I'm going to be honest: With Millard on the shelf and me overbooking the show tonight I'm swamped so... I'm resorting to second hand info for this week's Top 5. With the Oil Kings in the cellar of the WHL there is interest in knowing something about the quality of the Bantam draft this year. It's not a level of hockey that we cover much on The Pipeline Show so I'm going outside the show's normal contributors for some insight.
Matt Bugg from Dobbershockey.com was kind enough to supply me with a few names that will be available for the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft. Here is an excerpt from the 'Leans Teens?' piece "Mr.Bugg" contributed to the DobberHockey Mid-Season Guide that pertains to players eligible for the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft.
If you've got some information on other players available, feel free to add them to the comments section.
1. C Alex Forsberg (5'9, 170 lbs)
Beardy's Blackhawks/SMAAAHL- 27 GP, 19-28-47, 16 PIM
The only fourteen-year-old in the SMAAAHL, the latest gem from what's going to be known as the Prairie version of the Staal family- his brother is a top-ranked '93- Alex Forsberg is 2nd in the league scoring race despite being two years younger than those either above or below him. Forsberg has a lot of growing left to do at but that's not even really a concern when you're talking about someone this young. Forsberg's top-end speed would contend with the best in the WHL right now as would his butter-soft hands.
2. RW Brian Williams (5'8, 145 lbs)
LA Selects Bantam AAA- N/A
One of the top players in the 2010 WHL Bantam class, winger Brian Williams is the type of mega-talent that can put Los Angeles-area hockey permanently on the map. The danger of hyping him to extremes because of this potential marketability is a concern, but there's no doubting his explosive acceleration and elite puckhandling ability. Williams scored ten points- including a pair of hat-tricks- in seven games at the prestigious Bauer Invitational in November, and added a goal and two assists in the clinching game of the American Bantam champions last spring. Williams compares to NHL alum Joe Mullen.
3. D Jesse Lees (6'2, 185 lbs)
Calgary Northstar Sabres/ABHL- 20 GP, 15-15-30, 36 PIM
Alberta is thin on elite talent at this point when it concerns the 2010 Western League Bantam Draft, but the clear stand-out has been Jesse Lees. A long, powerful stride and better hands than most forwards have scouts intrigued, but therein lies the issue. As a couple of goal-scoring titles at tournaments would suggest, Lees plays with a fair amount of temerity and that may not translate well to the WHL.
4. D Madison Bowey (5'11, 165 lbs)
Winnipeg Monarchs/Winnipeg AAA- 18 GP, 10-25-35
A reasonable height and weight for being 15 years old, Madison Bowey is fifth among all scorers in Winnipeg AAA. It would not necessarily be a surprise to learn, then, that he is only a recent convert to defense. Bowey's vision is among the tops in the class and his short-range passes are hard and crisp. Many of his goals are scored from closer-in ala Scott Niedermayer thanks to an excellent wrist shot. Despite his lack of experience at the position, he was the top defenceman at the prestigious Medicine Hat Major Bantam Hockey Tournament in November. An early comparable would be Michael Del Zotto.
As with many young Canadian hockey players, Bowey is also an excellent baseball player.
5. G Eric Comrie (6'0, 170 lbs)
LA Selects Bantam AAA- N/A
Way back in the 90s, Bill Comrie created The Brick Invitational as a way to showcase the best local players (re: his sons) against the world. Both of them made the NHL, but unfortunate circumstances finished Paul Comrie's career before it could really begin and the other brother temporarily shamed the family name in such a way that it forced the patriarch to leave town.
However, there's still hope that two Comrie brothers play together in the show. 14 year-old Eric Comrie is a virtual unknown even to Edmontonians as he was born and raised primarily in California during Bill's hiatus there. As with Paul and Mike, Comrie Sr. has had an integral impact on Eric's career, coaching him and the rest of the LA Selects into national prominence (see: Brian Williams).
Comrie isn't just riding on the family name, however. Already taller than brother Mike, Eric is a highly-decorated player with MVP awards at most of the premier minor hockey tournaments in North America. At the Bauer Invitational, for example, he registered a 1.20 GAA. Although both of us his brothers played in the NCAA, it appears as though the youngest of the three will head to the WHL. He is expected to be a first-round selection.
That again, is the work of Matt Bugg, follow the links above to read more of his work. Next week we'll be back to normal with our own Top 5 list.