A potential double rookie of the year win for Schultz, top 30 prospects and unique promotional nights

Justin Schultz has a chance at some unique hockey history this season. (Steve Potter/Wikimedia Commons)

Justin Schultz has a chance at some unique hockey history this season. (Steve Potter/Wikimedia Commons)

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Justin Schultz has been having a phenomenal season in his first year as a pro. He put up 18-30-48 in just 34 games in the American League before the NHL lockout ended and has five points in five games, tied for second among NHL rookies with Montreal’s Alex Galchenyuk. He has been so good, he could make history as the first player in hockey history to win rookie of the year honors in two different leagues in the same season. Despite being called up, he is still second in the AHL in points, only to teammate Jordan Eberle, and has a 12-point lead on Jason Zucker of the Houston Aeros and Michael Sgarbossa of the Lake Erie Monsters.

He has been a dominant performer on the professional level, outpacing the numbers he put up in three years at the University of Wisconsin. Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun has more:

Schultz almost certainly will win the top defenceman scoring honours in the AHL. Adam Clendening of the Rockford Icehogs is next, with four goals and 25 points four games past the halfway mark of the season.

Schultz has already made himself an early contender for the Calder in the NHL as a point-per-game player out of the gate in his NHL career.

But the remarkable aspect is that he’s a defenceman averaging 23:18 — more minutes than anybody else on his team and a full five minutes more than any other NHL rookie.

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TSN‘s Bob McKenzie will unveil his top 30 draft prospects tonight during a 30-minute special hosted by James Duthie. The special will feature an interview with defenseman Seth Jones of the Western League’s Portland Winterhawks and a feature on left wing Jonathan Drouin of the Quebec Major Junior League’s Halifax Mooseheads.

The information for the special comes from surveying scouts, something McKenzie cleared up on Twitter yesterday as he wants to let everyone know this isn’t his own personal list of the best prospects despite the title of the show being “Bob McKenzie’s NHL Draft Prospect Rankings.”

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Teams in every league in every sport hold special nights each year with certain gimmicks used to draw in fans and the further you go down the ranks into the minors, the crazier those nights become.

The Las Vegas Wranglers of the East Coast League will hold their fourth “Over 18 Night” on February 4 while wearing specialty jerseys to make them appear topless. The night will also include mild adult humor and uncensored movie clips, but no word on whether they will feature exotic dancers once again. There have been plenty of other unique promotional nights in the past with more coming up this season as well. From the Wranglers’ website:

In previous seasons the Wranglers have presented Dick Cheney Hunting Vest Night, Rod Blagojevich Prison Uniform Night, and Rapture Night: The Last Hockey Game on Earth. The Wranglers have also played at least one game at midnight since its inception in 2003, and hosted such performers as Mini Kiss and Tony Clifton at games.

Additional promotional dates in 2013 include a concert by legendary alt-country singer/songwriter Todd Snider on Feb. 1, the second annual Wranglers Midnight Circus on Feb. 17 and the third annual Regrettable Tattoo Night on March 23.

You wouldn’t expect anything less in Vegas, but they are not the only ECHL team with a unique promotion coming up. The Kalamazoo Wings will have a Toby Keith impersonator tonight for “Salute to Red Solo Cup Night,” honoring the popular song by the country star as well as Mardi Gras night on February 2.

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Promotional nights aren’t always just for fun and entertainment, they can also be used to raise money for charity. “Pink in the Rink” nights have become popular ways to raise money for breast cancer and the Ontario League’s Niagara IceDogs held theirs on January 26 against the Saginaw Spirit. Their wore specialty jerseys to commemorate the event, all of which will be auctioned off to benefit the Canadian Cancer Society.

The auction will take place online at niagaraicedogsauction.com.


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