Sat. Dec 4th, 2021



If you don’t follow Junior hockey or support your local CHL team then I’m here to tell you – you are missing out. I’ve been following it for the better part of 20 years at least and have watched many of the greatest players in the NHL – as 16 & 17 yr olds grow and develop their games in Junior and it has been an absolute pleasure to do so. Why wait till these guys get to the NHL? Why not go out and support your local team and get to watch them as young talented kids for a measly $20 or so? Even if your team isn’t very good you could still get an opportunity to watch some elite players from the opposition who may one day make their mark in the Pros. 

Junior hockey has been a staple in our country in what seems like forever and is the backbone for the National Hockey League. Just look at the NHL rosters and look at how many players started their careers out in the small cities scattered all over Canada: Crosby, McDavid, Stamkos, Tavares, Benn, MacKinnon, Draisaitl, Hall, Giroux, Doughty, Price, Fleury etc…. all played in the CHL. The level of competition is just as intense in Junior with many heated rivalries and the Memorial Cup is a wonderful tournament where we get to see the country’s best versus the best. With the addition of the CHL Import Draft in 1992, the Canadian Hockey League is not only made up of Canadians and Americans but some of the most talented young International players as well making it truly the best Junior developmental leagues in the world.  

I was having a conversation the other day with someone who was trying to tell me who Evan Bouchard was and what the scouts were saying about him. What this person failed to realize is this wasn’t my first viewing of Evan, in fact it was probably my 150th or so and I had been unofficially scouting him throughout the year already. That certainly doesn’t automatically make me an expert but it does at least give me the luxury of delivering an informed opinion if nothing else. That’s the beauty of following Junior hockey so closely.

If you’re a hockey fan like myself who is becoming increasingly interested in Prospects and the draft in general I highly recommend you attend a local Junior game or two and take in hockey in it’s purest form. Not only does it help the local community it also gives you the pleasure of viewing a lot of these kids before other people do. Watching these kids grow and develop as they try to catch the eye of their future employers is a sight to behold and captures the essence of hockey in this nation. The reality is, many of this kids will never get drafted let alone make it to the pros but the heart, passion & determination they play with makes it a real treat to watch. Junior Hockey is fantastic and best of all it is very inexpensive to do so. It doesn’t have to be just the CHL either. There are many amateur leagues for all ages throughout Canada that help capture the moment of kids just playing for the love of the game. If you’re already all-in for your favourite NHL team I suggest leaving a bit of room for a local Junior team too if you can – if nothing else it gives you a fallback hockey option if and when your Pro team falters.  🙂

With that being said, here is a breakdown of the Edmonton Oilers and how many of their players played in the CHL. Listed is the point totals they accrued in their draft years and who they played for. 


                          Ontario Hockey League

Aaron Bell / OHL images

’14 -’15 Connor McDavid (Erie) 47 GP – 44 G, 76A, 120 Pts 

’10 -’11 Ryan Strome (Niagara) 65 GP – 33 G, 73A, 103 Pts

12 -’13 Zack Kassian (Peterborough) 61 GP – 24 G, 39A, 63 Pts

’10 -’11 Tobias Rieder (Kitchener) 65 GP – 23 G, 26A, 49 Pts

’12 -’13 Darnell Nurse (The Soo) 68 GP – 12 G, 29A, 41 Pts

’17 -’18 Evan Bouchard (London) 67 GP – 25 G, 62A, 87 Pts

’17 -’18 Ryan McLeod (Mississauga) 68 GP – 26 G, 44A, 70 Pts

’16 -’17 Kirill Maksimov (Niagara) 66 GP – 21 G, 17A, 38 Pts

’16 -’17 Dmitri Samorukov (Guelph) 67 GP – 4 G, 16A, 20 Pts



                           Western Hockey League


’10 – ’11 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Red Deer) 69 GP – 31G, 75A, 106 Pts 

’13 – ’14 Leon Draisaitl (Prince Albert) 64 GP – 38G, 67A, 105 Pts

’10 – ’11 Ty Rattie (Portland) 67 GP – 28G, 51A, 79 Pts

’04 – ’05 Kris Russell (Medicine Hat) 72 GP – 26G, 35A, 61 Pts

’02 – ’03 Kyle Brodziak (Moose Jaw) 72 GP – 32G, 30A, 62 Pts

’05 – ’06 Milan Lucic (Vancouver) 62 GP – 9G, 10A, 19 Pts

’16 – ’17 Kailer Yamamoto (Spokane) 65 GP – 42G, 57A, 99 Pts 

’14 – ’15 Ethan Bear (Seattle) 69 GP – 13G, 25A, 38 Pts

’15 – ’16 Tyler Benson (Vancouver) 30 GP – 9G, 19A, 28 Pts     

                  British Columbia Hockey League

11 – ’12 Jujhar Khaira (Prince George) 54 GP – 29G, 50A, 79 Pts


                    Alberta Junior Hockey League

’11 – ’12 Matthew Benning (Spruce Grove) 44 GP – 4G, 14A, 18 Pts





Players who joined CHL after being drafted:

’04-’05 Andrej Sekera (Owen Sound – OHL

’15-’16 Caleb Jones (Portland – WHL

’13-’14 Jujhar Khaira (Everett – WHL

’17-’18 Ostap Safin (Saint John – QMJHL)




So that’s my pitch on why you should watch & follow Junior hockey. You get to see young and future Oilers years before they even make it to the Pros……Did I sway you at all? 🙂



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