WHL REPORT – OCTOBER 2019
We are well underway and what a way we are under. With the announcement of Brayden Tracey returning to Moose Jaw, that leaves just the third overall pick in 2019 remaining in the NHL with Kirby Dach and the Blackhawks. Injury has played a real role in delaying the process with both Kirby and Brayden but as expected, the WHL scoring charts will be filled with this draft class.
What should NHL fans and fantasy owners be looking for from their drafted processes? Leadership. High draft picks need to be the ones setting the precedent on their teams in order to dictate play. At a first glance, Bowen Byram (Colorado) is at a PPG clip (1+5 in six games) and Dylan Cozens (Buffalo) has gotten to a real hot start with four goals and five assists over four games. It is what you expect and what you hope from a prospect. Cozens had been dealing with a thumb injury so Buffalo fans can be happy he does not seem affected.
Peyton Krebs (Vegas) – still sidelined with injury
Nolan Foote (Tampa Bay) – has gathered two goals and six assists over six games
Brayden Tracey (Anaheim) – has yet to play a game.
Nolan Foote and now fellow Kelowna Rocket power forward Dillon Hamaliuk have gotten off to a boom or bust in a game by game manner. The Rockets have two of the best young power forwards in the WHL and Kelowna is still tinkering with how to best utilize their services. As you can see above, they had many of their players, drafted or not, attending NHL camps in the 2019 summer. The logos above their heads were where they attended. They should be packed with options, right? When Dillon and Nolan get on the scoresheet, they really show up. When they don’t, they don’t. Dillon Hamaliuk (San Jose) has eight points in seven games but has already gone scoreless in four of those. Foote has eight points in six games and has gone scoreless in two, which is mostly fine. Just something to note when moving forward. They should be consistent in production.
One of the more puzzling draft-day selections was Florida Panthers third-round pick John Ludvig. He rarely showed up on many draft lists but found himself obviously coveted. This sturdy defender has begun the year with six points in six games after gathering 18 points over 58 contests. The Portland Winterhawks lost two of their top offensive Dmen and thus far Ludvig is making Florida look rather well.
The top prospects are the top prospects but three others who have been as molten hot as fresh mozza sticks are Adam Beckman (3rd rd – Minn), Sasha Mutala (5th rd – Col), and Aliaksei Protas (3rd rd – Wash).
I do not expect Protas to slow down too much (has 4G-7A in 7 games) due to being surrounded with draft eligible Ozzy Wiesblatt and Montreal drafted forward Cole Fonstad. While Protas doesn’t always look like he’s consistently driving play, his size and shot allow him to pounce on moments and change the course of a WHL game. It looks as if he has gained a step of speed in the offseason but ideally he needs to gain another step of two. If he does? Watch out.
Sasha Mutala (3G-6A- in 5 games) is quite obviously the top forward on Tri-City and it is going to be a tough expectation if fans want him to keep up a torrid pace. Consistency is key. He’s fired 18 shots over his first five games which is impressive.
Adam Beckman. My personal fav (2G-8A in 6 games). Spokane lost the services of Riley Woods and Jaret Anderson-Dolan (LA) but once again got back offensive dynamo Ty Smith (NJ). The sky is the limit for Beckman this season. He seems to be the top offensive option in every situation. Last season he was quick to let other forwards handle the puck and dominate play but this year they have run the PP through him from the left half-wall. He has strong acceleration and is coming off a 30 goal rookie WHL campaign. If you are in deep fantasy leagues, watch close, or hey…grab him now.
2020 NHL Draft
The top draft tiers are starting to show themselves and some prospects are metaphorically forechecking harder than others. GET PUCKS IN DEEP. HURRY HARD.
My personal list goes as follows.
Brayden Schnieder – Brandon
Daemon Hunt – Moose Jaw
Kaiden Guhle – Prince Albert
Kasper Puutio – Swift Current
Justin Sourdif – Vancouver
Connor Zary – Calgary
Ridly Greig – Brandon
The SEASON IS YOUNG AND THERE IS LOTS TO SEE.
As the list forms itself, continue to look for more 2020 draft content from Dobberprospects.
That’s all for now. Hopefully there is a prospect or two you can add to your fantasy watch list.
Joel Henderson – WHL/Calgary Flames coverage – @dathockeydoe