Discussion in 'NHL Draft - Prospects' started by Nick Blue, Oct 4, 2003.
What kind of player did the Blues pick up in the waiver draft? Thanks in advance.
Jeff Heerema was an original first round draft selection who was taken as a very speedy winger with lots of goal scoring touch. He put up terrible numbers in the IHL with the Cincinnati Cyclones before that league went under. After the IHL folded, Jeff had his breakout season with the Lowell Lockmonsters of the AHL at the age of twenty-one and posted 33 goals and 34 assists if I remember correctly. Despite that year, management wanted to keep him down to play another year to see if that season was an fluke. Jeff went back down to Lowell and was well on his way to putting up the same, if not better, numbers when the huge rash of injuries befell the Hurricanes pro club. Jeff was called up without hesitation and really looked like he belonged. He scored a few huge goals for Carolina and then suffered a broken wrist on a fluke play in the corner. He's never been injury prone, but that one probably cost him his place on the roster for this season. With the emergence of Ryan Bayda, Tomas Kurka, and Mike Zigomanis, Carolina simply didn't have room for an NHL ready player cloging up the pipes. It was more of a move to free up salary for signing Eric Staal, which is why i'm not more upset than I am.
He has blazing speed and puts it to good use. He's not overly physical, but he doesn't have to be. He handles the puck very well in traffic and will take a pop in front of the net if thats what it takes to get the goal. During his IHL days, he had the reputation as a floater, but that label was relinquished through hard work and intense practice. He reminds me of a young Nelson Emerson type player. I think that right this minute, he is a 3rd line winger who will contribute 10-15 goals. If he develops quick enough, he could very well become more. St. Louis would be best served to have him play with the big club this year because he's already accomplished quite a bit on the AHL level.