November 3rd, 2018 – Calgary Royals at Fort Sask Rangers – 2-1 Royals
Alex Thacker (Swift Current Broncos) – Thacker looks much stronger with his lower body than he did in his bantam draft year. Continues to be a pass first style of player who plays with above average vision and can thread passes through complicated lanes. Thacker’s play away from the puck has changed, adhere’s to soft spots high in the offensive zone and looks to pounce on puck coming out of battles down low. He’s got translatable skill, quick hands he uses well to change the angle of his passes or to move around defenders. Hasn’t grown much but looks more stocky in his physique. Excellent poise in high pressure situations, in spots where an average player would cause a turnover, Alex would still be able to create an offensive opportunity out of it. Foot speed still needs work as well as shift by shift consistency.
Daron Cyr (Swift Current Broncos) – Quarterback’d his teams top power play unit. A puck moving defensemen who struggled at times executing simple puck handling plays. Cyr’s skating has improved, he drives more power in his stride. Good mobility on the blue line, can creep down into a hole in defensive coverage. Good outlet passes without pressure mounting. Struggled at times when pressure was force on him, a bit scramble. Displayed a lot of offensive tool’s, likely not a PP QB at the Junior level but a player who can provide offensive off the blue line and contribute heavily in a teams transitional game.
Jacob Boucher (Lethbridge Hurricanes) – Boucher’s skating hasn’t improved much since his bantam year, still strong enough to keep up to the WHL pace of play. Showed a tenacious mind set, doesn’t take short cuts to the puck and plays a high pressure style of game. Starting to round out his two-way game, played versatile minutes for his team on there top PP + PK units. Boucher plays tight on his defensive assignment, limits utilization. Biggest asset is his puck protection, Boucher’s heavy on the puck and can drive the net with power and speed. Ability to pull the puck quickly to his backhand. Battles hard along the wall, forces his way through contact.
Colton Dach (Saskatoon Blades) – Looks much taller and lanky than he did last season, still sleight and needs to tack on some weight. Dach likes to play on the defensive side of the puck, stays high in the offensive zone and reads developing offensive chances before pouncing into a scoring spot. Slippery in traffic and along the wall. Sneaky in nature, can cause turnovers with a long stick and quickly transition the puck. Tremendous puck handling in tight to his body that will translate well to the WHL game, and likely make him a player who will do damage around the net. Need’s to work on anticipating better defensively, can get caught puck watching and chasing the play, would like to see him pick up on reads and cut off options.
Matt Smith (Edmonton Oil Kings) – Provided a unique offensive aspect to the team’s blue line. Smith’s head up play on the blue line drove offensive possessions and he would constantly cut off outlet passes on the blue line. Started to look more comfortable controlling to his backhand side. Can still struggle with lateral mobility and discipline with his stick work defensively. Smith displayed the tools of a power play quarterback at the junior level.
Ashton McNelly (Swift Current Broncos) – A physical power forward, McNelly hits everything in site. Battles hard in corners and along the wall. A fearless winger who’s often first in on the forecheck. Didn’t drive a whole lot of offensive chances but his physical play would often open up more ice for his skilled centerman to exploit. Intimating presence on the ice.
Ben Zloty (Kootenay Ice) – Likely the elite defensemen in this game. A puck moving defensemen, Zloty displays translatable WHL tools. Could quickly react to different high pressure situations well with composure, poised with the puck and could read the situations quickly to make complicated passes look easy. Mobile side to side on the blue line to create different options with the puck. Makes excellent adjustments under pressure. Zloty plays with a calm demeanour, doesn’t get rattled nor feels suffocated with pressure. Anticipates very well in the neutral zone, analyzing where defenders are going to distribute to and cutting it off. Holds a tight gap defensively, and maintains a proactive stick. Fluids and purposeful with his movements, doesn’t over utilize his mobility, efficient with his skating. WHL level vision in his defensive zone, both with + without pressure he could make reliable first passes. Zloty can work on playing with more urgency/intensity defensively. Compatible to Max Lajoie.
Owen MacNeil (Spokane Chiefs) – Really rounded out his game well since last season. Still plays a perimeter style of game, his puck protection along the wall has translated to the Midget level well. Escapability to relieve pressure in all three zones with deceptive edge work and quick hands. Starting to develop an east-west style of game in the neutral zone, shows better efficiency in his zone entries. His vision from below the ringette line his above his age, generated a few offensive chances with slick puck movement. Skilled in corners. His face-off prowess was utilizes in defensive zone draws. Displayed defensive intensity when the puck was in close proximity of him, recovers well defensively. Would like to see him drive the middle of the ice more with his attack, and attack off the wall more. Work on adjusting to differing paces better.