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CHL Top Prospects Skills rosters announced

by Mike G. Morreale

CHL/NHL Top Prospects Skills participants

Fastest Skater

Team Orr: Lukas Sutter (Saskatoon Blades); Branden Troock (Seattle Thunderbirds); Francis Beauvillier (Rimouski Oceanic); Tomas Hyka (Gatineau Olympiques)
Team Cherry: Brett Kulak (Vancouver Giants); Damon Severson (Kelowna Rockets); Mike Winther (Prince Albert Raiders); Gemel Smith (Owen Sound Attack)

Hardest Shot

Team Orr: Matthew Finn (Guelph Storm); Chandler Stephenson (Regina Pats); Adam Pelech (Erie Otters); Dalton Thrower (Saskatoon Blades)
Team Cherry: Ryan Murray (Everett Silvertips); Nick Ebert (Windsor Spitfires); Coda Gordon (Swift Current Broncos); Mathew Dumba (Red Deer Rebels)

Shooting Accuracy

Team Orr: Mikhail Grigorenko (Quebec Remparts); Derrick Pouliot (Portland Winterhawks); Gianluca Curcuruto (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds); Griffin Reinhart (Edmonton Oil Kings)
Team Cherry: Dillon Fournier (Rouyn-Noranda Huskies); Tom Wilson (Plymouth Whalers); Scott Laughton (Oshawa Generals); Andrew Ryan (Halifax Mooseheads)

Showdown Breakaway Challenge
Team Orr: Scott Kosmachuk (Guelph Storm); Tanner Pearson (Barrie Colts); Andreas Athanasiou (London Knights); Radek Faksa (Kitchener Rangers); Colton Sissons (Kelowna Rockets); Raphael Bussieres (Baie-Comeau Drakkar)
Team Cherry: Tim Bozon (Kamloops Blazers); Martin Frk (Halifax Mooseheads); Daniil Zharkov (Belleville Bulls); Brendan Gaunce (Belleville Bulls); Dane Fox (Erie Otters); Dominik Volek (Regina Pats)
Team Orr: Francois Tremblay (Val d'Or Foreurs) and Chris Driedger (Calgary Hitmen)
Team Cherry: Matthew Murray (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) and Brandon Whitney (Victoriaville Tigres)
Source: Canadian Hockey League
KELOWNA, B.C. - Everett Silvertips captain Ryan Murray considers passing ability to be one of his strongest assets as a top-flight defenseman in the Western Hockey League.
During the 2012 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Skills Competition on Tuesday here at Prospera Place, he'll have an opportunity to showcase his shot, though. Murray, rated No. 3 among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting's midterm report, will be one of eight players taking part in the hardest-shot competition as the first of four shooters for Team Cherry.
Tuesday's skills competition, a prelude to the Top Prospects Game to be played Wednesday, is slated to begin at 10 p.m. ET.
The Canadian Hockey League's 40 prospects eligible for the 2012 NHL Draft have been divided into four different events including fastest skater, hardest shot, shooting accuracy, and a showdown breakaway event.
The best individual score in each event receives a goal for their team, with another goal awarded for the best team average from each event for a total of eight available goals. 
Following the four events, players will skate in a 3-on-3 game before fans and scouts in attendance. The contest will consist of two 15-minute periods, with all goals scored counting toward the overall competition score.
The 2011 skills competition winners included Buffalo Sabres prospect Daniel Catenacci in the fastest skater competition (14.017 seconds), Kelowna Rockets' Myles Bell in hardest shot (98.4 mph), Ottawa Senators prospect Matthew Puempel in the shooting accuracy (4 hits on 5 shots), and Detroit Red Wings prospect Tomas Jurco in the showdown breakaway challenge (earning 39 of a possible 40 points).
Last year's skills competition was certainly highlighted by Jurco's amazing lacrosse-style scoop with his stick from between the circles,  followed by some twisting and twirling of the puck before his wicked backhand off a spin-o-rama found the back of the cage, earning an event-high 39 points for Team Cherry.
Edmonton Oilers rookie forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had posted the highest score (37) in the opening round of the event prior to Jurco's crowd-pleaser. Nugent-Hopkins skated down the middle of the ice while maintaining control of the puck with a left-footed toe drag. At the last second, he did a 180 turn, kicked the puck to his backhand and deposited his shot.
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
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