The Scouting News is pleased to release our year end WHL bantam draft top 250 player prospect rankings. The list was compiled for us this year by former WHL scout Sean Wilson (Saskatoon Blades, Prince Albert Raiders and Seattle Thunderbirds). Sean was in attendance this season evaluating players in person at all major tournaments, as well as the BC Cup, Alberta Cup, SaskFirst and the Hockey Manitoba POE's. A few players with very intriguing rankings in Sean's final list include the likes of late season risers Tyler Popowich, Paycen Bjorklund, Caiden Daley, Eric Florchuk, Ryan Chyzowski, Eli Zummack, Kaleb Bulych, Cole Clayton and many others of note.
Have we missed a player? Is there a player you want to see featured? Tell us more ...
We're always interested in interviewing and podcasting guest players, coaches, scouts, agents, advisors, managers, media and other sports related figures.
The best defenseman in Major Midget hockey this season in Nova Scotia has unquestionably been Jared McIssac (F, Cole Harbour, 6'01", 180)!
In the past fifteen years The Scouting News has exclusively interviewed many of the games brightest stars FIRST (long before they were stars)! The alumni list the likes of John Carlson, Cam Fowler, Alex Pietrangelo, Kevin Shattenkirk, Aaron Ekblad, Torey Krug, Micheal Del Zotto, Eric Johnson, Morgan Reilly, Ryan McDonagh, Seth Jones and a ton of others, and today we're proud to introduce you to a future star, who'll one day be a high NHL first round draft pick, Bode Wilde, a huge 6'3", 184 pounds defender with a big shot, size, skill and offensive smarts (70 points in 57 games this season) to boot!
Everyone seems to be all over the place this year when it comes to the long term outlook for Ryan Merkley (D Toronto Junior Canadians 2000) so we sought to find the one common denominator today by asking an informed source to narrow all the varied feedback down to the four conclusive queries, such as (a) Is he as good as Sean Day at the same age, (b) What sets him apart as a player prospect, (c) Is he the consensus best player in the draft, (d) Does he have NHL draft upside?
Every OHL and NCAA D1 team dreams of having a player like Busby (Right Defence, Don Mills Flyers, 2000, 5'10", 167) in the lineup. Intense hustlers on the back end, who impose their will around the zone, corral the puck effectively, make a great first pass while also being mobile, intelligent and gifted enough to keep up with the teams best forwards and mount lethal offensive forays are always in demand, and, in our book, Dennis exemplifies all these qualities to a tee!
One scout tells us why he believes Joseph Veleno (F, Lions Du LSL) will one day be a NHL first round draft selection!
One scout delineated the long term upside (career projection) of Akil Thomas (Toronto Marlies, 2000, Forward) for us today by elaborating on the following (a) Is he a top five player for the draft based on his skillsets and raw speed alone, (b) Will he show up to report in the OHL, or will he head to college (he's a smart kid, with IVY league grades), (c) In terms of character, why do many scouts believe he's a can't miss prospect?
There is no other way to put it, Derek Seguin (2000, Timmins Bantam AAA Eagles, 5'10, 165) has been assertive enough this year in MANY aspects to convince scouts he is a legitimate top two round draft contender. This hardworking, skilled and speedy forward really put himself on the map at the Big Nickel International Tournament, and many believe he may have been even higher on our rankings list if he wasn't playing in an isolated Northern Ontario locale.
We'll go on the record today and state the following, if Shepard (F, NSWC Winterhawks, 5'7, 145, 2000) was 4 or 5 inches taller we would be talking about him as a top ten WHL bantam draft pick for the 2015 draft right here, right now. Generally teams aren't keen on selecting smaller forwards, however, we don't see Jackson getting passed up by to many teams on draft day 2015, because he's a safe bet for next level success with his old school Butch Goring and Ken Linseman style of game!
A WHL team that drafts Chorney's (RD Edge Mountaineers, 5'11, 186) in the first round of the 2015 process will be getting, in our opinion, the biggest sleeper prospect of the first round! Few players in the 2000 age group in Canada have improved as much as Austin has over the past twenty months. If this rapid progress continues it would not be out of the question to one day see this player high on the projected 2018 NHL draft list! Why are we so certain that long term success is inevitable for this player? First and foremost, we can see his base has been set up tremendously, and we believe his projectable pro stride and the ability to cover ground in all directions will serve as a great developmental foundation for building other aspects of his game moving forward (after all, it all starts with the athleticism, and hips)!