WHL Report – December 2019

by Joel Henderson on December 4, 2019

Tons of Fantasy Value in the WHL

Alright, I’mma throw some facts and numbers at you. The WHL is taking shape and among the blossoming teams comes some blossoming players. Here’s your chance to get the jump on a few players to potentially add to your deep fantasy systems. 

All of these stats were pulled from games ONLY in November so it gives you a screenshot at the month. 

Big Dogs Thriving

Player

Goals

Assists

Points

Games

Shots per game

Dylan Cozens (BUF)

8

14

22

12

5.83

Aliaksei Protas (WSH)

9

14

23

13

3.45

Nolan Foote (TBL)

5

8

13

10

4.0

Reece Newkirk (NYI)

4

8

12

11

3.63

Mark Kastelic (OTT)

8

6

14

12

4.0

Brayden Tracey (ANA)

6

4

10

7

4.29

James Hamblin (FA)

11

13

24

12

4.67

What should you know?

Dylan Cozens is truly dominating the WHL competition. He continues to get off a truly high shot rate and dominate portions of the games. This will be a one and done year for Cozens as he looks to turn pro in 2020-21 for the Buffalo Sabres. He has a quick powerful release of a shot and will grab many PPP mostly from the slot. He continues to give me a lot of Mark Scheifele vibes. 

Aliaksei Protas has had quite the explosion of offense in the WHL this year. He certainly has had the benefit of playing with quality teammates and consistent playmakers. Draft eligible forward Ozzy Weisblatt is one of the best true playmakers in the WHL right now. He has the ability to gain the zone, stop short and look for the big-bodied Protas coming through the middle of the ice. Protas has a pro level shot and that will certainly help him at the next level. While their production has been similar, still have a warning sign on Protas as I believe he will continue to develop in the WHL and AHL before seeing if his skating is up to NHL caliber. 

 

 

Nolan Foote has been selected for Team Canada’s camp for the WJC while other bigger, high-profile forwards were not. He goes to the tough areas of the ice and has a real solid one-timer, which can be helpful all over the ice. I watched him at the WHL vs Russia event in Prince Albert and his deflection goal from the slot was nice. He hasn’t truly broken out in the WHL this season but has certainly improved on last season’s numbers. He’s one of those players who doesn’t blow you away but seems to consistently contribute on the scoresheet for Team Canada in the past. 

James Hamblin has found his own groove as an overager. His last two seasons in the WHL weren’t flops either. Coming off of 64 and 77 point years, his 2.0 ppg in the month of November seems to have led the way. He’s standing out on a Medicine Hat team which most nights looks as strong as they come. He could be a potential free agent signing at the end of the year. 

 

Defensive scoring

Player

Goals

Assists

Points

Games

Shots per game

Yegor Zamula (PHI)

2

8

10

12

2.34

Alex Cotton (2020)

4

12

16

12

3.75

Gianni Fairbrother (MTL)

4

8

12

12

3.25

 

 

Yegor Zamula was quite the find for the Philadelphia Flyers. I’ve had the privilege of watching him play a few times live and many times online and while he is still growing into his big six-foot-three frame, his balance, explosive skating, and vision have improved drastically over the last couple years. On a very good Calgary blueline, he has shown that he’s just as good as teammate and former second-round-pick Jett Woo, and a lot more potential. Zamula will not be a PP Quarterback at the next level but he certainly does have a good shot of being an NHL player. 

Alex Cotton has been added to the Lethbridge top PP. He is finding his way with a quality slapshot and a decent wrist shot from the left side. He is not your typical PP Quarterback but paired with Ty Smith, he becomes a very good option. Cotton is still raw and there isn’t one attribute of his game that stands out from the rest but his development path is very nice. He is a potential late round pick in 2020 after being passed over. 

One little tidbit of note. I’m not sure if Bowen Byram is totally feeling himself. He had one goal and four assists over a 10 game span with 2.9 shots per game. In my observations, he seems to be focusing a bit more on his two-way play and isn’t jumping into the rushes or dictating play with the level of consistency and passion that he did in 2018-19. The talent is still quite evident and he will have a chance during the WJC to show if he can standout among his peers. 

—–

Your standout teams of the month were mostly from the United States. 

Last 10 games. 

Medicine Hat 8-2-0-0

Portland – 7-1-1-1  

Everett – 7-2-1-0

Spokane – 7-2-1-0

——–

Cheers!

Joel Henderson – Covering the Calgary Flames and WHL  @dathockeydoe

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