Friday, April 13, 2012

WHL Top 20 2012 Draft Eligibles Final Rankings

WHL 2012 Draft Eligible Top 20:

1) Ryan Murray D Everett - Ryan Murray's year was one of broken segments. Suffered a high ankle sprain before the new year, recovered enough to play in the U-20s as an underager for Team Canada and played OK, with some flaky moments. Finished the year strong with an undermanned Everett team. Murray's best attribute is his brain and the way he can seamlessly read plays. Very much has a calm composure to his game. Top pairing Dman in the making. Remains likely to be the first WHL player taken in the upcoming draft. Last Rank: #1

2) Mathew Dumba D Red Deer - Dumba continues to be what he is, looking to make a big impact all over the ice, either through big hits, big shots or making crisp break out passes. I continue to worry about his defensive play as well as his ability to stand up to the rigor considering his style of play. Dumba is a bundle of energy that some team will have get focused. Very much an improvisor on the ice. Dumba is currently team captain of Team Canada U-18 team. Dumba's team in Red Deer failed to make the playoffs in a tough Eastern Conference, I had higher hopes for their team. Last Rank: #2

3) Morgan Rielly D Moose Jaw - Continues to rehab from a torn ACL that put his season on the shelf back in November. Offensive dynamo that can skate miles from the backend. Excellent surveyor of the ice that has a great feel for how to set the tempo for his team. Defensive play may be questionable due to a shorter stature, but makes up for it with quick footwork. Rielly's Moose Jaw team is still alive in the WHL playoffs for the moment and is looking to get back into action for the next round. Last Rank: #3

4) Griffin Reinhart D Edmonton - Reinhart continues to be a prospect that you wish just could be physical more often. Alas, he is not that player, but he brings a pleathora of other tools that make him a very effective player on the ice. He owns a cannon from the point, makes good first passes and is equally effective in the offensive and defensive ends. The only thing in question is whether or not his head is into every play. Reinhart's offesive game really came around in the 2nd half of the season. Doesn't have enough of a shutdown element as one would like. His stature and modest mobility makes him very attractive to scouts. Last rank: #5

5) Cody Corbett D Edmonton - Corbett, since he has arrived in Edmonton, has grown exponentially as a player. Corbett owns a cannon from the point, runs a power play really well, plays tough in the corners and doesn't get caught out of position often. Corbett hasn't had the opportunity to show more of his offensive ability as he plays more of a defensive role on the Oil Kings. As it stands right now, he's rock solid defensively with the potential of some solid offensive potential. Last Rank: #4

6) Henrik Samuelsson C/RW Edmonton - Samuelsson completes the trifecta from the Oil Kings. Samuelsson is a mid season pickup for the Oil Kings from Sweden. American born player that doesn't hurt the import ratio. A stellar find for the Oil Kings. Very much a mule type player that does a lot of heavy lifting on the ice. Does his best work from below the hashmarks and around the net. Anyone looking for an around the net type scorer that competes physically should look the way of Samuelsson. A perfect complimentary player for smaller skilled forwards. Versatile player that can play either center or the wing. Last Rank: #6

7) Derrick Pouliot D Portland - Pouliot, once considered part of the "big 5" has slipped into the second tier of WHL players, in my eyes. An offensive dynamo, especially on the power play, where he can put up big chunks of points on the back end. His puckmoving and vision are his biggest strengths. Pouliot's defensive play is a little lacking. Misreads and s general lack of strength are causes for concern in the defensive end. Last Rank: #9

8) Damon Severson D Kelowna - Severson is very much cut of the Mark Pysyk mould where he is very dependable at both ends of the ice. As he continues to get more experience, he should become a top flight Dman in the WHL. Not a flashy player, but he just does the right things on the ice, including sticking up for teammates. A very good all around player. Getting a look for Team Canada at the U-18s in a defensive role. Really filled out his frame this year, which bodes well for him. Last Rank: #7

9) Colton Sissons RW Kelowna - Sissons continues to score and be a power forward type. His ceiling will be dependent on how much he scores. He is 2nd on his Kelowna team with 26 goals but also is a team worst -13. Getting first line time in Kelowna, so he may be in over his head at the moment but there is room for him to develop. Fearsome hitter on the forecheck. Should be highly sought after come draft day. Has the potential to become a scoring power forward. Last Rank: #8

10) Dalton Thrower D Saskatoon - Thrower has really added some offensive dimension to his game over the season. Finished with 54 points over 66 games. Continues to be a tough as nails, take no guff type defender. Throws big hits and is constantly in scrums. Still needs to mentally mature as a defender and understand whats needed to become successful. Needs to improve hockey IQ but has worked on setting better tempo for his team over the 2nd half. Could be a potential late first rounder, but more likely to be a 2nd rounder. Lots of untapped potential here. Last Rank: #10

11) Tim Bozon LW Kamloops - Bozon continues to be a strong complementary player on a strong Kamloops team. Bozon continues with his above average two-way play. Not a lot of flash in his game but beings solid work ethic and a penchant for making the right play. Knows what to do with the puck when he is around the net. Bozon will be a solid 2nd to 3rd round draft pick for anyone looking for an all around player. Plays a very pesky style. Last Rank: #11

12) Mike Winther C Prince Albert - Winther had a strong offensive season on a weak Prince Albert team. Has established himself as an offensive go to player. Winther is a dynamite skater that has done a better job of picking up pucks around the net, a big reason for his goal totals being up. A solid two-way type, but a bit undersized. Always seems to be in the battle despite his size. Last Rank: #15

13) Coda Gordon RW Swift Current - Gordon plays a very cerebral, opportunistic type game. Vultures on other teams mistakes. Great finisher around the net. Has a nice frame on him but needs to get stronger for the next level. His skating is average but his hands are above average. His Swift Current Broncos missed the playoffs this year. Last Rank: #12

14) Lukas Sutter C Saskatoon - Plays like a typical Sutter, tenacious and in your face. Has really picked up his offensive game this year, finishing with 5 points in 70 games. Plays in a variety of roles with the Saskatoon team. Built like a fire hydrant and can handle the rigors of the long haul. Has really put it all together this year. At minimum, an agitating type center of the future. Last Rank: #14

15) Troy Bourke LW Prince George - Bourke finished the year on a small high as he found a bit of his offensive game but all in all an underachieving year for him and the Cougars. Bourke is a highly skilled player that does not have much of a supporting cast. Bourke has drawn comparisions to a Zach Parise type, a shifty player that makes plays happen in the offensive zone. There is a pretty good player here but one that clearly cannot carry a team. Very shifty in the offensive zone. Last Rank: #13

16) Mitch Moroz LW Edmonton - The lone newcomer to the list. Moroz's offensive game has come around over the 2nd half of the season. Moroz started the year as a pugilist/energy player but as the season as gone on, he has been placed in more offensive roles and has flourished under that. Moroz has a lot of work to do on his skating but his size and willingness has really caught my eye. To go along with some goal scoring ability, makes him very attractive come draft day. Last Rank: NR

17) Brendan Troock RW Seattle - Troock makes this list strictly on potential. He had a less than stellar season overall. Scored the winning goal at the prospects game, but otherwise had a very lacklustre year. He missed four weeks in December with a broken rib. All that being said, he very much has the look of a power forward. Needs to work on strength and smarts but the frame and speed is there. Will be very much a project for the team that drafts him. Seattle did not make the playoffs, so he did not get a longer look. Last Rank: #18

18) Dominik Volek LW Regina - After a strong start, the numbers tailed off in the 2nd half for Volek much like the hot start of his team. Volek is still a solid prospect that looks to have hit a wall, with the grind that the schedule brings to most of the import types. Volek is a graceful skater with a quick release when he on his game. Doesn't mind mixing it up, but I'm not sure if he has the body type to handle it over the long haul. Finished the year with 32 points over 70 games. Last Rank: #16

19) Brendan Leipsic C Portland - Leipsic, much like his Portland team, has had a lot of ups and downs this year. When he's on, he's great, when he's off, he's invisible. Pint-sized offensive wizard that can really skate and handle the puck, but lacks strength to handle the corners or the front of the net. Leipsic looks to be more of a gamble as the season goes on. Has made little contribution to Portland's strong post season run. Last Rank: #17

20) Chandler Stephenson LW Regina - Stephenson's year has been one of wild inconstancy. He has a better 2nd half offensively after a very slow start to the year, finishing the year with 42 points in 55 games. Stephenson is a very good offensive player but one questions his dedication at times. Smallish player that is built like a fire hydrant. As Regina has cooled off, his play has picked up, a good sign for Stephenson. Last Rank: #20

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