Several former Worcester hockey pros near the top of their leagues at the Christmas break

As we’ve reached the Christmas break for pro hockey it’s time to take our first look at how some current and former Worcester pro players are doing in the 2021-2022 season. For the North American pro leagues, any player in their league’s top-20 gets a mention. For the European leagues we’ve changed it to include any player in the top ten as opposed to just the top five. Goaltenders are listed only if they meet their league’s qualifying minimums.

All of the stats and rankings are as of December 25th.

As the AHL’s Worcester Sharks move further back into hockey history it isn’t a surprise that fewer and fewer players end up being listed as ranking in the top-20 NHL in any stat, but the drop-off was a lot steeper than some fans guessed it will be. While there’s a handful of names in the top-50, currently only two have top-20 stats.

San Jose’s Tomas Hertl, who is likely to eventually be the last former Worcester pro skater to make the NHL section, has 14 goals, which ties for 13th. Perennial list maker Joe Pavelski‘s six power play goals for Dallas ties him for sixth in the NHL.

Perhaps the most shocking fact of the posting is only one player makes the list in the AHL, and that’s goaltender Jakub Skarek. His seven wins for Bridgeport tie him for 15th in the AHL. In the long run that doesn’t say much about the quality of player the Worcester Railers has had over the years as almost no other former Worcester pro is in the top-50 in anything in the AHL.

The same holds true in the ECHL, with only one current and two former Worcester players making the posting. Ken Appleby ranks in the 17th spot with a .916 save percentage for the Railers and former Railers goaltender Evan Buitenhuis‘s nine wins for Wichita ties him for fifth and his .919 save percentage ties got 14th. Short-time WorSharks forward Spencer Asuchak has two shorthanded goals for Allen, tying him for fourth in the ECHL.

In the SPHL Griff Jeszka, who plays for Pensacola but just signed a contract with the ECHL’s Indy Fuel, is tied for sixth in the Southern League with 12 goals and tied for 19th with 19 points. Knoxville’s Jimmy Poreda, who’s currently manning the pipes for the Railers, leads the SPHL with a 1.75 goals-against average and .939 save percentage. His nine wins are tied for third.

Looking over to the European leagues, Mike Connolly tied for eighth in the DEL with 32 points, and Rylan Schwartz has two top tens in DEL2 with his 16 goals tying for sixth and his 31 points tying for eighth. In the Elite Ice Hockey League in the UK, Brodie Reid leads the league with 15 goals and is in third with 23 points.

Brennan Feasey, who the Railers just re-sgned, hits the list three times in the BeNe League, the highest level league in Belgium and the Netherlands, with his 22 goals leading the lower-level European league and his 48 points ting for best. His 26 assists rank second.

Two former Worcester pros make the listing for the Slovakia league, with James Livingston and Willie Raskob both tying for tenth with 17 assists. Livingston’s 24 points also tie for tenth.

And in the KHL, Europe’s highest level league, Harri Sateri is in sixth place at 1.97 goals against and his .928 save percentage ranks fifth.

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