As hockey starved fans in Ottawa look for good news during the seemingly endless lockout, they need look no further than the performance of one of the organization's top prospects tearing up the Canadian Hockey League.
Matt Puempel, drafted in the first round, 24th overall by the Ottawa Senators, is off to a blistering start with the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL and turning heads across the Ontario Hockey League.
Puempel scored twice over the weekend, notching both goals in a 2-1 win over the Oshawa Generals. The two goals bring his season total to 16, making him the leading scorer for the Rangers and 3rd overall in goals in the entire OHL.
Puempel, and another Sens first round draft pick in Cody Ceci are both expected to be in the mix for a spot with the Canadian Junior team next month. Obviously both guys will be in tough as Team Canada will be loaded with NHL quality talent if the lockout continues to drag on.
In an organization with incredible prospect depth, Puempel is often forgotten by Senators fans. When the Sens grabbed the Ontario native, he was considered to be one of the best pure goal scorers in that draft.
Through 20 games with the Rangers this season, you can see exactly why scouts and in particular the Ottawa Senators were so high on him. He has a fantastic release and great offensive sense that make him a threat to score every time he's on the ice.
The Kitchener Rangers are one of the best teams in the entire OHL and Puempel's strong start has a lot to do with that.
- Another Sens prospect, Jakub Culek, was finally traded over the weekend, going from the Rimouski Oceanic to the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. Culek was caught up in a numbers game in Rimouski and should finally get a chance to play in Cape Breton.
- It was a good weekend for Jakub Silfverberg in the AHL, as he picked up a couple points bringing his season total to six. The organization knew there was going to be an adjustment period with some of the young Swedes in the AHL. Here's hoping Saturday's strong showing was a sign of things to come for Silfverberg. Bingo's next game comes on Friday night when they host the Phantoms.