WHL Bantam Draft: December Top 22 - #5 - #1

It's The Final Countdown!!!!

No, you haven't accidentally clicked a lyrics page add and been directed to an eighties anthem, it's DubNetwork Scouting's LAST REVEAL for our December Top 22 - WHL Bantam Draft prospect breakdown.

Hold onto your britches and jockstraps, as we've got one name here sure to keep you talking for at least a while, maybe an omission that will do the same?  Only one way to find out friends.

Before you dive in, as a team we thank you for your readership and support. We are set to launch into 2021 continuing to bring you only the best coverage available! Pretty good deal huh?

Enjoy our final five, I know you will.


#5. Jordan Gavin - St George's School U15 Prep

Zach says: "Jordan Gavin is an elite scoring winger. Dangerous off scrambles, from the top of the circle, off the wall, and on the rush (especially as the trail). Jordan is one of, if not, the purest sniper in the upcoming draft. He can manipulate the release point, explode a quick snapshot with his weight transfer, all while being absurdly accurate."


"A steady and typically reliable player off of the puck, Jordan is patient in finding his opportunities. Something he is working on adding to his game is adding a dimension to his offensive skillset, now that defenders expect and know him as the shooter, he is mixing in the ability to distribute a pass low to an open teammate for a high-quality chance. Becoming a true dual-threat from the left wall should be a priority for him to ensure defenders at the next level are kept on their toes."

"Gavin shows subtle and mature plays when he gets possession in his own zone. Whether it be slowing up to set up the breakout or identifying a quick opportunity for an exit and rush. His off-the-puck play rarely screams urgency, but he is typically reliable and consistent in his positioning and support. These clips demonstrate calm and cool decisions with the puck as well as his strong stride and ability to be an effective forechecker at times."

"It is clear Gavin has no issues processing the game and typically makes a simple, heads-up play with the puck. These plays are typical of a more mature player. He is at his best when facilitating the offense and capitalizing on the many opportunities he finds himself in by finding space and having an innate ability to find and bury pucks near the net. He won't wow you with his stickhandling or dynamic skating off the rush at this point, but his game is already suited to being a steady winger at the next level and an elite finisher. We are excited to see him add new elements to his toolbox to become an all situations winger and not only a shooting threat, but a passing threat as well."

#4. Seth Tansem - Rink Hockey Academy Kelowna U15 Prep

Ash Says: "You can't help but watch Seth and appreciate the athleticism, but what has my interests peaked the most is what he'll be in three to four seasons time. From the last half of the previous season to now, I don't believe anyone in this class has shown the improvements that he has. The reasoning for Tansem being rewarded as our top defender on our list is evident at least to DUBNetwork Scouting.

"His skating ability and offensive generation separate himself from any other defenseman in this class. Technically his skating is very sound. From his posture, dorsiflexion, and edge work; Tansem's capacity to create plays with his feet and vision is peerless. His top-end speed is still coming along as he's still growing, but the quick bursts to separate in a straight line or cut and create space is impressive. He displays a proficient crossover ability both forward and backwards."




"His anticipation and acumen in all three zones are also very impressive. Offensively he can drive the bus in transition or provide fantastic support off the rush. His vision for space is stellar, he is always around the puck and uses his skills to get creative on most possessions."





"Seth is a also proficient playmaker running the point on the powerplay and implements himself into the cycle on many occasions with good results. Tansem has good-to-very good stickhandling skills and is able to combine that with his skating to shake free defensive pressure to advance further into the offensive zone. One of my favourite traits though is his passing. Tansem sees and stretches the ice well, although sometimes the pace isn't always consistent, his timing on most of his passes see him break lines and find dangerous areas often. He is a great exponent of passing teammates open, slicing through layers of defence." 





"Defensively Tansem is also very sound. He may not be the biggest amongst his peers but he does have deceptive strength. Also, his ability to cut down angles and control his gaps aid him in battles against bigger peers. He has a good defensive stick and uses all of his 5'8"/150lbs to leverage oncoming attackers to the boards. Under pressure in his own zone, he has good awareness of what's around him and has shown in good samples that he's able to negate the forecheck by skating through the pressure and releasing quick exit passes. Something imperative to future success being a smaller defender. Tansem can at times tend to get a bit cute with the puck under pressure, you could say explorative. Given his proven ability to break forecheck containment in much simpler, conventional ways I don't think it's going to be a huge issue moving forward. He does show a sound understanding of schemes and is continuing to build on positioning consistency."

"Tansem doesn't boast an overly heavy shot, but that's never going to be his calling card. He does however get a lot of shots on the net from distance. He has a profound skill of finding ways to gain shooting lanes, mostly with his feet and deft deceptive puck movement. He is more adept at shooting off the rush, in the medium/high slot, and from around the circles. He has very fast hands and good extension in his shooting action that generates good pace and elevation. He's a head-up shooter who can pick his spots too."

"We've only seen a paucity so far in the CSSHL this season and to be fair, Tansem and his Rink Kelowna team haven't truly been tested yet. Both the subtle and major improvements in his game, however, are tested and true; points are irrelevant. Tansem has a great trajectory as a prolific offensive defenceman who is going to be very reliable in his own end. With added strength and some cleaning up of rather simple errors as he develops, he will turn heads."


#3. Gavin Garland - Delta Hockey Academy U15 Prep

Zach says: "Elite speed, physically gifted centerman. Has most of the physical tools to be a force at the next level. Blows past defenders in the neutral zone and can backcheck in a flash when engaged. A controlled exit/entry machine. Gavin has good hands and will make you pay when given space, and he is not afraid to make difficult passes through traffic. Used in all situations, an effective penalty killer that powerplays have to account for as he can easily get a takeaway or block and make you pay."

"His physical tools make him difficult to contain on the rush and in transition. Given his abilities, to be successful at the next level he will have to be comfortable and willing to attack the middle of the ice. This heatmap courtesy of InStat suggests that Gavin might be doing himself a disservice by keeping to the perimeter with his speed at times."

"This clip shows his ability to gain the zone and the respect the opposition gives his speed, however, he settles for the low-quality shot. Adding a stop as he gains the zone to give teammates an opportunity to jump into the play (and literally catch up) will better leverage his raw ability to transition the puck into the offensive zone. He will need to be a triple threat when carrying the puck down the wing, being able to drive wide, stop and survey, as well as attack down the gut. When Gavin is on and at his most difficult to handle for his opponents is when he attacks the middle of the ice. In this clip, he is also 1-on-3 but has more real estate and attacks the defenders down the middle forcing them into a precarious position and creating the potential to draw a penalty or get a high-quality opportunity. Afterward, he takes a quick look and is able to get a pass to a teammate in the home plate area for an opportunity on net."

"In limited games this season, he has displayed speed and explosiveness that few possess. Last season, he displayed an intelligent and mature game few see from a first-year in the Prep division. This season, he is the horse Delta Green relies upon in tough minutes against top competition. He is doing a better job in his own zone to help his defencemen down low, however, at times he is not always making himself available for a pass as he either comes too close to the puck carrier, positions himself on the opposite side of traffic, or swoops across the open lane making it harder for his teammates to time passes. To be successful at the next level, as a centerman, he will need to be more focused on making himself available by creating lanes with pivots, stop-starts, and then using his explosiveness to beat the opposition as opposed to trying to maintain speed and "swoop" around his own zone to pick up the puck. There is a lot to like and a lot of opportunities for him to improve further and become more dynamic which is very exciting."


#2. Macklin Celebrini - Shattuck St. Marys 14U AAA

Kaden says: "A cerebral assassin on the ice, Celebrini has an elite hockey IQ and an elite toolset to compliment that. Macklin mixes elite skating (very good edges, elite agility, and very good separation speed) with a high-end top speed to make him one of the most elusive skaters in the draft. He has very good hands and he is very deceptive with his body movement and quick hands to throw off defenders. He has very good hands in tight areas, especially, around the net to capitalize on chances down low."




"Celebrini also displays great vision with the puck and when in the cycle shows great poise and feeds passes into dangerous areas with regularity and with good touch."



"Celebrini can catch and receive passes whether in-front of or behind him in stride is elite, as he can corral a poor pass without skipping a beat. Celebrini’s shot is quick and accurate with a bit of steam behind it, making it especially difficult for goalies. Celebrini is a relentless player who chases pucks and wins puck battles. On the defensive side of the game, Macklin has a good stick, getting in passing lanes and breaking up plays deep in the zone. A center that is quick to help out his defenders and provide support to clear pucks and transition the play up the ice. Celebrini is a high IQ player with a high skill set that controls the game when on the ice and sets the tempo with his relentless motor and his ability to control the play. Celebrini should have no problem transitioning his game as a high-impact player from one level to the next."


#1 Berkly Catton - Saskatoon Contacts U18 AAA

Layne says: "Catton is probably the most hyped prospect to come out of Saskatchewan since Jared Stoll and is sure to apply for exceptional status. Catton's skating ability and strong edges allow him to battle much bigger competition the last couple of seasons, including this year as he is playing Midget AAA for the Saskatoon Contacts. Catton is a cerebral offensive player that is an exceptional playmaker who also possesses a quick and lethal release. He is a creative player who uses his quick hands to create time and space for himself. Catton played one game with the Contacts last year as a double underage and did not look out of place, even scoring a goal. There aren't any holes in Catton's game and the offense almost always runs through him.  Even with all his offensive tools, he is often the hardest working player on ice causing turnovers in all three zones. He is considered a strong leader by example from his teammates."

Zach says: "Cerebral player with exceptional anticipation yet is one of the most responsible players in the draft. His decisions are all calculated and he exploits open space like no other player in the draft. Good on the walls for his size, and enjoys playing tough minutes and offensive minutes all the same. Willing to take punishment and fight through sticks and checks to make plays and is great at winning those battles. As complete an undersized center as I've seen at this age. His skating is solid and he utilizes a wide base to protect the puck, maintain balance, and use leverage. He is one of those players that is noticeable and makes an impact every single shift. The following video displays much of his tremendous offensive skill, but also a couple of shifts that demonstrate his battle on the walls and work ethic on the penalty kill. Towards the end of his penalty-killing shift, watch him maintain responsible positioning until he sees the defenceman whiff on the puck and he is gone (1:28). Elite."


Done And...Dusted!

Top 22 complete, now to move on to more reports and evaluations for the page as we continue to build our final lists.

Again, thank you for your followership, and be sure to share and discuss as always.

It's 2021 and we just came in with a bang!

WHL Bantam Draft: December Top 22 – #10 to #6

Welcome back!

We hope you made the most of the holidays given the circumstances and this post finds you well-fed but craving more hockey content thanks to the World Juniors. Today we take a look at numbers ten through six and prepare you for our top-five ranked players in this very difficult season.


10. Tristen Doyle - Northern Alberta Xtreme U15 Prep

Ash says: "One the premier defenseman in the class, Doyle is a fluid defender who is very active in all three zones. Always moving, Doyle is a constant around the puck and has a huge involvement in just about every NAX do. What I'd call a read and react player, Doyle isn't necessarily the architect of many plays but he excels at working to and executing in space, better than any other defenseman in the class. Doyle is a very fluid mover across the ice, he's got good separation speed and good lateral ability, both with a sense of vigor. He has a very clear method to his game where he doesn't hesitate in his movements and makes very purposeful quick decisions. Doyle thrives at creating space around the blueline and half-wall areas offensively, constantly keeping his skates churning trying to find clean passing seams or good shooting lanes. Doyle doesn't necessarily sit behind the play like a traditional defenseman, rather he is always chasing the puck through the neutral zone and often acts like an F2 when entering the zone. He isn't afraid to go hard into the corners forechecking in hope of creating separation and is very prominent at applying pressure on the forecheck. His tendency to float can cause some issues as he can be prone to getting caught up ice a bit too often and leaves space behind him, this is something that I'd like to see smoothed out of his game; more recognition in timing his movement."





"Defensively Doyle isn't a horse one-on-one by any means, but he uses his skating and angles to maintain good gaps and is very methodical and determined in closing the space down. He is a good stick defender and makes most of his 5'8" frame the best he can to jam attackers to the boards. Positionally in the defensive zone, Doyle doesn't usually stop moving, always sourcing the puck and hounding the puck carrier, Doyle displays a relentless thirst to disrupt as much play as he can but also seeks to be an opportunist. "


"As he matures physically, I think he's going to get more explosive in most areas of his game. His shot will garner more weight, he'll be able to initiate contact with confidence and I'd like to think his skating has another gear to reach. Overall Doyle is a very well-rounded defenseman who is agile, reads the play extremely well, and gives you 100-percent playing in all situations."


9. Tomas Mrsic - Burnaby Winter Club U15 Prep

Zach says: "High-end playmaker with an excellent ability to read the play. Heads up player unafraid to make difficult backhand passes in traffic or thread the needle through the royal road for a one-timer attempt. Tomas possesses great puck skills whether in the faceoff circle, stickhandling, distributing, receiving bad passes, or deceiving defenders to create more space for himself. His skating is adequate but he does a fantastic job of creating space for himself with his feet and evading checks."

"Something he also does quite well is making himself available to teammates for passes or to jump on loose pucks. He almost always has two hands on his stick and is in the ready position to capitalize quickly should he receive the puck. Here he presents ready with two hands on his stick to receive a pass on his backhand which allows him to quickly bring his stick back into the pocket and receive the late pass on his forehand which he handles and keeps out of reach from the defender before getting off a good shot."

On this play, he supports the puck carrier and makes the most of the loose puck, displaying his ability to finish when given the opportunity."

"Though he reads the play really well, he tends to play a very passive game off the puck which can lead to him losing assignments like here with Gavin Garland. A player that reads the game like this and finds space well needs to do a better job of taking away a stick or eliminating his man from the play as he easily anticipates where the puck is going. This comes down to decision making and with experience, he should be able to better decipher when to focus on eliminating a man and when to fill space and be ready for the puck."

"An encouraging sign is immediately off of the subsequent faceoff, his frustration is channeled as he gives this effort and dishes one of his very few but effective bodychecks, although a tad late, on the goal scorer Garland. Adding some assertiveness and urgency to his play off of the puck would afford him more opportunities for takeaways and thus more opportunities for him to maximize his puck possession style of play."

"Overall, a very promising playmaking forward that may be better suited for the wing at the next level if he prefers the perimeter play, however, he is smart enough to play center. Should he add some urgency to his defensive play and an increased willingness to play in the dirty areas he will be able to make the most of his intelligence and anticipation. Either way, he poses to be an offensive threat at the next level, especially on the powerplay."

8. Reid Varkonyi - Northern Alberta Xtreme U15 Prep

Ash says: "Arguably the most polished forward in the class, Varkonyi has seen tremendous growth this season. Varkonyi is a quintessential centre, I believe at both Bantam and higher levels. The most obvious thing about Varkonyi is his effortless skating stride, compete level, soft hands, and all-around skill set. Varkonyi's positioning is excellent in all three zones, he doesn't necessarily drive play in transition but he's often the first outlet on the defensive zone, and his ability to join the rush as an F2 or F3 and find space to create in is spectacular. Varkonyi defensively is very strong around the slot and crease areas and offers great pursuit when the opposing team is in the cycle. He's physical and does a great job of initiating contact around the net, he's a guy that can be relied upon to negate a net-front presence and get below the goal-line to disrupt play. He's relentless on both the forecheck and backcheck and is a great disrupter in the neutral zone, laying hits in order to create puck separation."

"When on the puck Varkonyi is a freight train. His speed and ability to change angles blended with his physicality and puck discipline make him a nightmare to contain. Varkonyi excels in offensive zone puck retention, this is most evident when he's running the cycle. His ability to shield the puck and battle through checks allows him to skate into areas that will allow him to create in. Within that space, he's just as lethal shooting or passing, pick your poison. Reid has a heavy shot and has a propensity to muscle his way into the slot areas before releasing it. Soft hands on top of vision make for an arsenal of playmaking opportunities. Varkonyi can thread laser-like cross-ice passes, subtle little drop-offs to trailing attackers and the ability to find gaps in coverages when working below the goal-line are outstanding. He's also great on faceoffs and is just as creative in forcing offense off of them."





"Varkonyi is a complete player with a mature style to his craft and physical edge to match. As he matures he's going to become a more capable scorer and his defense will only continue to improve."


7. Tyson Buczkowski - Saskatoon Outlaws AA

Layne says: "The first thing you notice about Buczkowski is his skating. He's a fluid skater with a strong stride north/south and is also good on his edges. He comes from good bloodlines as his father played pro as well as in the WHL. Tyson is a smart player that is engaged in the play in all zones. He has a blistering shot that is very accurate as his previous 30-goal campaign might let on. Solid first pass and makes smart outlets. A future powerplay quarterback on a WHL powerplay that should have no problem playing on the top defensive unit as well. At this point, he is an offensive defenceman but continues to show strides of improvement in his defensive game. Comparable to a Josh Morrissey type player."

We have yet to find video of the Outlaws this season. :(


6. Clarke Caswell - Rink Hockey Academy Kelowna U15 Prep

Kaden says: "Caswell is a high-end offensive threat with a tremendous skill set. He has very-good IQ that shines in the offensive zone. He utilizes his brain for the game to set up teammates and get in prime spots to score goals. Once in these spots, Caswell uses a quick accurate release to snap pucks by goalies."



"Clarke is a very good four-way skater with very good north/south speed and agile lateral ability. He has good separation speed but can he can bring it up a couple of levels to make him a more explosive skater. Caswell is a competitor, he battles and works hard and loves the puck on his stick. Clarke’s defensive game isn’t the strongest part of his game but he’s got a good stick which he uses to break up plays and he backchecks hard to retrieve. Caswell's mind is geared towards offense as that's where he excels and leans towards. Caswell lacks a physical element to his game but he doesn’t avoid it, he’s a battler and invites the physical aspect of the game, a great sign to come once he starts to hit some growth spurts. Caswell's game is smart, skilled, and full of offensive flair. He’s got a battle level and a brain that makes him a threat on the ice."


Thanks For Your Viewership!

Come back on Friday when we provide you with the first shock of 2021. At least one of our top-five is sure to surprise you. Until then, stay safe and Happy New Year!

WHL Bantam Draft: December Top 22 - #16 to #11

The Countdown Continues!

Welcome to part three of DubNetwork Scouting's 'WHL Bantam Draft: December Top 22', where we reveal ranked prospects #16 through to #11.

As we sneak toward revealing #1, we feel that this would be 'third tier' is a group that is closing the skill and ceiling gap to those ranked within the top five. It's a group with a unique blend of skill, compete and most importantly, we believe in the upside and translatable skill-set these individuals possess.


16. Gabriel Guilbault - Burnaby Winter Club Prep

Kaden says: "Guilbault is a high IQ defender who reads the game at a high level. He’s got a strong two-way game but excels on the defensive side more as he’s got a smart stick; taking away passing lanes and disrupting plays. Gabriel’s positioning is very good, he’s got good gap control and uses his body to take away shooting lanes."


"Guilbault’s skating is good, he’s got very good backwards skating and good separation speed. Working on his top speed and lateral movements is key moving forward, but for now, it doesn’t hinder his game by any means. Guilbault has a calm demeanor to his game he doesn’t panic and makes smart passes. He's got great transitional passing as his breakouts are clean and accurate. Guilbault’s offensive side to his game is good, as mentioned before, his IQ is very high. He makes incredibly smart pinches, holds the line well, makes good passes from the point to generate a cycle, and create offense."

"Guilbault’s shot has weight, from the point he is able to get it through traffic but he just needs to work on hitting the net to improve his offensive efficiency. Gabriel’s calm high IQ game makes him a rock on the back end for BWC. They rely on him in a lot of situations and he steps up. Guilbault’s skating has room for improvement to become a high-end transitional defender to complement his already stellar defensive game and good offensive instincts."


15. Jacob Goudreau - St. Albert Sabres U15 AAA

Zach says: "A unique prospect in any draft class, Jacob Goudreau plays a mature and intense game. A strong skater with great balance and good acceleration. What really separates Jacob from his peers is his tireless work ethic and motor as he plays a straight line two-way game. He simply wins races and space in all areas of the ice, even at the tail end of long shifts."

"Good on the walls and strong puck protection allow him the ability to drive off the wall after winning a battle and protect the puck through traffic. His relentless approach forces the opposition to consistently be on their toes or face the consequences."

"A human bulldozer at times, Jacob uses his strong base effectively to punish the opposition without taking a bad penalty. Whether he separates his man from the puck or delivers a momentum-changing hit, Jacob does things with a purpose. Notice how he explodes towards the wall and then glides in and establishes his firm base to avoid a charging call."

"While his offensive skill set isn't as dynamic as some of his peers in this area of the draft, his nose for the net and his release make him a fantastic finisher. He thinks the game effectively and utilizes his legs and strength to get generate scoring chances that he frequently capitalizes on."

"Most players in the first round boast an elite attribute or high-end ceiling. Jacob's motor and compete are presently at an elite level and should translate to effective development over the next couple of years. He won't often dazzle you on the TSN Top 10, but more often than not he will be involved in the TSN Turning Point of the game. Combine that with his above-average hockey IQ and ability to finish and you could find yourself a very solid and versatile forward at the next level."


14. William McIsaac - St. George's Hockey Academy U15 Prep

Ash says: "McIsaac is a big mobile defender who displays a solid 200-foot game. McIsaac is the Saint's Mr. Reliable and sees heavy deployment in all situations. McIsaac's vision and awareness are his biggest assets both offensively and defensively. Defensively he has sound positioning, suffocating attacks by way of closing his gaps, good stick discipline and using his 6'2" frame to separate the puck and create turnovers. His lateral mobility and speed blended with his size makes him very difficult to gain the zone against. He seals the walls regularly and stands player's up at the blue-line, forcing poor angle changes constantly. When on the puck in the defensive zone he's able to make smart yet quick reads and delivers crisp exit passes with regularity. McIsaac is proficient in supporting the rush and provides a fantastic secondary option for the first wave of attack, creeping into attacking areas looking to find shooting lanes and pinching down to support his attackers. McIsaac has also shown in spurts that he's capable of playing an aggressive style in the cycle and he has the overall capacity to grow into a powerplay quarterback at higher levels."




"McIsaac plays a very professional style game for his age. He plays with a pronounced physical edge, great three-zone awareness and vision. He also boasts as the necessary skills and skating ability needed to excel as he develops."


13. Spencer Claerhout - Red Deer Rebels U15 AAA

Ash says: "One of the better yet undervalued defensemen in the class, Claerhout is a kid you can throw into any situation and see great results. Defensively he reads the play superbly and has a very cool, calm approach to his play. He isn't afraid to jump pucks and often forces pressure on oncoming attackers with his angles and superb defensive stick. He is a puck hound who works relentlessly, he simply doesn’t quit."



"He plays above his size and sets a physical tempo for his team, often getting into the corners and to the net-front against much bigger opponents. Claerhout simply excels in one-on-one battles, works well below his own goal-line and his vision and puck skills allow him to find clean exits either by pass or foot from the defensive zone. Claerhout offensively has shown an ability to be damaging in transition but he's much more at home running the cycle from the point, a focal point in the Rebels' offense and how they set-up."

"He has a good accurate shot from the point, although not overly powerful, his hand extension and timing on the puck suggest with some added strength it'll become a weapon over time. Claerhout shows flashes of good north/south speed when in possession and his stride is well balanced and technically sound. As he continues to add some muscle to his frame, he'll get more explosive and that will only aid his ability to stretch the ice offensively."


12. Dryden Kuramoto - Burnaby Winter Club U15 Prep

Kaden says: "Kuramoto is an elite four-way skater with elite agility and edges as well as very good top speed. He can skate around opponents in the blink of an eye if they are caught flat-footed. His hands are very good as he is able to deceive and go through defenders with his stickhandling, mix that with his ability to use his body feints to throw off defenders then go the other way makes him a big threat with the puck. One example of this is coming down on a defender he’ll fake outside with his head then cut inside on a dime tossing the defender up and breaking loose. Dryden has very good vision mixed with his skating and hands makes him a phenomenal playmaker, he always knows where guys are on the ice and he does a tremendous job creating time and space with the puck on his stick."



"Dryden’s shot is good, it’s a threat as it’s accurate but could have more of a punch. This will come with time as Kuramoto is still a small player with room to grow and put muscle on. Despite this, he is a feisty player with high compete as he wins puck battles and is reliable on both sides of the puck. Kuramoto is a flexible player, playing center and winger, he kills penalties, runs a powerplay off the half wall, and does more when called upon for his team. Kuramoto screams Brayden Point in his draft year, a small shifty player with high-end offensive upside, elite skating, and an edge to his game."

11. Keith McInnis - Yale Hockey Academy U15 Prep

Zach says: "An extremely effective, two-way defenceman that has a penchant for the physical play. Plays both sides quite effectively, though a left shot. Strong four-way mobility that allows him to act as a safety net of sorts through the neutral zone, not letting pucks get past him, and keeps him on the right side of the attackers. Plays a very steady and efficient game, prioritizing puck possession and facilitating offense through breakouts, transition, and even from the point at times. Poise and patience with the puck, making difficult passes through traffic at times because he is confident in his ability."



"Heavy shot at times, though inconsistent in that regard. He likes to step up and eliminate the opposition when the opportunity arises and he is capable of getting a little nasty defending his net. He demonstrates solid gap control and uses his stick effectively to dispossess attackers and take away lanes. Supports the play really well and demonstrates high-end hockey IQ and spatial awareness. Overall, a very well-rounded defenceman that projects as a top-pair guy at the next level, similar to a Quinn Schmiemann."

That's All Folks.. For This Week!

DUBNetwork Scouting thanks you for reading part three of our December Top 22 countdown, prospects #16 - #11. As always, please discuss and share as we'd love your feedback.

Part four, prospects #10 - #6 will be live on the page Monday the 28th December, so mark that down.

Thank you to:

Zach Moffat  (@MoffatZach)

Kaden Moore  (@kmoore910)

Ash Glover (myself) (@AshGloverHockey)

For contributing toward this #16 - #11 segment.

We will see you after Christmas! Happy holidays and stay safe!

A Second Welcome, From The Assistant Director of Scouting

G'day Mates!

Who would have thought, a 31-year old guy from Australia helping lead a team of scouts on the west coast of North America? Welcome to 2020!

Firsty, I am very grateful for this opportunity. I look forward to helping in implementing the increase of publications and overseeing the continual growth of our scouting services and content on the platform that is 'DUBNetwork Scouting'.

Why did I choose DUB? There is an obvious need for a thorough service dedicated to covering Bantam age prospects. DUBNetwork Scouting WILL BE the go-to resource that is so desperately and deservedly needed. I couldn't resist being a part of something special. 

With the team that we have, there is a great platform in which to launch from; it's a passionate group with roots embedded deep within the hockey community. I am excited to see the quality of work that is to come from them and the content produced is going to be an invaluable resource for many.

Now, I'm not going to go into any novel length text here. I am however going to touch on what I am aiming to add to the team and what my content will look like.

My Focus And Goals

My main focus will be to add a little extra on top of what we view as traditional reporting. 

- More clips to accompany reports: It's great reading scouting text, but having supporting video to go with it really helps what is written come to life with visual understanding and context.

- Tracking data on selected Bantam age players: This data will help with identifying individual strengths and weaknesses relative to peers.

These are the main components that I'll be focusing on. And yes, this is in addition to game reports, rankings and progressive reports. Due to the cancellations in various provinces, series formats and uncertainties surrounding the season; sample sizes may vary and be smaller than ideal. 

Pandemic aside, I can't wait to start sharing my insights and information with you all. 

This is going to be a pretty fun ride, mates.

Our Plans & Recruitment

Hello everyone,

The pandemic has obviously spoiled many plans and organizations continue to roll with the punches as the second wave hits. No one knows what this season will look like or if it will be played to completion. The pandemic has also spoiled our plans for this season. With that being said, I wanted to take an opportunity to address the state of minor hockey and DUBNetwork Scouting.

Hockey leagues and associations have started in a wide range of capacities, from small groups for skills development and practice to scrimmages to league play. Many of the top WHL Draft Eligible players are currently playing their seasons, however, many of these players have been forced to live closer to home and/or switch teams. Many guidelines result in scouts not being allowed in the building.

At DN Scouting, our plan was to roll out in 2021 with a paid subscription model with a large team of scouts and a ton of compiled reports and data on the next generation of WHLers. We have decided to remain a free resource for fans, families, players, and teams for this season and reevaluate in the summer. Our priority is to shed a light on these players and provide a unique resource for all the stakeholders of the WHL first and foremost. When we reach a critical mass of content and scouts we will have to shift to an affordable paid subscription service to cover the costs associated with running a platform like this one.

During the summer, there was a technical failure with our email hosting which led to many correspondences never reaching us and ultimately hurting us. We have shifted to a new email address that we encourage you to use to contact us moving forward. DNScouting@gmail.com. We apologize for the issues in communication this has caused and if you haven't heard back from us this is likely the reason why. Please reach out again!

If you are interested in joining our team and pursuing your passion for scouting and evaluation, please contact the email or fill our "Join Us" form which will send your information directly to our new inbox. Our team looks to learn from one another and share resources that will help us take our reports to the next level and provide value for all stakeholders.

We look forward to seeing one another in the rinks again one day. Until then, we hope to connect you to the rinks and players eligible for the 2021 WHL Draft.

Future Watch: 2021 Draft Eligibles (Part Six)

This week, we sneak a peek at a couple of strong goaltending prospects playing in the Okanagan as well as two more skaters in the CSSHL.

Evan Gardner, Goaltender, Pursuit of Excellence Bantam Prep

"Evan is the type of tender that makes the position look easier than it is. Evan is a calm and technical goalie with very-good footwork. His footwork allows him to navigate his crease with ease and efficiency. Evans pushes from the bottom of his post to the top of his crease quickly, allowing him to close the gap and get square to shooters keeping him in a good position to cut down the angle and make the save. His footwork combined with his vision and focus allows him to track the play very well. Evan doesn’t typically make desperation saves often as he relies on his fundamentals and positioning, but the odd time he needs to make one he keeps his body upright and combines that with his strong lateral movement to make a big save and stay in the play for secondary opportunities. His rebound control is good directing pucks into corners or low-quality areas on the ice. His body is like a sponge as he absorbs pucks from all areas of the ice without giving up bad rebounds. Hugging his posts tightly and uses his legs to cover the bottom of the net are strengths of his game as he takes away the bottom of the net. Evan would benefit from making himself bigger in the net as at times he has a tendency to shrink down and become too compact, leaving open net for shooters up top. His puck skills are attractive as he loves to play the puck coming out of his net, often to help give his team an advantage and quick transition. Overall, Evan's calm technical game combined with his mental fortitude and high-level footwork make him a reliable goalie with an opportunity to be selected in the 2021 WHL Bantam Draft." - Kaden Moore

Jesse Sanche, Goaltender, Pursuit of Excellence Bantam Prep

"Jesse is an athletic and flexible goalie with a high compete level. Jesse tracks pucks well battling through bodies to pick pucks up through traffic. Jesse's footwork is good and will continue to improve as he works on technique. He hugs his posts adequately, though at times loses his post. He gets square to shooters quickly and stays in a good position to take away the shooter's options. His rebound control is strong as he directs pucks into corners and unthreatening spots with relative ease. He doesn’t always absorb pucks as sometimes they drop in front of him, but he controls the puck quickly with his reflexes and athleticism to prevent any second chances. Jesse has a fairly active stick blocking centring passes as well as utilizing his poke check effectively when able. His puck skills are effective and allow him to help his defence corps when he leaves the net to settle dump ins. Jesse could work on his lateral movement to make it more fluid and efficient which would allow him to get across his crease and into position quicker for cross-seam passes or odd-man rushes. Jesse has a raw athletic game that allows him to make saves he shouldn't and keep his team in games. Once Jesse taps into all the potential and refines the technical and fundamental side of his position, he could become a very reliable puck stopper who can take on a big workload at the next level." - Kaden Moore

Nate Crema, Forward, Burnaby Winter Club Bantam Varsity

"A scoring machine for a smallish Burnaby Winter Club Bantam Varsity Team, Nate Crema is one of the more dynamic and exciting players in each game!  Always in the mix of the action at both ends of the ice, Nate shows his skills as an all-around center who isn't afraid of bigger players or the physical play as he is capable of giving and receiving punishment equally well. Even as an undersized center, Nate is a deceptively fast and fundamentally sound skater with good balance and stop/start. Even though Nate gets pushed around the occasion, he protects the puck well and more times than not will outrace any opponent to the loose puck. His strong hockey intelligence allows him to not only see the ice well but to anticipate the play and capitalize on it. On the ice, he never deters from his full-throttle approach to being a better teammate by way of hustle, determination, and understanding of the game. Nate just wants to help his team win, and he plays the game the right way - hard, fast, and fair!

One of Nate's best traits is his willingness to compete for every second of every shift as he never seems to give up!  In his last game of the season in the Championship Game of the Bantam Varsity Division against West Van - Nate scored two goals - the first for his team with a few seconds left in the second period, and with 12 seconds left in the game and the benefit of an extra attacker, Nate used some shifty skating and slick stick work to score his second goal through dense traffic in front of the net!  Nate still thought his team not could, but would score to send the game to OT - that's will, attitude, compete, and determination!" - Phil Dietz

Matthew Lahey, Defenceman, Pacific Coast Bantam Prep

"In his first season with the Pacific Coast Academy Bantam Prep team, Matthew Lahey excelled at both ends of the ice. Lahey became an important player for the Sea Devils and earned the trust of the coaching staff as he was relied upon in all situations. A minute-munching, two-way defenseman, Lahey is extremely versatile, playing on the first unit for both powerplay and penalty kill as well as logging big minutes at even strength. While Lahey is not a prototypical powerplay quarterback, he does utilize great offensive instincts to find ways to sneak down behind coverage and set himself up to receive one-timers. Lahey drives the net whenever it is safe and can finish chances off, even when they are in mid-air where his hand-eye coordination takes over. Lahey also is very smart when taking shots as he can shoot low for rebound chances and find open corners on goalies. Lahey’s skating ability is extremely smooth with great footwork going backwards and forwards. While he does not blow you away with explosive top-end speed, he is able to get where he needs to go without struggling to do so. A good puck handler, he can keep possession regardless of the direction he is going. In his own zone, Lahey is very calm under pressure and deal with opponent forechecks with great poise. After he avoids the pressure, he has the ability to make fluid transitions up ice and makes a great first pass to initiate rushes. Lahey projects as a smart, reliable two-way defenseman that can log tons of minutes and be trusted in any situation, which coaches love." - Adam Goodwin

Future Watch: 2021 Draft Eligibles (Part Five)

We apologize for being a day late for our most recent Future Watch piece. Our fifth week of the Future Watch series highlights a few more of West Vancouver's Bantam Varsity squad and another first-year standout from the Pacific Coast Hockey Academy in the Bantam Prep league. We have even included a goaltender as we gear up for our goalie edition later in July!

William McIsaac, Defenceman, West Vancouver Bantam Varsity

"William McIsaac plays an impressive complete game. He sports very good size and mobility with speed.  William likes to lead and/or join the offensive rush, but his instincts as a defenceman are solid which keeps him largely reliable. Vision is a key to William's game as he is almost always aware of where the puck is, his linemates are, and the opposition in all game situations. One of his other assets is his consistency each and every shift, which helps to make his teammates better. Not afraid to use his body to physically punish an opponent along the walls, in the corners, or in open ice - William makes his presence known from the opening face-off to the final horn as he plays each game with competitive fire! William played a fantastic game in the CSSHLBVL Championship game against BWC and while the Warriors were shorthanded on a 5-minute major, William made three tremendous defensive plays in a row to keep the puck out of his own zone. During that penalty kill, he was consistently sacrificing his body to and use up valuable time. His skating ability was apparent, using slick edgework and quick acceleration to antagonize and disrupt the opponent's rush. After watching several of William's games during the season I was sold on his 200-foot game, his ability to play both ways on even strength, with the man advantage, or short-handed equally well. There is no denying William's offensive impact either, as during one game in December he scored seven points (3 G,4 A) from the blueline. The way William competes during each game will likely make him a highly sought after pick in the 2021 WHL Draft as he continues to develop his game." - Phil Dietz

Cameron Sytsma, Defenceman, West Vancouver Bantam Varsity

"When watching the West Van Warriors Bantam Varsity this season it was clearly apparent their defence corps was a driver of their team's play. A huge part of that defensive success was due to the "clamp-down" coverage of big and mobile defenceman Cameron Sytsma. Cameron plays a grinding physical game that allows him to pick and choose his spots to throw a wrench into the best-laid plans of his opponents, dogging fleet-footed and puck-wizard forwards into uncharacteristic mistakes with his deft moves and brutal force. Cameron has steady balance and frustrates opponents by giving them little space or lanes to the net. The mentality which Cameron plays with enables him to exert his force and punish the opposition even if it results in a few trips to the penalty box. As the second-leading player on his team with 66 penalty minutes, Cameron is well known in the league and uses his reputation effectively to dissuade the opposition from taking liberties with some of his smaller teammates. That being said - even though Cameron uses his defensive skills to keep the opposition off the scoreboard, he features deceptive speed and a heavy shot that has him contributing offensively. Another asset Cameron provides, especially on the power play, is his sharp passing and ability to walk the line with his head up and eyes focused on where his teammates are and creating the opportunity for a quick seam pass or deflection in front of the net. Overall, Cameron uses his physical abilities with wisdom, his skating to separate himself from heavy checks, and his hockey sense allowing him to identify where he can make the most important play in any zone for the benefit of his team going either way. Another year of solid development will have his name called during the 2021 WHL Draft." - Phil Dietz

Jesse Heslop, Forward, Pacific Coast Bantam Prep

"Playing for the Pacific Coast Hockey Academy Sea Devils Bantam Prep Team, Jesse Heslop put together a great first season in CSSHL where he was fourth in team scoring. Heslop finished with just over a point per game with 8 goals and 23 assists for 31 points in 27 games. These numbers are fitting for Heslop as he is a pass-first offensive threat. His most developed asset at present is his ability to create chances for his teammates in a variety of ways. Whether it is on the rush, on the powerplay, or off of the cycle, Heslop is able to consistently find his open teammates for chances which shows his great vision, awareness and hockey intelligence. Heslop is a smart playmaker in his own zone as he can make his team’s breakouts more efficient. Heslop’s offensive game is helped by his great skating ability despite not being as physically developed as other players in the league. Able to hit top speed relatively quickly and able to maintain control of the puck all while keeping his head on a swivel to find the open man. His skating and explosiveness should develop well as he physically matures, and he will certainly benefit greatly from that. When Jesse does not find a pass, he does possess a quick and hard release that surprises goalies which is something he should look to utilize more often to become a more unpredictable threat in the offensive zone. Heslop’s numbers are quite impressive despite his current slight physical frame. Standing at only 5’3” and 113 pounds, Jesse has a lot of physical development to go through in order to make a bigger impact at both ends of the ice. As he develops, Heslop will need to become confident in adding some physical engagement to his game as he rarely takes the body against his opponents. Heslop will fit nicely into any lineup as he can play both wings in addition to filling in the center-ice position when needed." - Adam Goodwin

Brayden Burrows, Goalie, West Vancouver Bantam Varsity

"The West Vancouver Bantam Varsity Warriors had another promising goaltender in their stable who, even though small, plays as big as most of his peers when he's between the pipes. Many may look past Brayden Burrows due to his size at present, but he'll impress you with his athletic ability, work ethic, and focus that allows him to play much larger than his body. Last season, Brayden played 12 games in net for the juggernaut Warriors and lost only once in a 7-5 shootout, giving up 6 goals on 34 shots against the Burnaby Winter Club team that was chasing them for the lead in the league standings all year. That being said, however, Brayden continued working diligently on his game and improved greatly to flatten out his goals against for the rest of the season to finish with 2.44 GAA and .901 SV% during the regular season. As Brayden prepared for the playoffs, he played in three games and won all 3 with a 1.33 GAA and .943 SV%. With West Van playing Burnaby Winter Club again in the Championship Game of the CSSHL Bantam Varsity Division, Brayden stepped up his game especially in the final 7 minutes of the first frame when his Warriors team was shorthanded for almost seven consecutive minutes due to a five-minute major and two-minute minor penalties on back-to-back shifts! On several BWC rushes and high percentage shots during that time, Brayden kept his team in the game by making numerous highlight-reel saves with his glove and stick, stopping everything in sight! The second period started with West Van still on the penalty kill for a half minute and Brayden made one last save before the penalty expired, enabling his team to score right after for a 1-0 advantage. Two more West Van goals during the 2nd Period provided Brayden with a 3-0 lead before BWC struck for their first goal right before the period ended as he battled 32 of the 34 shots he faced in the game. Brayden Faced a scrambling BWC assault with another 12 shots in the 3rd Period, but stood on his head for the game and helped preserve a 4-3 victory and the Championship! With another year of growth and improvement in his skills, Brayden will look to build on a strong season and prove to teams that size isn't everything." - Adam Goodwin


See you next week!

Future Watch: 2021 Draft Eligibles (Part Four)

Week four of our future watch series brings you twins, Basil, twins! Jaxsin and Corbin Vaughan played big minutes for a surprising Pursuit of Excellence Bantam Prep team that won games over the top competition, despite a roster made up almost entirely of 2006-born players. We take a look at one of Pacific Coast's best draft-eligible players this year and talk about another couple of Bantam Varsity standouts who will also be looking to make a big splash in the Bantam Prep division.

Corbin Vaughan, Defenceman, Pursuit of Excellence Bantam Prep

"A strong, reliable two-way defenceman. Corbin has a strong understanding of how to use his body to eliminate opponents, protect the puck and create space for his teammates. A decent skater with better four-way mobility than his twin brother. Corbin is utilized in all situations from a shutdown role on the penalty kill to a facilitator on the powerplay. His puck skills are average in that he is good in some areas like carrying the puck around guys for a zone entry on occasion and protects the puck well, but does not hold a diversified arsenal of shots. Decent gap control and uses his reach and stick effectively at times. His decision making is rather conservative which shows his understanding of risk mitigation when it comes to moving the puck or picking his spot for a big hit. Overall, Corbin has the potential to do more from the backend especially in terms of engagement and activation. Corbin has the potential to be a more threatening and dynamic defenceman in transition with further development of his puck skills and skating. He shows flashes when handling the puck and has jumped in the play effectively at times. Should he develop his puck skills, including a threatening shot from the point and first pass, and find another gear, he will be one of the most effective all-around defencemen in the Bantam Prep league next season." - Zach Moffat

Jaxsin Vaughan, Center, Pursuit of Excellence Bantam Prep

"Built like a bull. Jaxsin plays a simple and reliable two-way style utilizing his spatial awareness. Physical in that he will occasionally land a big hit or eliminate a defenceman on the forecheck but also in that he is willing to play through the opposition creating space for his linemates. Willing to play the tough minutes and sacrifice for his team. Over the course of the season, Jaxsin developed his puck skills at speed and showed increased confidence with the puck against older, top-level competition. He drives his lanes and finds the soft spots around the net to capitalize on rebounds or provide a passing option for a linemate. He won't razzle-dazzle you, but he is capable of producing offensively and plays a style that makes him effective even when he's not contributing offensively. His size may have held back his foot speed this past season, should he become more explosive and find another gear for his top speed he will be a very difficult player to handle in this year's Bantam Prep division." - Zach Moffat

Ollie Josephson, Forward, Pacific Coast Hockey Academy Bantam Prep

"As a 13-year-old playing for the Pacific Coast Academy Bantam Prep team, Ollie Josephson showed promise of being a solid and reliable two-way forward. Second on his team in scoring behind only 2005-born Ty Halaburda (2020 2nd round pick, #32 overall by Vancouver Giants), Ollie averaged well over a point per game (1.28) and has a natural ability to play both ends of the ice at a high level. Ollie is a strong skater with quick first step acceleration which allows him to receive passes at top speed for dangerous up ice rushes. To go along with his great footspeed, Ollie is very agile and able to work his edges to leave opponents stumbling in pursuit. In the offensive zone, Ollie is more of a chance creator (27 assists in 29 games) both at even strength and on the powerplay, as he is able to set up teammates in prime scoring positions. Josephson is also gifted with smooth hands and a fantastic stickhandling ability which allows him to maneuver around opponents and keep possession. In addition to his offensive abilities, Ollie is very engaged and committed to playing a full 200-foot game. In his own zone, he shows great awareness, keeping his head on a swivel, with his eyes on both the puck carrier and potential scoring threats around him which allows him to anticipate and disrupt opponent zone time. This is in part due to his high-level compete in all areas of the ice whether it’s going to the net to score, taking a hit to make the safe play or his all-around engagement in the game. At 5’6 and 125 pounds, Ollie will certainly benefit from his physical maturation in the coming years and should allow him to take his game to the next level as the level of competition increases." - Adam Goodwin

Gabriel Guilbault, Defenceman, Burnaby Winter Club Bantam Varsity

"On the talented Burnaby Winter Club Bantam Varsity team this past season, strong-skating defenceman Gabriel Guilbault was the second-leading scorer among 12 players with at least a point-per-game average!  Through 30 games when the season was cut short, Gabriel scored 19 goals from the blue line and added 23 assists for 42 points with only 14 penalty minutes!  Stellar on the power play, Gabriel scored eight of his goals with the man advantage (tops on the team) with two game-winning goals.  His huge back-end presence was evident in helping BWC hold the opposition to less than two goals per game, and Gabriel was a solid defender on the penalty kill.  With his long reach and stick, Gabriel can poke check the puck out of scrums along the boards and in the corners quickly and reset for transition either way.  Physically strong and agile, Gabriel uses his body to his advantage - but fairly and with punishing force.  Because of his offensive skills with a hard and heavy shot with accuracy, Gabriel is a scoring threat from either point or closer in, effortlessly using his cruising ability to make space for crisp passes and the no-look snipe.  One of Gabriel's greatest assets is his endurance - he seems to be able to skate on multiple lines, double-shifts, and both powerplay and penalty kill even back-to-back without even appearing to look winded.  Working to stay active in positional play without the puck will be something to improve on this next season, but considering Gabriel's stamina, desire to learn, and work ethic, he will improve in all areas of his game and become a prized prospect for the 2021 WHL Draft." - Phil Dietz

Chase Valliant, Forward, West Vancouver Bantam Varsity

"On a team full of rising stars, one of the most impressive players is velvet-smooth skater, Chase Valliant!  A lightweight, but growing, center, Chase is hyper agile and bounces off contact like a pinball, quickly regaining his balance and speed. His change of direction while maintaining control of the puck is great and displays his relentless work ethic going to create magic at the net front. He attacks defenders head-on and is able to deceive them with his shoulders and force an overplay or sharply change direction to gain space. Another of his strengths is his puck skills, with a quick stick and eye-hand coordination, Chase not only controls the puck well but is consistent in the faceoff circle, setting up teammates ready for one-timers. In most cases on the breakout and pushing the rush, he makes very accurate lead passes which allow his teammates to gain and maintain top speed for a fast-paced game.  A relentless, tenacious center that utilizes his speed to cause havoc for the opposition and consistently produce offensive chances. With next season definitely bringing even more improvement and a heavier frame for more physical play, Chase looks to be a candidate to be taken in the first round." - Phil Dietz

See you for next week's edition of Future Watch!

Future Watch: 2021 Draft Eligibles (Part Three)

This week we planned on adding a couple of goalies to the list but have decided to do a feature for just goaltenders in a future edition. This week we take a look at a few more CSSHL Bantam Prep players before moving on to a duo of impact forwards from West Vancouver's Bantam Varsity squad and out east for a look at an under the radar prospect. Many of our groups' current reports are from CSSHL due to accessibility to video. If you have any video of your team or program's games that you would like to link to us, email us at scouting@dubnetwork.ca and help expand our reach in this long offseason!

Dryden Kuramoto, Forward, Burnaby Winter Club Bantam Prep

"Kuramoto has excellent skating ability, quick acceleration and is fluid at high speeds. He has a strong hockey IQ. His speed creates another layer of separation, outracing the opposition to loose pucks. He will play in the paint when necessary and isn’t afraid to mix it up in the dirty areas. He is able to get scoring opportunities while warding off defenders in close. He would benefit from being stronger on his feet to fight through more physical traffic effectively. Better puck control when deking through traffic would complement his excellent skating ability. He is deceptively fast and can catch the defence off guard with his quick acceleration. He skates hard for a full 60 mins. He possesses excellent forecheck skills, making good use of his speed. He tends to react to the game around him and could initiate more scoring opportunities consistently. Comparable to Kailer Yamamoto, in both size and aggressiveness. Excellent ability to change directions. His two-step acceleration is top-notch. He demonstrates a high level of maturity, avoiding unnecessary penalties and plays with integrity. His passing is crisp, and tape to tape consistently. Finds open areas of ice with ease, and this translates into scoring opportunities." - Paul Flores

Linden Burrett, Defenceman, Burnaby Winter Club Bantam Prep

"A native of Surrey, B.C. Linden Burrett is a puck-moving offensive defenseman. What stands out most about Burrett is his poise with the puck. Burrett has the ability to deal with opponent forechecks effectively and retain possession of the puck. With his clever use of body feints and great edgework, Burrett easily shakes off the pressure and in turn opens up acres of space for him to initiate the rush for his team. Burrett has a great first pass to get his team going in the right direction to start an attack in the offensive zone where he excels with his fantastic offensive instincts. Linden loves to jump into the rush whenever the opportunity arises where he will drive to the net and look for rebound scoring opportunities and can also create chances off the rush for teammates. Burrett holds the offensive blue line well and keeps the puck in to prolong zone time for his team by pouncing on smart pinch opportunities. In retreat, he is a great backwards skater, able to stay in front of the puck carrier which allows him to maintain a proper position to deal with opponent rushes. Burrett is incredibly versatile, able to play both sides of the ice and plays in all situations. In order to take his game to the next level, his forward skating will need some improvement as sometimes he cannot get back in time when his team’s rush is broken up. Also, as Burrett gets stronger, he will need to develop more physicality to deal with bigger players as he mostly relies on positioning and stickwork in his own zone." - Adam Goodwin

Ryder Ritchie, Forward, Pursuit of Excellence Bantam Prep

"Ritchie fits the bill as your prototypical small forward in today’s game, he’s an intelligent, high-skilled player with a motor that never turns off. Ritchie has good top speed with very-good acceleration and is able to use his hips and feet to evade defenders. He combines his shifty skating with deceptively good hands, making him a hard player to contain. As he grows into his body he should become a very effective player with the puck. His playmaking ability is strong as he makes solid forehand and backhand pass to set up teammates for prime opportunities. One of Ritchie's drawbacks is a lack of strength, which will surely develop with time. He is intelligent with his shot selection and to find open space, but doesn't currently have the power to finish outside the slot. His defensive zone relies a lot on his knowledge of the game and instincts, as he finds ways to block lanes and interrupt chances. His reliability in his own zone will only get better as he continues to develop and become even more relied upon by his coaches. As Ritchie goes into his second year his coach will rely on him a lot in all situations helping him develop in all aspects of the game. As his strength and shot take leaps next year look for a player who can be very dangerous in all situations." - Kaden Moore

Carson Wetsch, Forward, West Vancouver Warriors Bantam Varsity

"Carson Wetsch crafted an impressive stat resume as a first-year in the Bantam Varsity league. Carson led his team with 77 points and 67 penalty minutes in 29 games, showing not only a hot scoring touch but his physical presence as well. At 5'8", Carson stood out as a long, rangy forward in his league and used his size advantage to intimidate opponents at times. Carson is a very strong finisher who doesn't give up on the puck or the play - keeping his eyes moving and thinking ahead to reposition himself offensively and defensively. He reads and anticipates the play intelligently and can explode, either way, pushing the puck up the ice or making the long stretch pass to his teammates on the tape. A dogged defender using his stick to disrupt opponents passes and shots is a tenacious trait in an offensive winger like Carson.  He is strong on his skates and difficult to knock off the puck with his balance.  Even though Carson will certainly work on and improve his play away from the puck in his draft season, his continual motion and cycling mentality are what set him apart from other physical players. With another season putting in the effort, he should continue to excel among his peers and command a high first-round selection in 2021." - Phil Dietz

Diego Buttazzoni, Forward, West Vancouver Warriors Bantam Varsity

"Having watched several West Vancouver Warriors Bantam Varsity Games and their plethora of talented skaters, it's difficult to miss Diego. Diego Buttazzoni is a hard-driving, slick skating, two-way power forward who loves to mix it up in the trenches. In an effort to control the puck so as to move the play up ice in the offensive zone quickly to make chaos in front of the net. Diego is built like a stout fireplug on quick blades. Hard to knock off the puck or even off the check, Diego's low center-of-gravity, skating style and extreme balance make it difficult to remove him out of any play, offensively or defensively. His knack for making a blind pass to his teammates is sometimes a surprise to them on the rush or in tight when he's chasing the puck into the corners, but that smart, heady play many times pays huge dividends as his teammates have warmed up to his deceptive strategy that stuns on-rushing checkers who can't respond as quickly as he can escape trouble. The way Diego protects the puck and finds the open man with cross the seam passes is already an elite skill amongst his mostly bigger peers. His stick looks short but plays long in how Deigo plays defence with a quick-poke accuracy and lightning-fast reflexes. One of the most impressive skills Diego possesses is his motoring ability with quick feet skating north, south, east, or west with ease and elegance. When he stops - he's back up to speed in a stride or two and he outraces most of his opponents - especially when avoiding jams, double teams, and checks. I see Diego as a rock-solid, versatile forward who will make the difficult play look easy and keep his team in the game on every shift. With a possible growth spurt in the next year, I believe Diego will improve immensely and emerge as a high-end, early-round pick in the 2021 WHL Draft." - Phil Dietz

Ashton Tait, Forward, U15 Prince Albert Pirates

"Tait will enter this season with the U15 Prince Albert Pirates with high expectations after finishing last season 2nd on the team in scoring with 45 points in 31 games. Tait is an offensive catalyst with really strong puck skills. He has a potent wrist shot with a quick release. However, the strongest aspect of his game is his hockey sense.  In the offensive zone, he is quick to find seams and distributes the puck well. He’s not always the most noticeable player on the ice but more often than not his name is on the scoresheet multiple times. He isn’t a really physical player but has a good stick when defending. Currently, he projects to be selected around the third round in next year's WHL draft but if he grows he might find himself going higher." - Layne Lysitza

We will continue publishing Future Watch articles every Monday for the near future as our team prepares for their first season!

Future Watch: 2021 Draft Eligibles (Part Two)

Part two of our Future Watch series highlights five first-year bantam players that excelled against the older competition this past season and will look to be key leaders in the CSSHL's Bantam Prep league this upcoming season.

Jordan Gavin, Forward, Delta Green Bantam Prep

"Jordan Gavin is an effective player who has the capabilities of really excelling next season. A standout aspect of his game is his acceleration, he can really pull away from players with quick, explosive strides. Gavin's top speed is also difficult to keep up with as he plays a fast-paced game that the opposition has a difficult time keeping up with. He has good footwork that with some work into, it could really become a big selling point to his game. He has an accurate shot, however, the velocity of his shot can vary, this is something that could easily be developed over the off-season. In regards to moving with the puck, Jordan is able to keep up with his skating ability, he has good puck-work as well as puck protection allowing him to keep control even when he has a defender on him. Consistency in the delivery and reception of passes is something that could be improved in his game and will really highlight his mature vision and high hockey IQ. Gavin finds himself in the right position very frequently as he processes the game faster than most of his peers, allowing him an extra split second for decision making. When watching Jordan play his work ethic is evident, he races to loose pucks and rushes on the backcheck and on the forecheck. Jordan is willing to play physical and use his body to block shots, this is a very mature team-first attitude especially for his age. A very adaptable player who plays quality in whatever position that is asked of him, he has a well-developed powerplay that makes him stand out from his teammates. One of the best qualities of Gavin's game is his net-front presence. He gets in tight with the opposing defender pushing and battling to get his ideal positioning. This allows him to set up a good screen on the goaltender giving his team a better shot at goal. For a first-year bantam, Jordan Gavin really stands out on the ice. As he continues to develop and refine his puck skills he should be a top prospect at next year's draft."- Brayden Abbott

Gavin Garland, Forward, Delta Green Bantam Prep

"One of the top prospects heading into their Bantam Draft season, Gavin Garland is an explosive scoring center with the potential to become a relied upon two-way centerman. An explosive skater with great top speed, strong balance, and excellent mobility, Gavin punishes teams on the counter-attack and through the neutral zone. Capable of beating guys wide or driving hard through a crowded neutral zone, opponents need to be aware of him at all times. Gavin's puck skills are evident in his ability to both stickhandle through traffic and protect the puck while at speed. Added to the threat of his speed and attack on the rush is his solid ability to finish his chances. A quick and sometimes deceptive release allows Gavin to catch goaltenders off guard while mid-stride or stickhandle. When under pressure, even below his own red line, Gavin is able to maintain his composure and patience, making sure he makes the right play as opposed to a desperation play. While his compete is evident in all three zones as he is almost always the first forward helping his defencemen, he can tend to get puck focused in the defensive zone which causes him to over pursue the puck at times. Gavin will almost certainly develop his all-around game and be a top scorer next season as he transitions from EDGE Academy to the Delta Green Bantam Prep squad. Look for Gavin to become one of the best all-around centers in next year's Bantam Draft." - Zach Moffat

Reid Varkonyi, Forward, Northern Alberta Xtreme Bantam Prep

"Reid is a smooth-skating center who uses his strength and agility to get to higher-quality scoring positions rather than settling and putting the puck toward the crease.  His shot is a screamer and accuracy is what makes the difference as he puts the puck in difficult spots for the goalie to handle. What is also impressive is Reid's ability to stop on a dime and see what is in his peripherals and ahead of him in a split second.  In a late-season game against the Edge School Mountaineers, Reid was in his own zone with his back to the blue line when he intercepted a pass skating backward, immediately found his winger with a nice backhand pass sliding up ice behind him, turned and joined for a 2-on-1 rush as the trailer and then slapped in a deft return pass for the opening goal!  When it comes to his hockey IQ it's not necessarily off the charts, but as one of the younger players on the NAX team, Reid shows a lot of promise as he seems to read the ice well and is cognizant of his teammates' positioning.  Although his shooting skills are that of a scorer, Reid is a selfless playmaker who makes his linemates better. As Reid continues to grow he will be a much more forceful and physical presence on the ice, especially around the net where he loves to position himself to pounce on rebounds and loose pucks. In the face-off dot, his stick is quick and sure.  Heads up play is a skill that enables Reid to play in any situation as a multi-tool forward as he gets out of tight jams easily and quickly, using both his quick feet and stick along with a physical intelligence to avoid major contact.  With Reid's anticipated growth and the effort he puts forth consistently, he should improve tremendously through his draft season and quite possibly be a first-round selection." - Phil Dietz

Gavin Hodnett, Forward, RINK Nationals Bantam Prep

"Gavin Hodnett is a hard-working two-way forward. Hodnett is an effective skater, he has a nice stride that keeps him moving at a high speed. His first few steps show strong acceleration qualities that allow him to pull away from the defence when he's attacking and catch players when he's backchecking. Gavin also has good mobility, he showed aspects of great edgework and could stop and start effectively. His quality skating ability paired with his great work ethic allow him to play his role as a two-way forward at a high level. Hodnett delivers the puck well with his passing, he leads his man and doesn't give them a pass that is difficult to control. This leads in well to his playmaking ability. When on offence, Hodnett is imaginative and shows great vision for the game, this allows him to identify teammates in a better position to score. Gavin also shows the capability to read and react to the play, he has a great sense of what playing a good two-way game means, he gets himself in a position to transition into a counter-attack or a backcheck. He shows a well-developed mind when it comes to decision making, especially for his age, Gavin "cheats" into the offence at the right time and doesn't take bad risks. However, one thing Hodnett needs to work on is not getting caught out of position when he forechecks, he sometimes has a tendency to lose "formation", which can be a massive exploit when killing a penalty. Hodnett has good positioning on defence and always seems to keep his man in close, he doesn't get caught flat-footed and communicates his position well with his teammates. He can read the play well and can find opportunities to intercept a pass. A very positive aspect of Gavin's game is how he plays under pressure, he seems to not let it get to him and doesn't get him off his game. A big thing Gavin will need to address going into next season is his physical play, he tends to get caught "fishing" with his stick as opposed to taking the body, lots of times this is due to a lack of confidence which is shown in many first-year bantam players, especially those that are undersized. Finally, Hodnett showed quality leadership abilities and should be able to be a huge role player for his team next year as a veteran in the Bantam Prep division." - Brayden Abbott

Tomas Mrsic, Forward, Delta Green Hockey Academy

"For a temporarily undersized center, Tomas is a strong skater with high-end stickhandling and anticipation!  As one of the youngest players on his Delta Green Bantam Prep team, Tomas showed that he can battle with the best of the rest and hold his own in any situation. Not afraid to muck it up along the boards or in front of the net, Tomas uses his agility and shiftiness to navigate through heavy traffic and make the right play consistently, setting up teammates and keep the offensive play moving.  The way Tomas sees the passing lanes is pretty incredible for a player of his size and age while staying true to his positional territory. Tomas' ability to play all forward positions and appear comfortable on either side of the ice as he receives the puck equally well and distributes it quickly and accurately.  One of the skills that Tomas exhibits extremely well is moving in and around other players because of his size and speed while getting back into position for a smooth transition defensively or offensively.  Tomas does need to add some weight to be a more effective player against the bigger boys in the corners.  By pushing the puck up ice with his head on a swivel to anticipate where his teammates are or will be is another eye-popping skill of his. With another year's growth and experience, Tomas will likely be a much sought after early-round prize in the 2021 WHL Draft.  In this situation, the old cliche of 'Good things come in small packages' rings true!" - Phil Dietz


Next Monday, the team will highlight some more top prospects including some goaltenders!