NHL Draft: Top CJHL Prospects – Newhook Leading the Charge

Steven Ellis

2019-02-25

Jett Alexander (Steven Ellis/North York Rangers)

Unlike the NHL, which still has a few weeks to go before the end of the regular season, the Junior A governing body, the Canadian Junior Hockey League, will see their member clubs start their respective playoff series’ across the country this week for a chance to play in the Canadian Junior A national championship, previously known as the RBC Cup.

 

For many of these players, it’s the last chance for fans and scouts to watch some underrated prospects showcase their skills before eventually moving to the NCAA. Let’s be clear: the top players from the CJHL are usually good enough for major junior, but are aiming for an NCAA scholarship instead. Much of the talent you’ll learn about today played at the World Junior A Challenge, a tournament involving Junior A players from North America and other top U19 players from Europe, including Vasili Podkolzin, who is projected to go in the top five of the draft.

 

The top Jr. A leagues that people follow in Canada are the BCHL in British Columbia, the AJHL in Alberta, the CCHL in the Ottawa region and the Ontario Junior Hockey League. This year, most of the young talent hail from Western Canada, with names like Alex Newhook, Alex Campbell and Layton Ahac leading the way.

 

Let’s take a look at some of the better prospects in Jr. A hockey this season, many of whom will hear their name called at the NHL draft in June.

 

Alex Newhook, C (Victoria Grizzlies, BCHL): There’s a good chance you’ve heard of Newhook this year, especially after his eight-point performance in Victoria’s second last game of the year. Projected to be drafted fairly early at the NHL draft, Newhook has been unstoppable in BCHL play this year, ending the season with 102 points – 18 more than Ryan Brushett in second and 38 more than the league’s second top U18 forward,  who just happens to be Newhook’s linemate, Alexander Campbell. The duo was often dominant against other top lines in the league and saw some action together at the World Junior A Challenge and CJHL Top Prospects Game. Unfortunately, Newhook didn’t really shine at either tournament and wasn’t selected to the Canadian Hlinka-Gretzky Cup team in August, so we didn’t really get to see Newhook at his full potential against top talent.