Nashville Predators Rookie Camp begins on September 10th, so to help you get ready we'll walk our way through the prospects, from youngest to oldest.
Joel Champagne, Center - #73
Born: January 24, 1990 From: LaSalle, Que.
Height: 6-4 Weight: 214 Shoots: Left
2010-2011 Team: Quebec (QMJHL)
Stats: 64 GP, 24G + 58A = 82 Pts, 47 PIM
Drafted: 5th round (129) in 2008 by Toronto, never signed.
Follow after the jump for some background!
Champagne is known to use his size to his advantage in the corners and at the net. A good two-way player, Joel is very good on the draw and has raw offensive skills that combined with his skating must improve for him to find success at the professional level.
And this, from Pension Plan Puppets (he participated in rookie camps with Toronto previously):
Worth noting here is that Joel Champagne at 20 years old is 6'4" and 220lbs. He's a center who's excellent in the dot and seems like a good candidate to be a third line energy guy.
Maybe as a prospect he was lazy defensively, maybe as a prospect Champagne didn't hit enough; these things are irrelevant. Brian Burke has said he wants some big kids to play his style of game and passing on Joel Champagne while handing a contract to Brayden "Playdough ankles" Irwin (to quote mf37) seems like a terrible move.
Arbitrary nickname we'll give him even though he'd probably hate it
"Bubbles" - yeah, it's pretty obvious, but it nicely runs counter to his image as a big, physical forward.
Check out some QMJHL playoff action, in which Champagne scores the first goal by driving aggressively to the front of the net and burying the centering pass...
What's at stake
While 82 points in 65 games is nice, we have to remember that he achieved those marks as an older player, after years of producing at about half that level. Destined for Milwaukee currently (he signed an AHL contract in May), Champagne will have to show that he's ready to take a step up and compete against bigger and better opposition.