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."

https://youtu.be/SpHriMAVLWY

"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."

https://youtu.be/I6qE84C_ik0

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!


WHL Bantam Draft: December Top 22 - #22 to #17

The Countdown Begins!

You've most probably read our 'Honorable Mentions' section already, but now it's time to get to the net-front and get a little nasty.

The 'December Top 22' is here!

Starting at #22 and ending with #1, this five-part release is intended to be informative, instructional, and borderline controversial; but in a good way!  This is just the beginning of our major 2020/21 coverage, IT ONLY GETS BETTER FROM HERE!

Our scouts have done a fantastic job in constructing what is a very thought out and well presented piece of work. Most importantly, the quality and care in each evaluation is evident. Something that DubNetwork Scouting prides itself on; this is our passion after all.

But enough talking, let's start off at #22 with Kaden's report on Burnaby's 'Mr. Reliable', Diego Buttazzoni.

 

 

22. Diego Buttazzoni #90 - Burnaby Winter Club

Kaden: "Buttazzoni is a very good two way forward who does all the little things right. He’s reliable and inserts himself in all areas of the game. Buttazzoni has a high IQ, reading, and anticipating plays exceptionally well. He makes his line-mates better by creating room on the ice with all the little unnoticed things he does extremely well. Buttazzoni has a good shot with the ability to finish when given the opportunity. He also has good vision and a smart clean passing ability to set teammates up. His skating is good as he has good speed and agility but can work on his separation speed to take his skating to the next level. Diego is one of those players who does everything well. He’s reliable and you will always know what you will get from him shift-to-shift. Buttazzoni is an all-around strong player who is good-to-very-good in most areas, he at times goes under the radar in games because he isn’t a flashy player but by no means does that mean he isn’t producing or helping his team out."

 

 

 

 

"Look for Diego Buttazzoni to take some parts of his game to a higher level to become more of a threat as he is already a very complete and reliable player on both ends of the ice."

 

21. Ollie Josephson #17 - Pacific Coast Hockey Academy

Zach: "One of the most sure-footed skaters in the draft. Ollie displays exceptional balance and power in his skating and easily creates separation from his peers."

 

 

"His high hockey IQ makes him an effective two-way center, although his anticipation and speed occasionally have him heading up ice ahead of the play. Not afraid to attack defenders or attack down the middle in traffic. He displays great spatial awareness, finding open spots in all areas of the ice, and presenting passing lanes for teammates."

 

"He has a very solid release and is able to get shots off rather quickly and accurately. Steady puck skills and stick handles at speed with relative ease, though there is room for development here as he could be more deceptive and manipulate his release points to be more effective. Currently, one of the more under-appreciated prospects in the class."

 

 

20. Gavin Hodnett #20 - Rink Hockey Academy Winnipeg

Brayden: "Gavin Hodnett is the imaginative two-way forward who likes to control the game with the puck on his stick. He is a team-first forward who has great vision, finding his teammates open and in scoring positions while feeding them with high-quality, easy to control passes. Hodnett has really developed his physical play in the past season and now effectively takes the body separating the opposing player away from the puck. Gavin is an elite two-way player with how he reads the play, transitioning effectively from defence to offence and vice-versa. He is the type of player that is always involved, like a fly that never leaves you alone, Hodnett is always doing something to make an impact on the game. He explodes through the neutral zone and can lose players in his first few strides with great acceleration. His mobility is efficient and he can stop/start on a dime."

 

 

 

 

"Gavin Hodnett is a full-ice magician who can create opportunities that you don't expect to see develop, taking advantage of his powerful skating, elite vision, and great hockey sense."

 

19. Carson Wetsch #9 - Burnaby Winter Club

Kaden: "Wetsch is a premier power forward with a very good raw skill-set to go with that role. Wetsch is an explosive bruising winger who isn’t afraid to use his body to block a shot, space the ice, or make a guy pay with a big hit. Wetsch has a very explosive first couple of strides. Although there is room for improvement with his agility and top speed to become a more dynamic skater. Wetsch’s shot is powerful and creates problems for goalies. His accuracy could use some work as he relies on his power to blow pucks by goalies. If he works on his puck placement and release, Wetsch will have a lethal shot at the higher levels. Wetsch’s vision on the ice is good, although he doesn’t have the highest IQ among his peers he puts himself in good spots to utilize his size capitalizing on opportunities; although at times he lacks that killer instinct to jump on those opportunities and finish on them."

 

 

 

 

"Wetsch has a raw skill-set with loads of potential. If he can become more consistent and learn how to fully take advantage of his explosive capabilities as well as refine his skating he will become an absolute force on the ice on both sides of the puck."

 

18. Dylan Duzan #20 - Notre Dame Hounds

Ash: "One of my personal favourites in this class, someone that I feel is criminally undervalued by other sources. Duzan is a promising young centre who is building a solid two-way base. Duzan positionally does everything required as a centre, he's malleable and plays a fantastic three-zone supportive role. Duzan works hard in his own zone, often battling below the goal line and around the net front for pucks. This is the very base that is the platform for his success as when he's in possession in his own zone, Duzan has the stickhandling and awareness to find the space to restart the rush. Duzan at this stage isn't a prolific north/south skater as he does have some work to do on his stride, so he's more inclined to pass out of the zone and trail the play working in space behind the first wave; this is where Duzan also shines. He has a great release and requires little space or time to get a clean shot off on net. Although he isn't a burner on his skates his timing and efforts to find space as a trailer are quite impressive. Even if he finds the space closing, Duzan is really clean on the puck and utilizes subtle trickery to create shooting lanes. He's also shown a great ability to use the boards and the corners to find space, something that I really like from a young player. He isn't afraid to back himself in to initiate contact and use his physical maturity and puck skills to find space under duress." 

 

 

 

 

"One of the slights on his game at this stage is that often his hands get too far out in front of his body and is prone to having pucks roll on him. On a few occasions, I'd noticed that his posture and hands were way ahead of his foot movements. Again, this is attributed to the lack of explosiveness in his stride and his base seems narrow. Shouldn't take too much to fix with some coaching and maturation."

"Duzan is a perfect example of an upside pick. He is a player with a multitude of translatable skills, some are still yet to flourish. It's of my opinion that once he gets his feet moving at the pace of his hands, more plays in transition will open up for him. Couple that with his shot and 200-foot awareness you're going to have one hell of a player." 

 

17. Cayden Lindstrom #22 - Delta Hockey Academy

Ash: "A physically mature forward with a good blend of speed, great scoring touch, and skill on the puck. Lindstrom isn't by any means a play driver, but what he does do well is use his frame and puck skills to complement playmaking forwards. He's hard on both the backcheck and forecheck and uses his reach and size through the neutral zone to disrupt passing lanes and to force attackers to the walls. Lindstrom has a subtleness to his offensive craft that can't be ignored. The ability to create in little space and his deft little head fakes and hip movements freeze defenders just long enough that he can stickhandle by them and get a good look on the net. Lindstrom also provides what you would call more so a typical power forward game. He gets into the corners and the dirty areas often but the advantage Lindstrom has is that he's not only more physical than a lot of his peers, but he's also more skilled too. He is able to retrieve and separate the puck from his direct opponent nearly at will and uses his sharp processing to make smart passes into the slot or back the point to restart the cycle. He has a good active stick in all three zones and defensively takes a lot of responsibility around the net-front and in the shooting lanes."

 

 

 

 

"Overall, there's a bunch of positives with Cayden. He's a big powerful kid who can skate, score and make physical plays. He has a great motor and never quits on plays, always seeking the puck out. For me though, he needs to work on being involved on the puck more often. Having someone like Gavin Garland spacing the ice for you is a massive bonus, I want to see him take over games and show consistently and confidently that he can blend all of his skills into a greater playmaking package."

That's All Folks.... Until Monday!

Thanks for reading part one of our countdown to revealing our Top #5, and ultimately #1 ranked prospect for 2020/21.

Ranked prospects #16 - #11 will be live on the page this Monday, the 21st of December.

We hope you enjoyed the first part of our countdown! Don't be afraid to share and discuss!

 


WHL Bantam Draft: December Top 22 - Honorable Mentions

Disclaimer: These rankings are based on the players we have viewed sufficiently both live and on tape. This draft class currently has a large number of players worthy of first-round consideration and some of those we, unfortunately, have not been able to view enough given the current climate. Perceived omissions are not a slight at any draft-eligible prospects or programs. We look forward to 2021 when these players can hit the ice again to develop and chase their dreams.

Pandemic and difficulties aside, our scouting team has knuckled down and produced this beauty! 

Given the number of games played within the current format, we felt more comfortable producing a top 22 with honorable mentions as to this day, sample sizes and viewings are limited. In fairness to the respective competitions, their teams and players; critiquing hundreds of players based on small workloads isn't simply fair at this stage. However, we do feel confident in this list as we have sufficient viewings both live and on tape of the players mentioned. We feel these players at this stage have produced consistently and have shown fantastic growth from previous seasons, earning their place within the Top 22. We are going to release more comprehensive rankings closer to the draft; with videos, reports and data! DUBNetwork Scouting's goal is to deliver the best coverage at the appropriate time.

Our December Top 22 will be released over five parts, released on Mondays and Fridays, eventually finishing with our top five prospects;  a bit of anticipation never hurt anyone after all!

This edition will include the "Honorable Mentions." Prospects that are well and truly knocking on the door of first-round consideration that couldn't squeeze in and are solid late first/early second talents. 

Honorable Mentions:

 

 

Logan Henley - Fort Saskatchewan Rangers U15 AAA

Ash Glover: "A mature bodied defenseman, Henley showcases superb elusiveness in transition. He is able to generate speed by way of linear crossovers and by leg strength alone, seeing him create separation with minimal effort."

"He has a great change of pace and his edgework is competent. Some dorsiflexion work and time spent elongating his stride will aid in more consistent movements across his shifts. Henley has a great read as to where the spaces are around him and displays a good understanding of how to use both his skating and size to force himself through holes through middle-ice and along the wall."

"Henley plays well in the cycle and when zone entries don't present themselves plays an effective dump and chase, making use of his frame and speed getting in deep. Shows good stickhandling when in space and has clean hands around the net front. He possesses a good wrist shot, his slap shot and control from range is still developing. Good gap control and effective stick discipline allow him to keep attackers to the outside. Has a good nose for sniffing out passing lanes, anticipating entry angles and closing attackers down."

"Does show some indecision under duress below the goal-line, doesn't utilize the boards as much as he should and can be prone to pushing pucks into the slot areas."

"Overall Henley is a very raw talent but he has a very intriguing skill-set that will only improve as he matures. Defensive prospects who combine good skating, play a physical brand of hockey and are a legitimate scoring danger don't come along too often. Keep you're on him as the season goes."

 

Roger McQueen - Saskatoon Stallions U15 AA

Zach Moffat: "Unique blend of size, mobility, and versatility. A fluid mover that is deployed in all situations by his team. Operates the point or half-wall on the powerplay. He has a layer of skill that few his size has at this age and he appears comfortable in his frame despite the sudden growth spurt. Good hockey IQ in his reads and ability to support down low as he is not afraid to come below the goal line to win a battle and get into transition quickly. Decent puck skills, especially in stride for a prospect of his height."

"There is a strong foundation here to develop a solid all-around player at the next level. It will be interesting to see how his game changes as he fills out and will need to better utilize his size in a more physically demanding environment. Opportunity for improvement with his start/stop as he tends to circle away from the puck to maintain positioning, forcing him to turn his back on the play at times which also limits the effectiveness of his reads. He’s ahead of the game being a late birthday and already this comfortable in his frame."

Ryder Ritchie  - Rink Hockey Academy (Kelowna) U15 Prep

Kaden Moore: "Ritchie is a highly-skilled forward with high compete levels and battles tremendously hard finding ways to win puck battles. Ritchie has very good senses on both sides of the puck as is developing a nice two-way style. He uses his offensive acumen combined with a really good set of hands in-tight and a quick release to get himself in good areas to get the puck and capitalize."

"This makes Ritchie an offensive threat at all times as he’s deceptive with the puck, pulling it into his body to move around a defender then shooting it mid-move, throwing both defender and goalie off."

"Ritchie's shot and hands aren’t his only threat as he has good vision setting guys up to score. Ritchie's skating is at a good level. He's small, slippery with good north/south skating and good separation speed, as well as very good movements east/west. Ritchie uses his hips and edges to get under and around guys to leverage his way around the ice and create space with the puck. Ritchie's defensive game is good as he’s reliable and hard-working, never giving up on a play. Ritchie has put size on since last season and will only continue to grow. He’s yet to fill into his body and adding that strength will make him an elite difference-maker on the ice."

Landon Cowper - Rink Hockey Academy (Kelowna) U15 Prep

Kaden Moore: "Cowper is not a sexy defenseman by any means but he gets the job done super effectively, think Evan Bouchard. Cowper’s skating is very good with a good north/south speed but at this stage is still lacking a separation ability. He has very good east/west skating ability with edge work that allows him to throw off and evade opposing players with ease, allowing him to create space for himself somewhat offsetting his speed within his first strides."

"Cowper passing ability is high-end; he makes great tape-to-tape break out passes and can thread the puck through small seams to create offensive chances."

"Cowper’s shot from the point has a way of getting through traffic and finding its way onto the net, creating scoring chances. Cowper has a good stick and makes smart pinches to keep plays alive. Cowper’s spacing and anticipation on the ice are very good and uses it to his advantage on both sides of the puck. Cowper's strengths however are more so offensive; he works well in the offensive zone and can run the powerplay. Cowper’s defensive abilities aren’t a hindrance to his team as he pulls his weight in his own end,  but by no means is he a shutdown defender. He does however skate into lanes and proves disruptive in the neutral zone, often generating offence."

"Cowper’s tool-set makes him an effective offensive defender with tremendous transitional abilities who can run your powerplay and drive offensive."

 

Jonas Woo - Winnipeg Warriors U15 AAA

Brayden Abbott: "Jonas Woo is the heads up offensive defenceman that teams go crazy for. He accelerates through the neutral zone and deceives the opposing defenders by utilizing his mobility through quick cuts and shoulder fakes. Woo plays hard through each shift and is always looking to make an impact on the play, whether it is with a pass, a bit hit, or a goal."

 

 

"Woo has very mature positioning for his age, he pinches at the right time and rarely gets caught trying to cheat up ice. Playing a team-first game Woo keeps his head on a swivel trying to find the best option rather than rushing a play that isn't there."

"In the defensive zone, Jonas covers the slot well and is quite scrappy on the walls battling to win loose pucks. Woo is the all-around defensive package as he takes advantage of his elusive skating, physical play, and vision to become a threat in every aspect of the game."

Linden Burrett - Burnaby Winter Club U15 Prep

Ash Glover: "A skillful defender, Burrett excels as being a great first option and link-up player from the back-end. Evasive in all three zones, Burrett proves to be a handful for forecheckers, back checkers and can have it his own way in transition. He provides great momentum from the back-end by way of crisp exit passes or by his ability to evade oncoming forecheckers and start the rush. He works well in the cycle and can maneuver in tight spaces, extending play for his teammates."

"Burrett has good senses when to pinch and jumps deep into the offensive zone regularly. He has the ability to control the pace of the game in the cycle and isn't limited to being stuck to one side of the ice. Burrett has a good nose for creating space on the boards and generating offence off of it."

"Burrett is a good skater who has good edges and good technique. Whilst he may lack elite top-end speed, he has a fluid stride and can move laterally well with power and his backwards skating is impressive. Defensively he positions himself well and skates square-on to oncoming attackers."

"One of the areas I'd like to see improvement in is his physicality and ability to cope with bigger bodies. Burrett senses pressures and often rushes his possessions, leading to errors."

"He also struggles at times with angles and how he attacks defenders, often cramping himself for room. Burrett is a reliable puck mover who in time can become a more reliable two-way player."

Full Steam Ahead

Thanks for reading part one of our December Top 22 featuring some of the best U15 prospects of this year's draft class. We hope you come back this Friday to check out numbers 22 through 17. We look forward to sharing more content featuring video and media to give you better insights into these promising young players! Like these players, we are going to do our best with what this season gives us and we are happy to have you be a part of our journey.


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!