WHL Update: Top Players Making an Impact

by sullydraftgeek on November 2, 2016

The WHL has recently released their rosters for the Canada vs Russia series that is coming up in the next week. Kelowna Rockets defenseman Cal Foote and Brandon Wheat King center Nolan Patrick are the only two draft eligible to be named to team WHL. Nine players from last year's NHL draft were also named to the team.

 

 

Top WHL Talents of October

Kailer Yamamoto: Arguably the top ranked American in this year's NHL draft, Kailer Yamamoto is off to a hot start to his third WHL season. Sitting second in WHL scoring currently with 23 points in the month of October, Kailer is currently riding a four game point streak into November. The 5'8", 159 pound forward has been recently drawing comparisons to fellow small forward Johnny Gaudreau and is likely to challenge for a top-10 draft spot in June.

Sam Steel: Since returning from the Anaheim Ducks training camp Steel has been on an absolute tear in the WHL, posting two points-per-game in the month of October. Playing with a lot of momentum, the Sherwood Park native has also been named to Team WHL for the Canada vs Russia series in November.

 

 

Logan Flodell: Arguably the league's top goaltender in the month of October, the undrafted netminder has begun the year with an outstanding 1.99 GAA and a .940 Sv% to go with 6 wins. Coming off of a struggling season with Saskatoon, Flodell has found a way to bounce back and help his team challenge for a playoff spot. It will be interesting come June, to see where his game is at and if an NHL team is willing to take a stab at the 5'11" goalie.

 

 

Michael Rasmussen: Coming into his draft eligible year, the 6'5" forward has really been putting his name out there for scouts. Fresh off an impressive Ivan Hlinka tournament, Rasmussen has carried that momentum to the WHL ice and has put up 18 points in 16 games. The Tri-City American forward has also turned himself into a potential top 15 prospect in this years NHL draft.

Kale Clague: The first pick chosen by the Los Angeles Kings in last year's draft has come into his own to start the 2016-17 WHL season. After overcoming an injury that saw him miss a couple games, the defenseman he has put up an outstanding 10 points in six contests. Looking more confident than ever, the offensive blueliner has impressed me personally with his improved skating as well as his increased confidence when it comes to moving the puck. Clague was another player named to Team WHL for the Canada vs Russia series.

Jayden Halgewachs: The undrafted forward from Saskatchewan has begun the WHL season red hot. Playing on a line alongside Tampa Bay Lightning first rounder Brett Howden, Jayden has been producing at a career-high rate. With 18 points through 14 games, he has certainly become one of the WHL's top undrafted forwards. Going forward it will be interesting if he can continue this pace and possibly be a top 20-year old come next season.

Mason Shaw: As the current top scorer in the WHL, Mason has been excellent for the Medicine Hat Tigers. The one dimensional offensive winger has put up 25 points in 14 games and has been a top player for the playoff bound Tigers. Another draft eligible due to his late 1998 birthday, Mason has been seen as a wild card when it comes to where he stands in the rankings. If he is able to continue to produce I don't see why he couldn't be a middle to upper middle-round pick come June.

 

 

Stuart Skinner: A top goaltending prospect in this year's NHL draft, Stuart Skinner has had a rough start to begin the year with a 3.66 GAA and a .897 Sv%. While his numbers have taken a hit in October the 6'4" goalie is still in contention to be the next first round goalie selection. As the lone draft eligible goalie invited to the World Junior camp in August, the Alberta native is high on almost every scout's radar. It will be interesting to see how he plays going forward.

Nikita Popugaev: Another 2017 NHL draft eligible who has impressed in the month of October, Popugaev has led the highly touted Moose Jaw Warriors thus far. Standing at 6'5" he is a player who is hard to knock off the puck and has excelled when it comes to his perimeter play. While he isn't overly physical he still finds a way to use his body to win one-on-one battles. With 19 points in 14 games so far, Popugaev is another must-watch player in the WHL. The Russian native has also been named to Team Russia for the Canada vs Russia series.

 

 

WHL Power Rankings: 

1. Regina Pats 

2. Everett Silvertips

3. Prince George Cougars

4. Medicine Hat Tigers

5. Brandon Wheat Kings

6. Victoria Royals

7. Swift Current Broncos

8. Tri-City Americans

9. Seattle ThunderBirds 

10. Moose Jaw Warriors