The John Reid Memorial Tournament has a rich history of featuring future NHL’ers and is one of the most notable showcases of premier talent in Western Canada; as some of the most highly touted prospects in Bantam hockey go head-to-head at Servus Credit Union in St.Albert, Alberta.
Teams at this year’s tournament included the Calgary Bisons, Calgary Flames, Delta Green, Greater Vancouver Canadians, Leduc Oil Kings, Lloydminister Bobcats, Los Angeles Jr. Kings, OHA Edmonton, Okanagan Rockets, Praire Storm, Red Deer Rebels, SSAC Lions, St.Albert Sabres, St.George’s Saints, West Van Warriors, and Yale Lions.
The Yale Lions defeated the St.Georges Saints in the finals to take home the 2020 JRMT Championship.
There was a ton of talent on display for scouts to watch in preparation for this year’s WHL Bantam Draft. Here are how some of the most notable players and some players who stood out to me with their play throughout the tournament:
Oliver Tulk – F – Delta Green Academy
The biggest thing that stood out to me about Tulk’s game was his ability to steal pucks. He competes hard in all three zones and is a machine at stripping other players of the puck, whether it be on the backcheck or forechecking in the offensive zone. Tulk is able to apply the strengths of his game to all situations, which allows him to be one of the premier drivers of offense for his team along with being trusted to be deployed in high-pressured defensive situations. His explosive stride allows him to separate from the opposition which gives him several prime scoring chances throughout the game. Tulk is also very good at reading the play around him finds clear passing lanes to be a viable passing option and scoring threat with his quick release on his shot. Without a doubt one of the most impressive players I’ve seen this season.
Austin Zemlak – D – OHA Edmonton
It’s evident that Zemlak is one of the strongest players on the ice in every game he plays and I’m convinced that he has the hardest shot from the point in Bantam hockey. Zemlak is a competitor who makes it hard to play against in his own zone. He’s a very fluent skater who drives the transitional play of OHA through his ability to make smooth transition passes or rush the puck up ice. When rushing the puck up ice he puts his strength and speed on full display, as he’s able to easily burn by the opposition and players seem to literally bounce off of him whenever they attempt to lay a check on the 5’11, 170lb defencemen. Zemlak provides a reliable presence on the back end along with displaying a ton of offensive upside and is one of the premier defencemen heading into the WHL Draft.
Jordan Keller – F – Yale Academy Lions
Keller is a strong skater who only takes a few strides to get to full speed and shows good edgework. One of his best assets is his vision and ability to utilize soft areas of the ice. He has a powerful shot which he gets off quickly and in tight areas, making him a scoring threat from anywhere on the ice. His hand-eye coordination allowed him to knock down pucks in the neutral zone and make him a dangerous net-front presence. Keller’s ability to track the puck gives him an advantage in several areas of the game and contributes to helping him consistently win battles along the wall. Overall a strong player who is hard to knock off the puck, drives to the net with force and competes hard to fight for loose pucks.
Lucas Dragicevic – D – Delta Green
The best feature of his game is the efficiency of his shot from the point. He has a smooth release and is able to get slapshots off quickly. Dragicevic produces a high volume of shots which allows him to consistently contribute offensively. He brings a calming presence to the blueline and is an exceptional puck-mover; he’s creative but also won’t force a play that isn’t there and will make the simple play if that’s the best option. When rushing the puck Dragicevic is able to effectively exploit gaps in the opposition’s coverage and push the pace of the offensive rush with his speed. His wide range of skills makes him a defenceman that has the ability to drive the offensive play of his team.
Carter Anderson – F – Calgary Bisons
Anderson plays like a bull in a china shop and brings a dynamic attribute to his team’s game. He finishes every check and is a force to be reckoned with on the forecheck. He’s a true competitor who plays the game with emotion and is the type of player that makes the other team start to “hear footsteps” as the game wears on. Anderson contributes on the ice beyond the scoresheet and I was fairly impressed by his skating. He fills his role and is a player to watch moving forward this season.
Matteo Fabrizi – D – Yale Academy Lions
His big body and range of skills make him a constant presence on the blueline from the moment he hits the ice. He uses his size and reach to his advantage to close gaps and is difficult to beat wide. Makes crisp outlet passes and has a great release on his snapshot that quickly gets pucks on net accurately and with power. Fabrizi’s stride needs some work but is definitely improvable, which adds to his potential upside. He has all the potential tools to be successful at the next level despite having to apply some work to certain areas of his game. Fabrizi is definitely a defenceman to keep a close eye on heading into the WHL Bantam Draft.
Adam Girard – DraftGeek Scout – Twitter: @adamgirard7