Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My WHL Player Rankings For The 2012 NHL Draft: Part Two

Ok, here is part two of my WHL rankings ahead of the 2012 NHL Draft.  I kicked it off yesterday with the players I had ranked from 31st-50th, then honourable mentions.  For today, we will look at the players that I have ranked from 16th-30th.

As I mentioned yesterday, the NHL comparables aren't career projections. The comparisons are only used to allow the reader to picture what the player looks like on the ice, relative to his WHL competition.

So here we go with the WHL players I have ranked from 16th to 31st:

#16 - Branden Troock - Seattle Thunderbirds - RW - 

Troock is a big bodied forward who plays physical, has a nose for the net and can finish. He's got a hard shot and skates well for someone of his size and stature.  A pretty well rounded player but still pretty raw considering he missed much of the last two seasons with various injuries. Strong showing at both the Top Prospects game and for Canada at the Under 18's.

NHL Style Comparable:  Blake Wheeler

Top End Potential: Top 6 Winger

Pick Prediction: 4th Round

 #17 - Mitch Moroz - Edmonton Oil Kings - LW -

Moroz is a well rounded forward for the Oil Kings.  He hits, he fights, he scores.  I've compared him to Kyle Clifford with the Kings, but I think his offensive game might translate to the NHL better than Clifford's.  He's got a good shot, pretty good passing ability and has been one of the biggest WHL risers throughout the season.  I like him more than many others might. 

NHL Style Comparable: Scott Hartnell

Top End Potential: Top 9 Forward

Pick Prediction: 5th Round

#18 - Jaynen Rissling - Calgary Hitmen - LD - 

Rissling is a big-bodied, two way defender.  Skates well for his frame, he reads the play very well at both ends of the ice and plays with a nasty edge to his game.  His size is a very appealing asset at 6'4.  I had high expectations for him after watching him play very well last season as a 16 year old, and those expectations weren't realized as well I has I had hoped.  Late last season I thought he might have a chance to creep into the 'big 5' talk in regards to top WHL D eligible in 2012.

NHL Style Comparable:  Brad Stuart

Top End Potential: Top 4 Defenceman

Pick Prediction: 5th Round

#19 - Chandler Stephenson - Regina Pats - LW - 

Stephenson is solidly built goal scorer for the Pats.  He's not the tallest guy, but he's thick and protects the puck well. He has great hands, but has issues with consistently going to the dirty areas of the ice.  Skating has shown improvement but could still use refining to play at the NHL level.  Started the year as a potential 1st rounder in some people's eyes, but I have him as a late 3rd or early 4th.

NHL Style Comparable:  Jiri Hudler

Top End Potential: Top 6 Winger

Pick Prediction: 4th Round

#20 - Cody Corbett - Edmonton Oil Kings - LD - 

Corbett made the smooth transition from the United States to the WHL during the season. Plays mostly a defensive game and makes few mistakes. But, he also makes solid outlet passes, has a hard shot and is a pretty good skater. He did struggle in the WHL playoffs, something that you wouldn't have been able to forsee considering how mistake-free he was in my viewings. I don't see a ton of offensive potential for the NHL level but I like him as a safe pick inside the top 120. 

NHL Style Comparable:  Dan Hamhuis

Top End Potential: Top 4 Defenceman

Pick Prediction: 4th Round

#21 - Ryan Olsen - Kelowna Rockets - RC - 

Olsen is a big, strong-skating centre who was traded from the Saskatoon Blades to the Rockets this offseason. He experienced big-time ups and downs this season but has great raw potential.  Started to play more physical in the second half, using his 6'3 frame.  Has pretty good hands around the goal but will need several years to realize his full potential.  I like him as a very good 4th round choice, but could go anywhere from round three to round seven.

NHL Style Comparable:  Ryan Getzlaf

Top End Potential: #2 Centre

Pick Prediction: 5th Round

#22 - Chris Driedger - Calgary Hitmen - G - 

Driedger is my top ranked WHL goalie, despite having seen him struggle off and on all season. He has fairly good technical skills and good size, but he battled with consistency all year. Will be counted on as a true number one goalie, thanks to Calgary dealing co-starter Brandon Glover this offseason. A good value pick if he goes in the 5th round or later, despite needing work in the mental aspect of the game.

NHL Style Comparable:  Cam Ward

Top End Potential: Average NHL Starter

Pick Prediction: 5th Round

#23 - Carter Rigby - Kelowna Rockets - LW - 

Rigby is a solid two-way forward that is built like a tank. He throws his weight around, isn't afraid to rough it up and also can score.  Is a very strong skater for a guy listed at 210 pounds.  I have seen him play the point on the PP and he is also a solid player in his own zone.  I like him as a 4th round choice, but I am not sure how he's valued elsewhere.

NHL Style Comparable:  Ryan Malone

Top End Potential: Top 3 Winger

Pick Prediction: 6th Round

#24 - Logan McVeigh - Prince Albert Raiders - LW - 

McVeigh is an offensive forward for the Raiders. He has an awkward skating stride, but I like his potential. He has good hands and isn't afraid to get dirty to get on the board. Transitioned well after a trade to the Raiders last year and will see key minutes with top end players in Winther and McNeill going forward.  Has played both wing and centre, but I like him more as a winger because of his skating.

NHL Style Comparable:  A left handed Michael Ryder

Top End Potential: Top 9 Winger

Pick Prediction: 6th Round

#25 - Dominik Volek - Regina Pats - LW - 

Volek is a player who I've had trouble ranking throughout the season. He hits, he's a good skater and he likes to try and get involved in the offence. But, his offensive production declined down the stretch and he never seemed to fit into their lineup, despite his versatility.  He had his fair share off offensive chances in my viewings, he just never seemed to be able to get on the board. It also sounds like he signed with a Jr. club in Sweden this year and might be leaving the CHL. Is the son of former NHL player David Volek. 

NHL Style Comparable:  Kris Kunitz

Top End Potential: 2nd Line Winger

Pick Prediction: 5th Round

#26 - Cain Franson - Vancouver Giants - LC -

Franson is a big kid who has a great shot and scoring touch. He is my highest ranked WHL overager after putting up 27 goals this season.  He's a bit of an awkward skater but doesn't have any problem getting to the right areas on the ice and finishing off plays.  Needs to add weight and get stronger.

NHL Style Comparable: Erik Cole 

Top End Potential: 2nd Line Winger

Pick Prediction: 6th Round

#27 - Travis Brown - Moose Jaw Warriors - LD - 

Brown is a big, strong skating defender for Moose Jaw. He's a solid skater, moves the puck well and plays with an edge. Benefited from playing more minutes as the season went on and also had a strong postseason.  Projects as a bottom pairing blueliner, but still pretty raw and will benefit from even more minutes next season.

NHL Style Comparable:  Kyle Quincey

Top End Potential: Borderline Top 4 Defenceman

Pick Prediction: 6th Round

#28 - Andrey Makarov - Saskatoon Blades - G - 

Makarov is an overage Russian goaltender who had a great first season with the Saskatoon Blades. He's very athletic, has a great glove, is very raw but is a workable asset.  He needs to improve his overall consistency and work ethic going forward.  Will be counted on big time as the starter for the Blades, who host the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup. 

NHL Style Comparable:  Evgeni Nabokov

Top End Potential: Average NHL Starter

Pick Prediction: 5th Round

#29 - Brendan Leipsic - Portland Winterhawks - LC -   

Leipsic is a small, but highly-skilled offensive forward for the Winterhawks. He's got very high end hands and isn't afraid to mix up things and get dirty, despite his size. Likes to play the role of an agitator, but can also hurt teams on the scoreboard.  Had a very good playoff run for Portland and will be relied upon big time next season with the likely departure of Sven Baertschi.  Not sure how he's valued out there, but his size is the big knock. I like him as a 4th rounder, likely to be taken in the 6th or 7th, if at all.

NHL Style Comparable:  A left handed Andrew Shaw

Top End Potential: 2nd Line Forward

Pick Prediction: 7th Round

#30 - Graham Black - Swift Current Broncos - LC - 

Black is a two way centre for the Broncos. He showed solid offensive skills this year as a rookie, is a great skater, but his best value comes on the defensive side of the puck. Good on draws and very responsible all over the ice.  Has a good frame to grow in to. I value him as an early 5th rounder.

NHL Style Comparable:  Chris Kelly

Top End Potential: 3rd Line Centre

Pick Prediction: 6th Round

Later this week I will unveil my top 15. Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

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