There were few crazy stories in the WHL for the month of January. I’ll be blunt. It’s tough to get excited over many things when it kind of was business as usual for the league and the strongest teams. But here’s what I can give you! Lets go!
Top 2018 draft picks Ty Smith (NJ), Alexander Alexeyev (WSH), and Jett Woo (VAN) continue to put together very strong campaigns. AA and Woo have shown their fan bases that they can contribute on the offensive end. They may never quarterback a PP in the NHL but hey, they wouldn’t be too out of place if they did.
The Top-10 in scoring is still dominated by the older lads. Joachim Blichfeld (SJ), Trey Fix-Wolansky (CBJ), Stelio Mattheos (CAR) and others.
As far as CHL Hockey TOP-10 teams go, the Prince Albert Raiders hold onto that top spot. Everett Silvertips have slipped from the 4 spot down to the 7th over the course of the month but still hang on. The Vancouver Giants, Portland Winterhawks, and Moose Jaw Warriors have been honorably mentioned along the way.
Speaking of Portland… goaltender Joel Hofer (STL) has settled in and immediately improved on his season numbers. He currently has five wins with Portland too and that places him one win behind how many he gathered in Swift Current this year. He could be a big difference maker come playoff time.
One draft-eligible prospect who is ABSOLUTELY on fire is D-Bowen Byram. There’s a reason he’s up at the top of every draft list. In the 13 games he played in January, he collected 10 goals, 9 assists, and fired 39 shots on goal. He jumps in the play every chance he gets and is an absolute joy to watch. Teams will be coveting his services come June. He won a CHL player of the week award for Jan 7-13 and was the first WHL player since Brett Leason in November.
Worried about injuries?
Cody Glass (VGS), Alexander Alexeyev (WSH), Riley Sutter(WSH), Matthew Robertson (2019-eligible) have all dealt with nagging injuries in the new year.
Draft eligible, hard hitting forward Dillon Hamaliuk suffered a season ending injury and could potentially allow an NHL team to draft him a little lower than expected. His 26 points in 31 games for Seattle is all we will get to look at.
What happened to Lane Zablocki?
The Detroit Red Wings selected Lane Zablocki in the third round of 2017.
He’s played for the Regina Pats, Red Deer Rebels, Lethbridge Hurricanes, Victoria Royals and finally settled in with the Kelowna Rockets for 2018-19.
He was released by Kelowna in January due to Kelowna claiming another 20-year-old to fill the spot.
He’s found a home with the Vernon Vipers in the BCHL and at this point it’s tough to know what to think.
Detroit fans have to be let down though. Hopefully he can re-gain his form in the most unconventional way! What a story that would be.
Thats all for now!
Follow me on Twitter at Dathockeydoe for more WHL updates and Calgary Flames ranting.