, his first of the 2012-13 season and the third of his OHL career, turning aside all 35 shots he faced as Owen Sound blanked Kitchener 4-0. The shutout places Binnington third in the OHL in wins with 12, and his goals-against average (2.30, 4th) and save percentage (92.9, 2nd) are also near the top of the OHL's goalie leaderboard.
Finally, center prospect Phil McRae (STL 2/33, 2008) snapped out of his offensive funk this week. The legacy prospect snapped a season-opening 10-game scoring drought with an assist last Saturday, Nov. 10, in a 5-3 home loss to Grand Rapids, and tallied his first goal of the year four days later in Peoria's 5-4 win at Rockford. McRae then struck for two goals, including the game-winner, in Peoria's 3-2 OT win over Chicago on Friday, Nov. 16.
LEHTERA LIGHTS IT UP
The jury may still be out on whether or not Jori Lehtera (STL 3/65, 2008) will ever cross the pond for keeps and have success in the NHL... but there's no denying that the Finnish import is an elite-level player as far as the KHL is concerned.
The 6' 1, 200-pound forward stayed near the top of the KHL's points and assists leaderboards with a two-goal, three-point performance in Sibir Novosibirsk's 3-2 win (LINK to official KHL game report) over Amur Khabarovsk on Saturday, Nov. 17. Lehtera's 8-18-26 scoring line in 25 games puts him in a three-way tie for fifth place in the Russian league's scoring race.
LINK to feature and video at the official KHL website.
FEATURES THIS WEEK
The Peoria Rivermen seem to have righted the ship with three straight wins. Allen and McRae have awakened from their slumber, and newcomers are contributing too. Oh, by the way, Evansville has also won their last three. Details and discussion at 2:00 PM Central.
It's "Goaltenders Week" in the Blues' organization, as four of the five spots on this week's "Trending Up" list go to the men wearing the big pads. Which skater gets the last spot in the Fab Five? Find out with details and discussion at 3:00 PM Central.