I went to the Gamblers home opener last night, where they played the Omaha Lancers. Here are some players that left an impression on me. 5th overall in 2004.....Blake Wheeler: The Gamblers got womped 6-1. But Blake Wheeler played a very good game. In fact he made things happen every time he was out there and really showed off some sick moves. Wheeler showed a great motor, this guy is always moving always trying to make things happen, appears to be in great condition. He's a force on the ice in many ways, even without registering a point he was dangerous on the ice. He created two turn overs that his teamates never converted on with a strong forecheck....He likes to really push threw on the forecheck and well make a hit. Although I was disapointed that he didn't use his size more. He's alot bigger then most players on the ice and didn't show any mean streak in his game. Not a powerforward. He played very calm, poised with the puck, and has some great moves, he gets the break out pass and can skate the puck all the way into the opponets zone and often times takes it all the way to the net and creates scoring chances... Although he lacks playmaking and vision IMO and needs to learn how to move the puck as he struggled on the powerplay and wasted some oppertunities....Excelent first step and with his long reach really makes things happen and creates turn overs. Could really work on agility in close mobility. Smaller forwardgave him fits down low ! I see what the Coyotes like, and he could be an amazing player, but he's got alot of devolopment a head....still alot is there. Great Raw package. 0 points, 6 shots. Defenseman Garret Suter: They have him listed at 6-1 200 pounds and he used his frame well. Defensively he likes to hit, he's a very competitive guy. He has good closing speed, with good agility, good mobility, but top speed wise, he's kind of slow. He makes great outlet decisions and really gets the puck out of the zone fast and correctly. He has solid hands with a good accurate shot, that has average power behind it. Likes to jump in offensively but mainly a defensively forward. He has his brothers mean streak, a nasty player to play against in his own zone. Likes to use his stick alot and is quite chippy. Overall alot more impressive this year then he was last year with the Madison Capitals. Suter has really shown some progress and has alot to look for. Had a beutifull assist and 6 PIM's. Defenseman Brett Motherwell: Was on the ice every time the Lancers made things happened it seemed. One of the smartest players I've seen play at this level. Really made some great plays in both zones. He's not a big guy but plays with an edge in his own zone, but this guy has alot of skill. Great on the PK, must have had 3 blocked shots on beutifull chances for the Gamblers. Overall left me very impressed. QB'd the powerplay and really controlled the play. His skating is also very very solid and this guy has a chance to be one of the top USHL selections in the upcoming draft. I can't waite to see more of him. Can't say it enough, this guy is a hockey player and is one of the smartest players i've seen at this level. Really just knows the game. Very impressive in all three zones. Skill level is high. Finished the game with 2 assist, plus 2, 2 PIM. Forward Brock Bradford: Little question that this guy was the best player on the ice, Finished with a goal and 3 assist. Really haven't been this excited about a scoring talent in the USHL since Thomas Vanek. Now I know he doesn't have the size, he doesn't know how to play defense, but this guy has some of the best hands i've seen and really can motor. Really can be explosive at times, top end speed isn't elilte but his acceleration appears to be, had some very impressive moves. Excelent poise and playmaking ability. I read an interview of his before the game and he said he likes Joe Sakic, he has a little bit of Joe in him. He has great hands, Didn't make any really flashy moves but was just so hard to stop when the puck was on his stick and man can he shoot. I zoned in on him in warm ups and he made some incredible shots, he also made a great play on his goal and got robbed once. Great accuracy on his shot. He also has excelent vision and makes very good plays with the puck. Dominating on the powerplay. Simply put if the puck is on this guys stick, things happen, but he has a lot to work on away from the puck. Can't stress it enough how good he was on the powerplay, and when given time he really took control of the game. Although his play in traffic wasn't great. Suter manhandled him and slowly he became a premiter player but still made things happen. Should be taken no later then mid 2nd round in 05. Then there were two defenseman who I never heard of but that made an impression on me. Omaha has a kid name Nick Krates, he has good size, and didnt see many minutes, but he really made the most out of them by playing with some aggression and was just extremely solid in his own zone, and even made a nice play on the rush. Gamblers have a kid name Randy King, who also has some size, he seems to be very smart on the ice, didn't turn the puck over, and has some good skating ability and made a nice move behind his own net when two forwards were coming hard.