Scouting the WHL – TheOilKnight.ca
 

Category: Scouting the WHL

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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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To comment please do so via Twitter, @TheOilKnight

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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To comment please do so via Twitter @Tj_soups or @TheOilKnight

 

This is the second installment of a 3 part series where I will breakdown every single draft eligible player in the CHL & rate the possibility of the Edmonton Oilers drafting them. I feel like by doing this it gives even the average fan an opportunity to learn more about Draft prospects without having to do the legwork of searching for them all online. It is important to note, that while I am not a Professional Scout I do take this very seriously and have a system I have found that works well over the years. For more information on exactly what I look for please check out my Scouting page.

(Also, if you haven’t read my PART 1 – The OHL you can also do so here.)

When it comes to the WHL I am not able to go to any games live so I rely on information from a lot of different sources, watch as much video as I can on each player and in many cases watch the games online. Once I release all the rankings and my takes on certain players I plan on continuing to follow up and will be paying close attention to the games come playoff time while making any adjustments I notice in my updated reports. It is far from perfect but it does enable me to at least get eyes on just about every prospect and I apply the same system I use to evaluate all prospects for all leagues across the board. The key is consistency.

For years the WHL has routinely put out some of the best and brightest young stars……last year they had 7 players go in the 1st round of the NHL draft. 2016 saw 4 WHL prospects go in the Top 30. This year however, I’ve got only 2 players from the WHL listed in my Top 31 and both are defencemen –Ty Smith and Jett Woo. A far cry from the OHL which has Svechnikov, Bouchard, Merkley, Akil Thomas, Barrett Hayton and Noel etc… or the QMJHL which has Zadina, Veleno, Dobson, MacIsaac, Groulx all projected to possibly be taken in the 1st round. It’s certainly not a favourable year for Forwards in the WHL that’s for sure although there are a few I do like for the Oilers which we’ll touch on soon.

For now though, since they are the class of their league amongst this year’s draft eligibles let’s start with…..

 

The DEFENCEMEN

OVR Rank Shoots Defencemen Size Weight GP G A P
FC 7 L Ty Smith 5’10 174 69 14 59 73
FC 23 R Jett Woo 6’0 205 44 9 16 25
FC 38 L Calen Addison 5’10 179 68 11 54 65
FC 41 R Alexander Alexeyev 6’3 190 45 7 30 37
NCS 52 L Filip Kral 6’0 168 54 9 26 35
NCS 79 R Vladislav Yeryomenko 6’0 176 63 13 28 41
NCS 100 L Yegor Zamula 6’3 170 69 2 16 18
NCS 107 L John Ludvig 6’1 187 51 2 5 7
NCS 110 R Libor Zabransky 6’1 187 72 2 17 19
NCS 142 R Artyom Minulin 6’3 196 64 13 30 43
NCS 156 L Dawson Barteaux 6’1 170 64 3 29 32
NCS 179 R Wyatte Wylie 6’0 182 72 6 25 31
NCS 181 L Chase Hartje 5’11 185 58 3 22 25
NCS 184 L Wyatt McLeod  6’2 183 49 2 6 8
NCS 188 R Reece Harsch 6’3 196 53 10 15 25
NCS 190 R Alex Kannok-Leipert 5’11 194 60 5 16 21
NCS 203 L Jacob Herauf 5’11 190 70 2 16 18
NCS 208 L Dylan Plouffe 6’0 185 60 9 31 40
NCS 214 R Montana Onyebuchi 6’2 209 62 4 11 15
NR L Ethan Cap 6’2 202 72 5 7 12
NR L Matt Leduc 6’5 216 51 1 4 5

The first column is a general ranking based on where I think they should be rated roughly. Not every player is ranked by every system so I tried to list the most appropriate. I used a variety of resources: ISS (International Scouting Services), FC (Future Considerations), NCS (NHL Central Scouting) and my own rankings to determine where they could be drafted. The rankings will likely change by end of the year but this is a good measuring stick for now. I used hockeydb.com for the measureables and the player links all direct to eliteprospects.com.

 

Players I like for the Oilers:

Ty Smith  (Top 15 overall) –  LHD. Smith is a smart, fast, puck moving defenceman with great offensive instincts & leadership qualities. That makes him an extremely coveted player. He can Quarterback a Powerplay by using his low, hard, accurate shot that seems to get through more often than not and has tremendous passing and vision to set up his teammates. Defensively, despite a smaller frame he holds his own. He seems to make good reads & is physical when he needs to be. Like most 18 yr olds he could use more consistency and needs to get stronger but compared to his peers he appears to excel. Great at skating the puck right out his zone and is capable of those long stretch passes. He would be a dream pick for the Oilers at #7 if he were a Right shot D. Even so, he appears to be a great fit for Edmonton I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he does ended up being their guy come draft day.

A lot of people ask me since I get to see Evan Bouchard on a nightly basis who I would rather take – he or Ty Smith. The answer is – it depends. Both are offensively gifted players but Smith is more dynamic than Bouchard. Both do a great job of getting their shot thru from the point but Smith is more dangerous sneaking in front the point for a backdoor feed. Both are excellent skaters Bouchard’s stride is so smooth and effortless but Smith has the better agility and Top end speed. Both are great leaders and both should be very solid NHLers but I see Smith as a better fit for the Oilers despite Bouchard being RH.

Jett Woo  (Late 1st rd/early 2nd rd pick)RHD. Easily the best name in this draft, Woo is complete player in my opinion capable of contributing offensively but also rock solid defensively. He’s a wonderful skater who has great speed and agility but his edgework is what really stands out when you watch him. Can deliver bone crunching hits as he’s built like a tank. Seems highly competitive, has a great work ethic and makes good decisions all over the ice. I have to admit I REALLY like this player. I watched him earlier in the year thought he was good, watched a couple times recently and thought he was great. Smart, skilled, fast, aggressive, puck mover. If Oilers could snag him early 2nd it would be a steal but might have to trade back into the 1st to get him.

Calen Addison (2nd/3rd rd pick)RHD. Has some real nice traits offensively. He sees the ice really well, head is always up makes some unreal passes and reads. First time I ever watched him I immediately thought he reminded me of Brian Rafalski. He is a bit undersized and doesn’t appear to have a big shot but is smart, poised & is always in great position. Excellent puck mover. Woo is more dynamic and well rounded for me not to mention has better size and is better defensively but Addison appears to project more offence at the next level. Be a nice late 2nd early 3rd rd pick but I don’t think I’d take him any earlier than that considering who else might be on the board.

Dylan Plouffe (Late Round pick) – Plouffe is intriguing to me as he appears to be an excellent skater and has good size. Watching a couple Vancouver games recently he definitely stood out to me on the back end. He has a nice one-timer and good wrister from the point. He seemed to have good vision and poise. Defensively, he wasn’t a stalwart but I thought he did a good job of tying up his man, getting his stick in lanes, making good reads & excelled at zone exits. To be honest, I’m not sure why he’s ranked so low. I know the knock on him last year was his decision making. It will be draft +1 for him but if it was the questionable decision making that prevented him from getting drafted last year and that has improved dramatically this year maybe a 7th rd flier would be worth it as he has some nice traits especially skating.

Maybe’s for Oilers…

The rest are pretty much maybe’s for me at this point. I haven’t seen enough of Alexeyev or Kral to make a decision one way or another yet. Minulin and Yeryoyenko are intriguing but are both 19 yr old European imports. The rest of the list are pretty average don’t see a lot of upside there.

Reece Harsch stood out for me earlier in the year especially defensively he might be another guy to keep an eye on once he gets back from injury. He is also 19 though so he may go undrafted.

 

THE CENTERS

OVR Rank Shoots CENTERS Size Weight GP G A P
FC 49 L Cole Fonstad 5’10 161 72 21 52 73
FC 57 L Milos Roman 5’11 187 39 10 22 32
NCS 64 R Kyle Topping 5’11 185 66 22 43 65
FC 68 L Luka Burzan 6’0 185 72 15 25 40
FC 80 R Kristian Reichel 6’0 168 63 34 23 57
FC 85 L Eric Florchuk 6’1 163 71 16 33 49
NCS 88 L Riley Stotts 6’0 174 69 19 25 44
NCS 97 L Ryan Peckford 6’0 183 73 20 29 49
NCS 125 L Justin Almeida 5’10 163 72 43 55 98
NCS 166 R Brett Kemp 5’11 174 69 17 19 36
NCS 169 L Bradley Ginnell 6’1 170 61 8 11 19
NCS 200 L Carson Focht 6’0 154 69 13 20 33
NR R Caiden Daley 6’0 161 69 7 12 19
NR R Ilijah Colina 5’9 170 66 11 20 31
NR L Jake Gricius 6’3 183 69 13 11 24
NR L Tristen Nielsen 5’10 181 49 19 16 35
NR R Eli Zummack 5’9 165 58 15 26 41
NR R Michael Farren 5’10 168 62 11 11 22
NR L Tyler Popowich 6’4 201 64 8 6 14
NR L Josh Tarzwell 6’1 198 69 10 17 27
NR L Elijah Brown 5’9 150 43 8 15 23

Plenty of options here throughout the draft. There are several 19 yr olds in this list to keep in mind and one prospect who will be 20 come draft time – Kristian Reichel. That matters because normally you would expect older players to have more success over 17 & 18 yr olds. Justin Almeida is another guy who has exploded this year as a 19 yr old. Last year his stat line was 70-11-17-28 pts. This year he finished with 98. That’s a massive jump in points. He is a tremendous skater who flashed ability but was always left you wanting more. It’s a nice breakout season but not uncommon with 19 yr olds.

 

Players I like for the Oilers:

Milos Roman (Late 2nd/early 3rd) – A smart, savvy playmaker with great vision and hands who appears to have a high hockey IQ. Might be one of the best passers in the draft. Excellent forechecker who plays a solid 2 way game. Can play on Powerplay and Penalty kill. Has a nice shot when he uses it but definitely more of a setup player than shooter. I know the Oilers are deep at center at the NHL level but you can never have too many good centers in my opinion. If Roman is the best player available and still on the board in the 3rd round the Oilers should pounce.

Riley Stotts (3rd/4th rd pick) – Watching a few Hitmen games lately Stotts has really stood out to me. His skating style and wrist shot reminds me a lot of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Has an excellent shot, is such a smooth skater and seemed to make decisions all over the ice. Not the greatest faceoff guy but is a good 2 way player. Would love to watch him some more think he has real sleeper potential. Plenty of skill here. While watching Calgary, another guy really impressed…

Tristen Nielsen (6th-7th rd) – Nielsen appears to be a dynamic player with some nice finishing moves and terrific speed. He’s also pretty aggressive for a smaller guy and appears to be a puckhound. Highly energetic he’s got some sweet hands and appears to be sound defensively backchecking hard in the games I watched him play. Honestly, I have no idea why he is not ranked. He has 17 points in the last 23 games to date. He looks to me like he should be a mid round pick at worst I’m willing to bet when the new rankings come out he’ll be there this time around. I’d take him in the 5th rd at this point. Listed as a Center but is playing on the wing. Could skyrocket up draft boards like Liam Foudy in the OHL he has caught fire here late.

 

Maybe’s for the Oilers:

Kyle Topping (3rd rd pick) – A lot of Kole Lind comparisons with Topping. Excellent passer and a has a very quick release. Plays on a line with Kole Lind and Dillon Dube so there is question about how much he is benefiting from playing with two top players. Has good speed and plays a solid 2 way game.

Eric Florchuk (3rd-4th rd) – Florchuk has a nice combination of size, skill, skating and 2 way play. While he probably doesn’t have any elite traits he does have really good hands with a quick release and good hockey sense. He is versatile can play center or wing, PP or PK and is a good faceoff guy. I wouldn’t take him any sooner than the 4th round but he is a nice player with some upside.

 

LEFT WINGERS

OVR Rank Shoots Left Wing Size Weight GP G A P
FC 99 R Chase Wouters 6’0 176 72 18 33 51
NCS 95 L Jackson Leppard 6’2 194 68 15 21 36
NCS 144 L Brodi Stuart 5’10 168 70 16 22 38
NCS 160 L Ryan Chyzowski 6’0 190 72 21 31 52
NCS 164 L Cole Reinhardt 6’0 203 68 19 15 34
NCS 170 R Isaac Johnson 6’2 183 68 17 31 48
NCS 179 L James Malm 5’9 179 72 19 47 66
NCS 193 R Emil Oksanen 6’1 190 58 16 32 48
NR L Kaid Oliver 6’0 181 64 6 19 25
NR L Gilian Kohler 5’11 161 55 8 11 19
NR L Jackson Shepard 5’8 165 72 9 13 22
NR L Yegor Zudilov 6’2 181 64 7 16 23

There are several intriguing options here in the mid & late rounds the Oilers could consider. Of note, both Oksanen Johnson are 19 yr olds.

Players I like for the Oilers:

Chase Wouters (4th rd pick) – Wouters (pronounced “Waters” ) by most accounts is a hard-working will do whatever takes to win kind of player. He hits, he blocks shots, he forechecks like crazy and never takes a shift off. He has good speed, a quick release and is a 200 foot player. Consistently outhustles his opponents. A coaches dream he is the energetic type of player who can change a game with one shift. I’ve watched a few times and he kind of reminds of a young Raffi Torres. Fearless competitor who could excel in your bottom six and perhaps even have a 2nd line ceiling. Would be a nice 4th rounder but wouldn’t take him any sooner.

Ryan Chyzowski (6th rd pick) – is another player who stands out for me. Son of former NHLer Dave Chyzowski he is known for his work ethic and hockey IQ. Nothing about his game jumps out at you but he is a solid all round player with good hands who’s hard work and determination lead to a lot of “garbage goals”. Always seems to be around the net and wins more puck battles then he loses. One of those gritty overachievers who could possible be a nice 3rd or 4th liner in the NHL. If he’s still there in the 6th round I think he’d be a nice pick for the Oilers.

Maybe’s for the Oilers:

Cole Reinhardt (6th rd pick) – I haven’t seen enough of Reinhardt to say either way but he has intriguing size and skill and appears to have above average skating. He is one prospect I need to see more of.

 

RIGHT WINGERS

OVR Rank Shoots Right Wing Size Weight GP G A P
FC 53 R Riley Sutter 6’2 201 68 25 28 53
NR R Max Patterson 6’4 201 72 9 15 24
NR R Chris Douglas 6’0 170 72 9 7 16
NR R Spencer Moe 5’8 170 72 9 13 22

As crazy as it sounds it’s very possible only 1 Right Winger in the entire WHL could get drafted in June.

Riley Sutter (3rd rd pick) – Easily the best RW in this league he looks like a solid 2nd or 3rd rd pick. He’s a Sutter so you know he’s gritty but he’s also the leading scorer among 18 yr old draft eligibles this year from the WHL. He is your prototypical power forward who’s so physical down low and has a big shot with a quick release. A hard worker who plays a very good 200 foot game he can also play Center. Has worked real hard on his skating and overall game. Probably not a Top line player in the NHL but could make for an excellent 2nd or 3rd liner on a good team.

The rest of the RW group likely won’t be drafted so unless the Oilers target Sutter specifically they will likely be searching other leagues for RW help.

 

FINAL WORD…

So as you can see this WHL is really lacking up front in terms of Top rated talent but there are a few C/LW’s with some real potential and upside in the middle and late rounds. On defence, there are plenty of quality players to choose from depending on where Edmonton picks. If I’m the Oilers and I don’t get a lottery pick here are the players I would target each round not considering other leagues:

7th Overall Oilers Mock Draft (WHL only)

1st Round – RD Ty Smith

2nd Round – LD Calen Addison

3rd Round – RW/C Riley Sutter, C Milos Roman

4th Round – C Riley Stotts, Chase Wouters

5th Round – C Tristen Nielsen

6th Round – LW Ryan Chyzowski

7th Round – D Dylan Plouffe

 

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