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!