Monday, April 25, 2011

WHL Bantam Draft Preview-Defenceman

Once again TPS will be bringing you an in depth WHL bantam draft preview leading up to the May 5th event. We've polled WHL scouts and compiled a list. Our first one revolves around blueliners. Who are the blue chippers and who are on the bubble? Read on to find out.

10 Lucas Mercer (Burnaby Winter Club) 6’3” 177lbs
A very big piece of BWC’s Western Canadian Championship puzzle, Lucas brings a rare combination of size and skill to this year’s draft class. A consistent rate of development gives scouts reason that the sky may be the limited for the BC blue liner.

9. Sam Ruopp (Balgonie Prairie Storm) 5’ 10” 150lbs
One of Saskatchewan’s top defenders this season, "....Sam brings a complete game that shows lots of room for growth." Many scouts see positive comparisons between him and his brother at the same age (Harrison Ruopp-PA Raiders).

8. Zach Paterson (South Side Athletic Club) 5’ 10” 160lbs
Possibly the best skating defenceman in this year’s draft. Zach was a member of the provincial champion team that dominated throughout Alberta all year long. He should be able to run a WHL power play someday.

7. Jordan Harris (Prince Albert Pirates) 6’1” 172lbs
Another top defenceman that was part of a championship team. Jordan led his Pirate team to an almost perfect season that saw his team only lose two hockey games. But could disappointing outing at the Western Canadian Championships may see his stock slip?

6. Joe Hicketts (Kamloops Bantam Blazers) 5’6” 165lbs
The most exciting dman in this year’s draft, Joe’s combination of skill, energy and work ethic make him a true fan favourite. Will his size be the only thing that could keep him out of the top 10?

5. Aaron Irving (South South Athletic Club) 6’ 168lbs
A strong second half of the season has really vaulted Aaron in most scouts’ rankings. A physical game makes him very hard to play against. "....Aaron can also run a power play and is an effective penalty killer."

4. Austin Douglas (Winnipeg Warriors) 6’5” 196lbs
A 6’5” frame makes him very hard for scouts to over look, Austin showed tremendous improvement all season long. Some improvement is still required to be an everyday WHL defenceman but Austin is well on his way.

3. Ryan Pilon (Warman Wildcats) 6’1” 175lbs
The top defenceman for most of the season until injury and fatigue really hurt his stock. Ryan can play a skill game or can be one of the top shut down guys in this year’s draft. ".....No one shoots the puck better than this kid."

2. Jordan Thomson (South West Cougars) 5’ 11” 168lbs
One of very few bantams that was capable of playing AAA Midget as a bantam this year. Jordan brings a complete game that really showed well at last month’s director’s cup in Winnipeg. "....A very versatile player that also saw time at forward this year"

1.Brycen Martin (Calgary Bisons) 6’1” 168lbs
A big frame and elite skating truly separates Brycen from the rest of his defending brethren. "...Brycen is the best PP dman in this draft hands down..". His exceptional vision and passing skills will make his future WHL coaches very happy.

“On the Bubble” Hayden Fleury (ND Hounds), Zack Gonek (St Albert Sabres), Bryton Sayers (Prince Albert Pirates), Shawn Donsanjh (Seafair Islanders), Reid Zalitach (Winnipeg Sharks)


Western Elite said...

Where is Riley Stadel from Cloverdale?

Nice list though! I think you will see picks all over the map this year forsure. Fisher and Sanheim from Manitoba could sneak up in the top 10 dmen as well.

Richard said...

What about Fisher from Wpg???? Fisher posted the most points by a D in the Wpg B1 division this year and showed very well despite having a wrist injury during POE. Zalitach who you have on the bubble just won top D at the Wpg AAA banquet recently. Douglas is a big kid but doesn't have anywhere near the mobility or skating ability as Zalitach or the shot that Fisher and Zalitach do, Zalitach won the hardest shot competition at this years all star game with an impressive 87 mph shot. Taylor was at 85 or 86 mph. Personally I would love to see these two guys play together as the combination of speed, strength,desire to compete and bone crushing shots would be more then enough for any forwards or D players to stand in front in of...goalies included.

Richard said...

Thomson didn't play in the directors cup as that was for the 97 age group not the 96's he was in the POE you can check out the stats at

hunglikeabungycord said...
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hunglikeabungycord said...

You guys obviously have no clue,Joe Hicketts is hands down #1 dman in this years draft...his stats say it all,he has put up best numbers on the stats,has won more,all star team and tournament mvp of major tournaments this year then all top 3 on your so called list combined,not 1 of your top five have even come close to what joe hicketts puts up,only thing working against him is his size and don't say that to him because he'll prove that wrong too,he even weighs more then the scrawney 6footers,has harder shot and more accomplished awards,how many of your top 5 can say they have played in numerous international tournies for usa teams..and won awards there as well in russia and sweden,and who was top dman in the final major tournament at last major tounament before the draft in kamloops at kibiht...Joe Hicketts..remember the name,you will see it alot in the future;-)

hunglikeabungycord said...
Check out who was named top dman....Joe Hicketts

Richard said...

I find it very interesting that information can change so much from site to site when apparently all the information is coming from scouts. On the WEHP site they list (from Manitoba) Fisher at #1, Zalitach at #2, Dunn at #3 and Sanheim at #4. Strange that WEHP has no mention of Thomson who you guys have at #2 on your list. It would appear that the info given to the people running these sites is meant to get everyone off track. It is evident that the scouts they are talking with are very smart and are only willing to give away just enough information to keep everyone on their toes.

hunglikeabungycord said...

i sort of agree with your point richard,seems each site favours their closest provincial candidates more then the stats or accomplishments.

Western Elite said...

We have Jordan Thomson at #1 for defenseman in Manitoba.

Thomson played Midget though and the awards were for players who played bantam hockey this year.

C J N said...

Hey hung like a bungy....people (scouts) don't give a crap about awards and stats.

It's about projecting who will be the better player at the next level....not about who won what award as a 14 and 15 year old.

Anonymous said...

Had to come back and check this out to see how accurate your reports are. Players listed at 1,2,3,and 6 are playing in the whl Players listed at #4,5,7,8,9 and 10 are not playing in the whl. Out of 5 players you had on the bubble, 2 of them are playing in the whl. Kids no matter where somebody(so called experts) in a blog or wherever ranks you, don't even think about it because as you can see from what they thought to what actually happened is not even close. keep working hard for the goals that you have set for yourself and let you play determine where you end up. Most of all don't listen to the negative comments that are written in all blogs. After all if they were such great hockey people they would be playing the game not writing about it.