Scouting the CHL – TheOilKnight.ca
 

Category: Scouting the CHL

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The 2019 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup is now in the books and the Russians backstopped by the 17 yr old phenom Yaroslav Askarov, are the tournament Champions after defeating Team Canada 3-2 in the finals. It is their first victory in this tournament since 1995. 

#1 Yaroslav Askarov of Russia, courtesy of tsn.ca

It was a short but exciting tournament that gave many draft enthusiasts an opportunity to see how far a lot of these kids have progressed over the summer. All the prospects with late 2001 birthdates were not eligible to participate, but it was still a good preview of many of the top ranked players in their draft class.

In terms of rankings, there is still much debate among pundits whether this tournament should even really matter in the grand scheme of things. Vasili Podkolzin & Philip Broberg proved last year it certainly matters to some GM’s and scouts as both ended up Top 10 overall NHL draft picks thanks to outstanding performances at this tourney. First impressions can be lasting ones. If nothing else, this tournament should be considered a good starting point in tracking a prospect’s progression throughout the course of their draft year. A measuring stick if you will, where you can identify strengths & weaknesses of a player skill-set wise, and track their progression or regression in those specific areas. Typically, these kids develop fast at this age & many experience an offensive spike during their league play. We’ve seen glimpses of that already with a few players in particular who looked primed to explode in their draft year. This tournament was a small sample sure, but could also be a preview of big things to come. 

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The Top Performers

courtesy of TSN.ca

Yaroslav Askarov – If there was any doubt who the best goalie in the world was for this upcoming draft, that has evaporated. Askarov was the tournament’s best player hands down after limiting a loaded Canadian squad offensively and leading his team to the Gold Medal. His combination of athleticism & positioning combined with his ability to track the puck and limit rebounds makes him very difficult to beat. If you consider what he did against a loaded U.S. team last year at the U18’s & now this tourney, Askarov seems like a virtual Top 10 lock regardless of what happens the rest of the way. He posted a .960 SV% in 4 games started.

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courtesy of TSN.ca

Cole Perfetti – The leading goal scorer and point getter of the tournament, Perfetti was simply outstanding for Team Canada. He had 3 multiple goal games including a shootout thriller where he scored 3 times. He displayed tremendous hands & a variety of highly skilled moves in tight. Terrific offensive instincts, excellent vision and poise. His speed also looked like it improved a step from last year. He was however, held off the stat sheet in the Gold Medal game where he was just unable to beat Askarov despite multiple chances.  

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courtesy of TSN.ca

Hendrix Lapierre – You could argue, no one helped improve their draft stock and overall ranking more after this tourney than Lapierre. Paired with Perfetti the entire tournament, Lapierre showed off his tremendous hockey IQ and terrific 200 foot game by creating several turnovers with his smart positioning and great anticipation. He made several beautiful passes to setup his teammates, and his speed and puck control also looked much improved since last season. A real force the entire tournament, his game looks so reminiscent of a young Jonathan Toews

 

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courtesy of utv.ru

Alexander Pashin – Despite being only listed as 5’8″, 154lbs, Pashin proved to be a beast for his Russian squad by scoring 7 goals in 5 games including the game winner in the Gold Medal game. In fact, his whole line was terrific all tournament. Pashin has tremendous speed as he blew by defenders routinely this whole tourney. He also showed off his quick hands and deceptive shot and release. Ranked 89th overall by Future Considerations going into last week, you’ve got to think his stock has shot up dramatically. An explosive player with a little bite to his game, Pashin was the biggest surprise at this year’s Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. 

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Other Promising Prospects

Since we are quickly becoming your #1 trusted source for all CHL prospects, we’d be reminisced to not talk about some other European players who stood out & will be playing next season in the OHL, WHL or QMJHL.

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Vasili Ponomaryov (F)

Having just committed to Shawinigan of the QMJHL, Russian sniper Vasili Ponomaryov had an excellent tournament playing on a line with Alexander Pashin & Pavel Tyutnev. He created a ton of chances and flashed an excellent 2 way game. He finished the tournament tied for 5th in scoring with 2 goals, 3 assists, 5 points. He should immediately contribute in a Top 6 offensive role and on the PP in for Shawinigan. 


Michal Gut (F)

One of the biggest surprises of this tournament, Michal Gut flashed tremendous skill and explosiveness. He showed off some sick mitts in the shootout and scored a variety of ways throughout the tournament. He finished the tourney with 3 goals & an assist to lead the Czech Republic. He will be playing for the Everett Silvertips of the WHL this upcoming season.  

 

Kasper Puutio (RD)

The 2nd leading scorer on Finland with 4 assists in 5 games, Kasper Puutio will be taking his talents to Swift Current of the WHL after being selected 1st overall the most recent Import draft. He is an excellent skater, has a big shot from the point and good leadership qualities. 


Keanu DeRungs (LW)

Tied for the team lead in points (2), Keanu Derungs flashed some high level skill with a highlight reel goal and a terrific setup for Switzerland. He’s a hard worker who shows excellent puck control and isn’t afraid to go hard to the net despite his light frame. He will be playing for Victoria of the WHL this upcoming season. 


Simon Knak (LW)

Though it didn’t show up on the scoresheet, Simon Knak was one of the most dangerous players for the Swiss team in this tournament. He forced several turnovers and created a lot of chances he just couldn’t find the back of the net so finished with a disappointing 1 assist. He has an excellent shot & release and can play in all situations. He should be a key contributor for the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL


Noah Delemont (D)

Noah Delemont is an excellent skater but can be classified as a “riverboat gambler.” He made some real questionable decisions and got caught in this tourney. But, the athletic skill-set is there he’ll just have to work on his decision making moving forward. Loves to join the rush. Very active stick. Should be entertaining to watch either way. He will be playing for Acadie-Bathurst of the QMJHL

 

Giancarlo Chanton (LD)

Giancarlo Chanton had a nice assist for Switzerland but was relatively quiet for the most part. He did struggle defensively quite a bit but has some nice tools. He will be playing for the Niagara Ice Dogs of the OHL this season. 

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Oleksii Myklukha

The talented Slovakian Oleksii Myklukha scored a couple of goals and left a lasting impression with his speed and playmaking ability. Also displayed excellent hockey sense and a strong 200 foot game. He’s actually not draft eligible till 2021 but recently committed to Rouyn-Nouranda of the QMJHL

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Other tournament notables:

Ivan Ivan (QMJHL – Cape Breton) – 1 goal in 4 games.

Ruben Rafkin (OHL – Windsor) – 1 assist in 3 games

Oliver Suni (OHL – Oshawa) – 3 assists in 3 games

Kirill Steklov (OHL – London) – 1 assist in 5 games

 

 

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By the OilKnight 06/17/20

The 2020 OHL draft class is is one of the deepest OHL groups in years. Want proof? Since 2012-13, there have only been THREE OHL prospects who had 25 goals or more in their Draft -1 year – Connor McDavid, Alex DeBrincat & Arthur Kaliyev. Last season alone, there were FIVE players that surpassed that mark in the OHL. There were also EIGHT players who registered at least 40 points on the season which is an uncommon feat. This group is deep and they’re of high quality. Here’s a list of the Top 30 OHL‘ers going into next year’s draft:

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#1. Quinton Byfield (C)

Byfield has the size/speed/skill combination that makes scouts drool. The pace he plays with at his size is rare. He has terrific speed, agility and edge work. Combine that with his excellent hands and he is a real threat to opposing d-men to defend. He also possesses a real hard wrist shot with a deadly release. His sees the entire ice extremely well and is capable of pinpoint passes. 52.1 FO% as a 16 yr old is exceptional. While he does a good job of shielding opponents & has some physicality in his game, Byfield still needs to put on some more mass & use his big frame more to his advantage. No reason to think that doesn’t happen as he continues to grow and develop. He is a legit candidate to go 1st overall in the 2020 Draft.

courtesy of ALLSPORT mixtapes via Youtube


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#2. Jamie Drysdale (RD)

Drysdale is such a tremendous skater with blazing speed & acceleration, it makes him dangerous at both ends of the ice. He moves the puck around so effortlessly. His vision & passing ability are elite. Defensively, he is very aggressive; consistently challenging the puck carrier with his explosiveness. He excels at breakouts & transitional play. Offensively, he can quarterback the attack and also possesses an excellent wrist shot from the point. Drysdale skates a lot like Quinn Hughes and has the ability to be better all-round than Bowen Byram. Potential franchise #1 defenceman.

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courtesy of HSD prospects via Youtube

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#3. Cole Perfetti (C/LW)

Perfetti has tremendous offensive instincts reminiscent of a young Steven Stamkos. His numbers as a 16 yr old (37G, 37A, 72 Pts) weren’t that far off from a 16 yr old Stammer (42G, 50A, 92 Pts) either. Perfetti is such a strong skater who sees the ice extremely well. He has a very good shot & a knack for scoring big goals. He’s so smart and has a fantastic work ethic, he forces a lot of turnovers as he’s very solid in all 3 zones. Perfetti isn’t the flashiest player but he might be the most complete in this group. Potential Top 10 pick next season.

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#4. Marco Rossi (C)

Rossi is one of the oldest prospects in the 2020 draft as he just missed being eligible for the 2019 draft by just eight days. Regardless, he is still an extremely talented playmaker, and a fabolous skater. He’s not a burner but is so smooth & agile it makes him incredibly shifty and tough to contain. His vision and offensive instincts are top-notch. He has a deadly shot & release and some highlight reel passes. Rossi is also a PP specialist – he led rookies in PP points with 20. He plays a pro style game already. Solid in all 3 zones. +51 as a rookie. Excellent faceoff center too – 54.2 FO%. Due to his size, & age compared to his peers he may slide just outside the Top 10 come draft day but shouldn’t fall much further.

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#5. Antonio Stranges (LW)

Stranges is the most talented London Knight since Mitch Marner. His combination of skating, agility & stickhandling is incredible. Stranges “2 and 10” skating ability is extremely rare. It confuses defenders & makes him completely unpredictable as he is capable of shooting or passing from it. His shot and release are electric, his backhand is the also best in his class and maybe several years. Stranges has this keen ability to make tape to tape passes look easy. He has incredible offensive instincts & shows good commitment to defense. There’s no question he has Top 5 skill in this draft. His teammate Connor McMichael exploded for 72 points in his draft year after registering 16 points as a rookie. If Stranges gets anything close to that this year, he should be a Top 10 lock.

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#6. Jacob Perreault (RW)

Perreault is the son of former NHL‘er Yanic Perreault. He is not a speedster but is a powerful skater with a big shot and a dynamite release. Terrific one-timer. He also possesses good playmaking ability. Looks like another one of the new age power forwards. Not afraid to muck it up in the corners or finish a check. Battles hard along the boards. Defensive game needs a bit of work in his draft year but the willingness is there. Tough, determined, power forward who can rip the puck. He’ll be an intriguing option in the Top half of the 1st round. If improves his overall speed & quickness he could climb quickly. Trending better than Arthur Kaliyev at this point.

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#7. Will Cuylle (LW)

Cuylle is viewed as a shooter and a goal scorer, but there is more to his game than just that. Yes, he led all OHL rookies in SOG with 187. Yes, he has an elite shot and release already. But, Cuylle also has tremendous puck skills, and terrific awareness on the ice. He can beat you with his speed & shot from the wing but if you’re not careful he can walk around you too. He also has an excellent work ethic and was easily their best and more dangerous player in their short playoff run. Another prototypical power forward who just needs to work on his 200 ft game to be a complete player. Will be a hot commodity come draft day.

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Cuylle hat trick game

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#8. Jean-Luc Foudy (C)

Foudy is the brother of former 1st round pick Liam Foudy of the London Knights. Like his brother, he has blazing speed & acceleration. Unlike his brother, Jean-Luc is more of a playmaker than a shooter. In fact, he led all OHL rookies in assists with 41 (only 9 goals). He has terrific vision and a real knack for drawing defenders away with his speed, then setting up open teammates. He’s a breakaway threat & has some nice stickhandling but needs to bury it more. Hands haven’t caught up yet. Faceoffs are an issue (37.7%), and Foudy definitely needs to get stronger as he can be pushed off the puck quite easily at times. But, there is enough here to warrant a 1st round pick. A playmaking speedster with upside if hands improve.

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#9. Jaromir Pytlik (RW)

Pytlik is a bit of a Youtube sensation that has grown up in the Hockey Talent Academy in the Czech Republic. He has been filmed as early as age 5, performing hockey skills training. Last season, he joined the Soo in the 2nd half of the season and had immediate success registering 19 points in 26 games. Pytlik is a tall, lanky prospect with a long stick and excellent skill. He does a good job of shielding the puck and going hard to the net. Great hands in tight. Has some flashy moves. Speed is very good, nice edgework. Very creative center with good vision and playmaking ability. 41.7 FO%. Late 2001 birthday could explode offensively next season.

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#10. Logan Morrison (C)

The nephew of former NHL‘er John Cullen, Morrison might be one of the smartest players in the 2020 draft. He has excellent skill and a tremendous work ethic. His vision on the ice is exceptional. He has good speed and is very patient with the puck. Smart decisions in all 3 zones. Morrison has deceptive speed & a sneaky good shot and release. He started his OHL career slowly, then caught fire in the 2nd half where he registered 28 points in the final 31 games. He’ll have to work on faceoffs (40.6%) if he’s going to remain at center, but there is a lot to like Morrison. Smart, heady, well-rounded with some leadership qualities. If he continues to grow physically, he could be a dominant #1C in the OHL. Not flashy at all but very solid.

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Other 2020 Draft Eligibles on the radar

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By Tyler Campbell 06/27/20

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Welcome to my first edition of my top ranked WHL prospects for the 2020 NHL draft! My buddy SPR was looking for someone to keep an eye on the WHL for him this season and so I’m going to be that guy!  And even though I’m saying WHL, I’ll also be keeping a close eye on the Tier II Junior leagues in Western Canada as well…
 
Not the sexy class of dub kids that we just saw with the 2019 draft class, but at this point, I wouldn’t call it a down year for the league either as 2018 was. There is a lot of talent in this class, but none of the kids have yet to really take the reins on their own teams.
 
A couple things before I get to the list. I didn’t do comparisons for the kids this time around as my comp’s tend to change drastically as the year goes on, I have more viewings, and simply more information in general. Also, even though this should go without saying, I look at this as if I were a GM.  So I’m projecting, and I’m considering not necessarily need but things I view as most valuable.  If you want to see who the best point producers are of these kids, the WHL has a quality website and others do as well to check out the stats.
 
With all that said, here is the list:

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#1.

courtesy of whl.ca

Kaiden Guhle is number one for me. I know he’s not for most, but at the moment I have a difficult time putting him behind anyone in the dub given his overall pedigree. Guhle was the number one pick in the 2017 WHL draft, captain of the U17 team, and a VERY complete defenceman. Obviously, he doesn’t have tremendous stats, but a lot of that was the team he played on this season.  Guhle had to take a backseat to many this season as the only regular on the Raiders blueline who wasn’t a ’99 born kid.  A phenomenal skater who is already very effective in his own zone and loves the throw his weight around. The big thing that everyone will be watching with him this season is whether or not the offence is going to come. His puck skills are a bit in question at this moment, but I’m personally willing to cut some slack to a kid who was in his situation this season. Had he been playing for most other teams in the league, he’d have seen a lot more quality minutes. Even without improving his puck skills however, he will be a very solid pick. However, if those do come around, the offence should follow. And if the offence comes, the scouting community is going to be gushing over him.

courtesy of Western Hockey League via Youtube

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#2.

courtesy of whl.ca

For me, Justin Sourdif was the only one in consideration for me with Guhle for top kid in the WHL. When you look at the numbers with Sourdif, keep in mind most of his damage was done either five on five or PK (20 goals, 20 assists). Really thin at the moment too, Sourdif has the framed to easily put on another 20lbs. The big thing for Sourdif will be continuing to improve his skating. Right now, he’s quick, but he’s not real fast. He’s not slow, but as you can read he is currently listed as 5’11 so if you’re drafting someone sub 6’0 then you hope to get a great skater. The stats indicate he isn’t much of a playmaker, but in my opinion, those numbers were hurt by having to play most of the season on the wing and playing a game the Giants needed. I see him as a natural centre and expect his assist totals to really shoot up this season, especially given much more PP time.e comes, the scouting community is going to be gushing over him.

courtesy of Western Hockey League via Youtube

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#3.

courtesy of whl.ca

Connor McClennon was drafted 2nd overall in the ’17 draft behind Guhle. Tough to judge playing on such a terrible team last season, it wouldn’t stun me with the Ice now being on much more solid footing as an organization if McClennon were to rocket up some scouting lists. The downside is that a lot of McClennon’s points were on the PP (3 goals, 8 assists). The upside is that 12 of his 15 assists were primary. He was also terrific at the U-17’s last year, putting up 8 goals and 11 points in 5 games.  I’d say that tournament gives you a much better indication of what McClennon is playing on a competent team. He’s a sniper.  He has a hell of a shot. Zero issue with getting his nose dirty and going to the tough area’s on the ice, and while his top speed isn’t elite, he’s an extremely quick player. McClennon is first in a group of three kids who I had a very difficult time separating.

courtesy of Western Hockey League via Youtube

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#4.

courtesy of whl.ca

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Seth Jarvis was just barely edged out by McClennon at #3, who got the nod for me mainly due to playing on such a terrible team and being the higher pick in the bantam draft. But Jarvis had a tick better PPG, much better five on five numbers, and even though both are small kids he has a bit more size. Jarvis is a very good skater, who goes hard to the net and has a high compete level. He appears to have a high hockey IQ.

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courtesy of Western Hockey League via Youtube

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#5.

courtesy of whl.ca

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Ozzy Wiesblatt is a little different of a prospect than Jarvis and McClennon in that he has a little more size as you can see, and he plays with a lot of edge. Good numbers in the regular season, and good numbers in the playoffs too with 5 goals and 5 assists in 23 games. It is so close with all three of these kids. Wiesblatt was the lowest drafted of the three and has the lowest PPG. You could also point to seeing some PP time and five on five minutes with some real good players.  But then on the other hand, he’s got better size than Jarvis are McClennon and not just that but he uses that size to play a more in your face and physical game.

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courtesy of Prince Albert Raiders via Youtube

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#6.

courtesy of whl.ca

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Just missing this past draft by 10 days, Connor Zary’s numbers stack up decent against a guy like Kirby Dach on a less talented team than the Blades were in Kamloops. Zary actually had three more points than Dach at five on five, only playing one more game. Obviously there is much more to this than the numbers, but that is one big positive for Zary. At this point in the process however I still need to compare his 2018 numbers to the other kids in this class, and that’s where he falls a little down these rankings as his 17 year old numbers are lower (29 points in 68 games). He does have good playmaking ability though & is a very nifty stickhandler. Showed well for Team Canada at the U18‘s. 

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courtesy of Western Hockey League via Youtube

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#7.

courtesy of whl.ca

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I like the size (obviously more so the thickness), and he’s has great hands, but Jake Neighbours best trait is his IQ. He is an extremely cerebral player. The big concern I have though is the skating. I’ll need to see some improvement in his top end speed next season, but if he does that he’ll start getting serious buzz come next season. Potential power forward with upside.

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courtesy of Western Hockey League via Youtube

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#8.

courtesy of whl.ca

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He’s 8th right now, but Ronan Seeley has the ability to jump all the way to tops on this list in the next 11 months. This kid has a lot of talent but was stuck in Everett as a bottom pair guy every night. Terrific skater, and though his puck skills aren’t as good as someone like Guhle in Prince Albert, it could just be a case of not getting to handle it much thanks to a lack of ice time. This one is much more about projecting than anything. Others would have guys like Braden Schneider or Daemon Hunt ahead of Seeley, but Seeley has a much higher ceiling than both.

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#9.

courtesy of whl.ca

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Ridly Greig is a talented prospect who just needs to add strength. He’s rail thin at the moment and because of this, he gets knocked off the puck relatively easy and isn’t generating the power in his stride that he needs to be a good-great skater. Yet he put up 35 points? 28 at even strength? 14 of the 21 assists were primary? Keep your eye on him.

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#10.

courtesy of whl.ca

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Similar to Guhle, Daemon Hunt was playing with a very good blueline this past season. Dissimilar to Guhle however, is that Hunt was getting a lot of minutes with Josh Brook and Jet Woo. That might have helped him out a lot defensively, but also maybe hurt his offensive production. Only one of those goals and two of those assists were on the PP, while Brook and Woo lit it up on their PP. Pretty good skater and very solid defensively.

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courtesy of Western Hockey League via Youtube

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OTHER DRAFT NOTABLES

courtesy of eliteprospects.com

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