Peyton McKenzie (Moose Jaw Warriors) – A skilled individual who had flashes of high end offensive play in this game. McKenzie offensive IQ is through the roof, his patience to allow developing offensive chances happen and allow the puck to do the work was really on full display. Shows urgency without the puck to finds space for himself in the offensive zone. Crafty and WHL level skill’s with the puck. Offensively driven winger who likes to be a difference maker with production. His work ethic struggled at times as he would look frustrated when bounces didn’t go his way.
Sean Tschigerl (Calgary Hitmen) – Tschigerl really displayed the traits that made him one of the top forwards in Western Canada, just being the style of player who plays the game the way it should be played. Added some size and stockiness to his physique since last season which has taken away from his overall fluidity but added back some robust qualities. Plays with aggressiveness and determination in all three zones, doesn’t give up on pucks and is constantly playing with a puck possessive mindset. Continues to be that player who does his best work below the goal line in the offensive zone with the puck, created a few nice opportunities with excellent vision and playmaking. Can put the puck in the back of the net as well with his quick snap release. Reminds me of Jake Virtanen in a physical sense. His compete and size will translate quickly to the WHL next year while his skill and playmaking may take some time.
Corson Ceulemans (Brooks Bandits) – I was really impressed by Ceuleman’s, an offensive defensemen who has been able to dominate at every level he’s suited up in. Ceuleman’s should have no issues play at the WHL level next year with Brook’s and will draw similarities to Cale Makar with his offensive game. Ceuleman’s creativity and footwork go hand in hand when it comes to his puck transporting, he likes to beat players one on one and often does to with challenging puck handling and with constant change of direction. Very offensively driven in this one, generating his goal with a shot below the hashmarks where he changed the angle of his shot and his his spot. Ceuleman’s see’s the ice at an elite level, he makes every calculated decision with confidence and does so with no time wasted. Fast with explosive acceleration. Displayed power play quarterback capabilities. Ceuleman’s did get expose however a few times defensively off the rush where he wouldn’t control the distance and exposed himself with bad body positioning. Still developing the defensive side to his game but he’s much more aware of it now than he was at the end of last season.
Olen Zellweger (Everett Silvertips) – One of the most rapidly developing defenders in the Western Canada 2003 group. This was my first viewing of Zellweger’s game since last season and he really impressed me. Building off of the strength to his game he had last season while adding a much more calm and composed mental side. Zellweger’s really integrated a soft touch to his puck handling which adds deception to his puck distributing. Still possessing that slippery escapability that he had last season, that has translated over to the faster pace game in Midget Preps. Zellweger rarely ever feels pressure due to that fact he is constantly moving his feet and has heads up awareness with the puck, he manages pressure with a proactive mindset. Passive when it comes to activating in the rush in this game. Zellweger’s defensive game has seen improvements, defending the rush much better than he did last year. He eliminates the middle of the ice and maintains a tight gap before lashing his stick over to separate the puck. Overall Zellweger to me may not have the size to play in the WHL just year but his footwork and hockey sense would lead me to believe he may be ready for that jump next year, also with another 8 months of developing.
Owen Pederson (Kootenay Ice) – Pederson had an average game, he was previously sent down by the Kootenay Ice after a couple of appearances in there line up. Pederson has begun to really fill out into that 6’0+ frame of his and is starting to really be more efficient with his stride. I liked Pederson willingness to drive lanes to the net that demanded a massive physical workload and do so with good stick positioning and awareness. His finishing abilities around the net have always been an attribute to his game and he showcased it once again with a nice goal off the rush where he received the puck right around the net. Would like to see him more confident with his passes as he had some hesitation at times.
Bode Hagan (Brandon Wheat Kings) – In terms of puck management, Bode Hagan was the best player in this game. A two-way player who plays with constantly engaged awareness and compete. His ability to pick up on the open man and eliminate passing options in the defensive zone was something that OHA Red struggled to generate many high quality scoring chances off of. Hague’s play with the puck was nearly impossible to contain as he blended a high pace offensive approach with shiftiness to move effortlessly around defensemen. Slippery along the wall and in corners. Hagan made a few real nice decisions with the puck under pressure, staying composed and making pin point passes with confidence. Overall Hagan’s in my opinion fits the makings of a player who can make the leap to the WHL next year, he’s mentally ready to take that jump which is something I could not say about his game this time last season.
Kyle Masters (Red Deer Rebels) – Master’s has continued to rapidly develop as a two-way defensemen, his instincts driven offensive game helped generate a few high quality scoring opportunities. Master’s footwork is high end at this age, he exploits it to its fullest extent in all three zones, as well as to relieve pressure in transition. Developed a heavier shot which he needs to work on being more discipline with. Top power play unit quarterback with his mobility on the blue line to open up options with the puck. Can get caught puck watching in his defensive zone, and out of position. Master’s vision and dynamic skating are two things that will transfers over fluidly to the WHL level next season.
Jaden Senkoe (Edmonton Oil Kings) – Captain of his OHA Red team. Senkoe had an average performance against OHA Edmonton, his team really struggled to generate a tonne offensively and because of that he displayed the makings of an all situations forward. A wide skater who can carry pucks to the middle and has good positioning in all three zones. Sneaky acceleration that can throw off defensemen in one on one situations. Senkoe best emulated the makings of a solid two-way BCHL player as he lacked the offensive awareness needed in a player expected to carry the offensive load of his line but competes hard in all three zones. Overall Senkoe to me was the closest to the Junior ranks than anyone else on his team.
Sam Schoenfield (Prince George Cougars) – Logged heavy minutes in a defensive role for his team. Schoenfield stay at home game west hand in hand with his ability to recognize where everyone is on the ice. Manages his defensive side well and rarely puts himself out of defensive position. Composed and sound in all three zones, had some showings as the power play quarterback on his teams unit. Defends the rush well with good body positioning and a composed mindset.