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Broken leg ends season for Barrie's Pearson

Sunday, 03.18.2012 / 9:35 PM / 2012 NHL Draft

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

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Broken leg ends season for Barrie's Pearson
Barrie Colts forward Tanner Pearson had fashioned one of the more surprising seasons in junior hockey, but that's come to an end due to a broken leg

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MID-TERM RANKINGS
Barrie Colts forward and top 2012 NHL Draft prospect Tanner Pearson likely will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a broken right fibula in the Colts' regular-season finale Sunday against Brampton.
 
Pearson, No. 22 on NHL Central Scouting's mid-term ranking of North American skaters, suffered the injury with less than 10 minutes left in the third period of the game.

According to the Barrie Examiner, Pearson was injured with less than 10 minutes left in the game. He was in front of the Brampton net when he was checked by a Brampton player. Pearson lost his balance and landed awkwardly on his right skate, which was caught underneath him.
 
Pearson was expected to be a big part of the Colts' playoff push, which will start next week against the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors.

"We feel really bad for the kid because this is his NHL draft here and he’s put himself on to that scene in a big way," Barrie General Manager Jason Ford told the Barrie Examiner. "There's a lot of scouts coming out just to watch him. It's one of those things where if he really elevated himself and had a great playoff maybe he works himself into the first round, but who knows. Maybe he still goes in the first round. You just don't know.

"You feel bad for the kid because he’s had such a great year. He's come a long way and I think he's one of the most competitive kids in the league. He was salivating, licking his chops for the playoffs here."
 
Undrafted through the previous two NHL drafts, the 19-year-old Pearson has emerged as one of junior hockey's biggest surprises this season, ranking third in the Ontario Hockey League with 89 points, and leading the Colts in goals (36), assists (53) and points. He also had a goal and 5 assists for Canada at the 2012 World Junior Championship, and took part in the 2012 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.
 
Pearson credited Barrie teammate Mark Scheifele, a 2011 first-round pick of the Winnipeg Jets, for motivating him to maximize his talent this season.
 
"I've been seeing buddies of mine like (Scheifele) and other people I play summer hockey with, a lot of people I played hockey with growing up, getting drafted into the NHL," Pearson told NHL.com. "I didn't want my hockey career to be over. I wanted to do everything I could this summer to help me get noticed. I believe I had a good summer of training. It's showing on the ice and its helping me."
 
He said being coached in Barrie by Hockey Hall of Famer Dale Hawerchuk also helped.
 
"It's tremendous," said Pearson. "He's one of the best players to play the game. There's a reason why he's in the Hall of Fame. To have him behind the bench and telling us what we need to do out there is good because you know he's been through it all already.
 
"He said he knew I could do it and I had to believe in myself that I could do it. This year is paying off for me. I'm believing in myself and what I'm doing out there and it's working."
 
The scouts certainly have noticed.
 
"When the season started, he came out and was effective right from the start, Central Scouting's Chris Edwards told NHL.com. "When you get a guy like Dale Hawerchuk coaching you and you know how skilled he was, Dale is going to have a lot to do with his development. But having said that, you have to have the skill. You can't really teach skill. … He's elevated his game to a point where we're talking about him in the first round."
 
Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

 
2012 NHL Draft