WHL Report: Focusing On The Future



With the CHL Top Prospects game having just taken place late January, I thought it would be most appropriate to have this review highlighting the 2017/2018 NHL Draft eligible and NHL team prospects. The WHL was well represented at the top prospects game with 15 WHLers taking part in the event. There have been a lot of younger players this year taking the reins of their team, rather than just the usual 19/20-year-old players.


2017 Draft Eligibles

Nolan Patrick (Brandon Wheat Kings)

The consensus top ranked player in this year’s NHL draft has just returned to the Brandon Wheat Kings lineup after missing several months with an upper body injury. He recorded four points (2G, 2A) in his first game back and has not looked back since. Patrick posted an average performance at the CHL Top Prospects game but is still highly regarded as the top prospect in this draft. Down the stretch, he will be a crucial part in how far Brandon goes in the playoffs. From a scouting perspective, Patrick is a big playmaking center who I compare to Ryan Getzlaf of Anaheim. While he may not be as star-gazing as the previous top picks in recent drafts, he is certainly a top-six center in the NHL and possibly more.

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Nolan Patrick scores for the first time since his two-goal effort in his return to the lineup last Friday.</p>&mdash; Scott Billeck (@ScottBilleck) <a href="https://twitter.com/ScottBilleck/status/822984848558133248">January 22, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>{/source}


Dawson Holt (Vancouver Giants)

Dawson Holt may not be one of the big names in this year’s draft class but has been an effective middle-six player for the Vancouver Giants, posting 13 points in 38 games this season. He is a versatile player who can be utilized in all areas of the game, and is offensive threat on the ice who utilizes his creativity and puck handling when given the opportunity. He is a player who will be taken later in the draft but is a name that could breakout in the next couple years with an improving Giants squad.


Cody Glass (Portland Winterhawks)

Probably one of the most unexpected players to emerge this year out of the WHL, the Portland Winterhawk current sits eighth in league scoring with 66 points in in 48 games and has been a crucial part of his team. He was an addition to the CHL Top Prospects game and made a good showing with an assist on the night. He is a solid playmaking winger with a deadly shot and has found himself sky rocketing up rankings lately, being considered as a top 15 pick.

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/2017NHLDraft?src=hash">#2017NHLDraft</a> prospect Cody Glass has been shooting more, but still makes beautiful passes like the one setting up Blichfeld's goal <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WHL?src=hash">#WHL</a></p>&mdash; Chad Balcom (@hawkeyblog) <a href="https://twitter.com/hawkeyblog/status/822658117137735680">January 21, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>{/source}


Aleksi Heponiemi (Swift Current Broncos)

Currently the highest scoring rookie in the WHL, the Finnish import has been a crucial part of a highly skilled Swift Current Broncos team. A highly skilled playmaker who is small in stature but plays hard and creates a lot of offense, should be a second rounder in this year’s draft and was a big name left off the CHL Top Prospects game roster.

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Aleksi Heponiemi, ranked 35th by NHL Central Scouting, has &quot;Ron Francis 2nd Round Finnish Steal&quot; written all over him.</p>&mdash; @FakeChrisCote (@RealChrisCote) <a href="https://twitter.com/RealChrisCote/