WHL OCTOBER 2018
First things first.
I’m Joel. I enjoy watching hockey and eating mini donuts at the rink.
This picture is not me. This is Kirby Dach. I’ll mention him later.
I live in Regina, Saskatchewan and got a front row seat for the Memorial Cup in 2018.
I’ve been covered the Calgary Flames for a few years for Dobber Prospects and have decided to take on a bigger role covering the WHL for 2018-19.
The 2018 draft wasn’t the most spectacular for WHL prospects but a new crop of players and a lot of potential await.
Top NHL prospects who have returned to the WHL.
Cody Glass – C – Vegas
0g 6a in 2 games
He’s returned once again. Last season he improved from 94 points to 102. He should be one of the most dominant players in the league. It is a little strange that out of the seven WHL players taken in the 2017 draft, he’s the only one remaining in the league.
Ty Smith – D – NJ
0g 3a in 2 games
After making a solid run at a roster spot with NJ, he’s been returned to Spokane. With both Sami Vatanen and Will Butcher as undersized puck movers, there is reason to be patient with him. No concern whatsoever with him being back.
Alexander Alexeyev – D – Washington
3g 6a in 6 games.
He was taken near the end of the first round by Washington in 2018 and personally I was higher on him than most of the scouting organizations. I think he has a lot more to offer and this could be a true dominating campaign for Red Deer if he’s consistently healthy.
Jett Woo – D – Vancouver
0 points in 1 game.
A prospect who had a mix of a year will look to be more consistent all over the ice for Moose Jaw. Josh Brook might steal a bit of his thunder but Canuck fans can watch him closely as the season progresses.
Calen Addison – D – Pittsburgh
1g 5a in 4 games.
Lethbridge is certainly happy to get back their top offensive dman. They should have a strong squad and a ridiculously talented draft eligible C to boot. They have all the right mix to be a strong contender.
Akira Schmid – G – NJ
After being drafted in the fifth round and the CHL changing their policy on international goaltenders, here comes the big 6’5 tender ready to charge over the competition with Lethbridge. So far… he’s played in one game and got destroyed, letting in 7 goals on 27 shots. It looks as if he might have the backup duties until he can get in the swing of things. A lot of upside there though.
(Update: After I wrote this, the Hurricanes placed Akira on waivers since they have both Igor Merezhko and Danila Palivko as imports. Future could change quickly)
A-rated draft eligible prospects in the WHL
Bowen Byram – D – Vancouver – 1g 1a 4games
Dylan Cozens – C – Lethbridge – 5g 5a 4games
Kirby Dach – C – Saskatoon – 3g 6a 5games
Nolan Foote – LW – Kelowna – 2g 3a 5games
Peyton Krebs – C – Kootenay – 2g 3a 3games
Matthew Robertson – D – Edmonton -0g 3a 5games
Josh Williams – RW – Medicine Hat – 0g 2a 5games
It’s evident that Dylan, Kirby, and Peyton are going to be moving up and down draft lists as the season progresses. Teams are thirsty for drafting big Centremen and scouts are going to get to see them go head-to-head a few times throughout the year. I’ll certainly be watching closely and reviewing those games in particular to see how each bring out each others strengths and weaknesses. I’ll most likely be doing an in depth piece comparing them as well.
For now, you can read more about them if you missed yesterday’s article from Steve Kournianos from The Draft Analysis. He looks into the Top 10 Centers in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. Check that out HERE to see where each are currently ranked.
WHL/CHL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
With only 4-6 games into the season, it’s tough to evaluate who is going to explode offensively but it certainly is a window into what the future could hold.
Kirby Dach (seeeeeeen way above) was named the WHL/CHL player of the week in the first week. He had an impressive seven point weekend which included a three goal and two assist victory over the depleted Swift Current Broncos. This gives him a personal best as he had four point games twice last season for Saskatoon.
That’s all for now. I look forward to giving you some deep dives, some fancy insight, and some of my own personal scouting notes as the season progresses. If there’s someone in particular you’d like my opinion on, don’t be afraid to reach out.
Twitter – @dathockeydoe
Joel Henderson – Calgary Flames prospect writer/ WHL super duper expert