(March 1, 2006) -- Justin Pogge has been named the top player in the Canadian Hockey League by a 19-member panel commissioned by Prospects Hockey magazine.
The 19-year-old from Penticton, B.C., is enjoying a stellar season, highlighted by his 5-0 shutout win over Russia in the gold medal game at the 2006 World Junior Hockey Championship in Vancouver. Pogge currently leads the WHL in GAA, shutouts and save percentage, and is second in wins. He was a third-round (90th overall) selection of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.
"In a tournament full of pleasant Canadian surprises, Justin Pogge was probably the biggest one in Vancouver," said Prospects Hockey managing editor, Peter Robinson. "But, if anything, Pogge's play for Calgary in the WHL has probably been even better. Right now he is clearly the most dominant player in the Canadian Hockey League."
Defenceman Marc Staal of the Sudbury Wolves was voted No. 2, with fellow Team Canada rearguard Luc Bourdon of the Moncton Wildcats at No. 3. Owen Sound Attack forward Bobby Ryan and Medicine Hat Tigers defenceman Cam Barker, also a Team Canada member, rounded out the top 5 at Nos. 4 and 5, respectively.
This year's rankings are the third edition. Former Red Deer Rebels defenceman Dion Phaneuf, now in his rookie season with the Calgary Flames, was voted the No. 1 player in both previous polls. Current Pittsburgh Penguins rookie and former Rimouski Oceanic star Sidney Crosby was No. 2 on both occasions.
A panel of 19 junior hockey media from across Canada picked the top five players from across the CHL's 58 teams, and the next 10 from each of the CHL's three member leagues (OHL, QMJHL and WHL). The magazine is available in CHL arenas this weekend and on newsstands across Canada next week.