Weyburn Red Wings (G)
His playing career has steadily moved him east, and south, but Jack Burgart appears to have settled in nicely in Weyburn.
Having played his minor hockey in Fort St. James, B.C., including a pair of seasons of midget hockey in his hometown, the 19-year-old Burgart began his travels with a stop in Merrit of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League before landing in Princeton, B.C., for a season in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.
From there the 6-foot-4, 205-pound netminder headed to Weyburn where as an 18-year-old he spent most of the season as a back-up to rookie sensation Rylan Parenteau. Although he did get into 19 games last year it is this season where he has broken through and is a big reason why the Red Wings are challenging for first place in the Viterra Division.
While his numbers in the two previous seasons were decent – 2.71 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in 29 games with Princeton and 3.25 GAA and .900 save percentage last year in Weyburn – this year they are spectacular.
In 28 games with the Red Wings this season Burgart has a 2.38 GAA and .930 save percentage and he shares the league lead in shutouts with four. He has also made an astonishing 873 saves which is third-best behind just Evan Weniniger of Kindersley and Joe O’Brien of Nipawin.
Every night Burgart gives the Red Wings a chance to win and after watching Parenteau get Weyburn to within a single point of qualifying for the post-season last year, he is on pace to take the club the next step and get them into the playoffs for the first time in three years.
With one more year of eligibility the Red Wings certainly have a nice cornerstone in place as the club continues to turn things around and get back to the upper echelon of the league.
Humboldt Broncos (C)
He is small in stature, but he certainly brings a lot of different aspects to the Humboldt Broncos’ line-up.
Austin Duzan is just 5-foot-7 and weighs in at 160 pounds and while he is a bit smallish, he does play a big-man game.
All through his career, whether it is in junior or Midget AAA, Duzan has not shied away from getting his nose dirty. In 33 games with Humboldt this season the 19-year-old Saskatoon product has 22 minutes in penalties and last season with the Broncos he had 30 minutes in 39 games. With the Battlefords Stars of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League, Duzan accumulated 129 penalty minutes in 80 regular-season games.
Duzan rounds out his game by also being able to put the puck in the net.
The sophomore centre has already surpassed his rookie totals having notched six goals and seven assists while last year Duzan netted seven markers and set up three others. In his final year of Midget AAA in the Battlefords, Duzan tallied 19 goals and collected 16 assists which more than tripled his output as a 16-year-old when he had four goals and seven assists in 38 games with the Stars.
Duzan saw 10 games of action at the Midget AAA level as a 15-year-old, but he only garnered one assist in that span while playing with the Saskatoon Contacts. Prior to that he was one of the top bantam players in the province often considered for provincial squads with Saskatchewan’s elite at that age group.
Duzan’s continued improvement should help the Broncos make a push for the playoffs and with one more year of junior eligibility will undoubtedly be someone the club looks to for leadership and production next year.
Humboldt Broncos, D
Connor Swystun, a smooth skating second year defenseman, has taken a big step forward offensively as an 18-year-old. A highly-touthed rookie last year, Swystun wasn't out of place at 17, playing in 50 games, but didn't figure prominently at the offensive end, putting up one assist. However he ramped that up in the playoffs with a goal and three assists in 10 games, and has picked up where he left off in the regular season with 12 points (3g-9a) at the midway point.
Notre Dame Hounds, F
In his third and final SJHL season, Bakersfield, California product Cory Anderson is on pace for career highs. Through 26 games played this year, Anderson had 10 goals, more than half way to last year's total of 17, while his 18 points are just five shy of what he put up all year a season ago. The durable forward suited up in 97 games over his first two seasons in the league, and he's fresh off his first multi-goal game of the season, scoring twice in a 5-4 shootout win in Estevan on December 2nd.
Nipawin Hawks, F
At roughly the halfway point of the SJHL season, the Nipawin Hawks' leader in goals is 20-year-old Carter Coben. The 6'3" winger out of Saskatoon didn't hit double digit in goals in either of his first two campaigns with the Hawks, but is on pace for 25 in his final run. Coben's 12 goals in 25 games has him 7th in the entire league in that category. The Hawks have displayed plenty of depth this season, and will need that to continue as they fight it out in the competitive Sherwood Division.