As noted yesterday, the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) should be extremely well represented throughout the first round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. The CHL, of course, is comprised of the following three leagues from West to East: the Western Hockey League (WHL), Ontario Hockey League (OHL), and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).
Today, the focus squares in on the WHL. As noted yesterday, my prediction is that five WHL players will be taken on October 6th during the opening round of the 2020 NHL Draft. However, looking at the names being discussed outside the 1st round it is evident that the WHL should have a strong, deep and quality class of prospects to offer throughout the entire 2020 NHL Draft. Because of my familiarity and scouting history with these players this feature will be a two-part series!
Part I – WHL Defencemen
Kaiden Guhle: from Sherwood Park, Alberta – Prince Albert Raiders
As noted in this previous feature, the former 1st overall WHL pick (2017), Guhle is a prospect being discussed as one of the top three defenders available in the entire 2020 NHL draft. As such, Guhle is a safe bet to be the first player taken from the WHL. At 6’2 D, Guhle is a player that has always been adaptable at the next level of play.
Braden Schneider: from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan – Brandon Wheat Kings
Having a September 20th, 2001 birthday (just 5 days after the important NHL draft cut off date of September 15th) allowed Schneider the opportunity to develop another full year in the WHL before coming NHL eligible for the 2020 draft. Schneider took advantage of his third full season in Brandon becoming a dominant defensive force which landed him a spot with Canada’s 2020 World Junior Gold Medal squad. At 6’2, and over 200 pounds, the right shot Schneider projects into a capable, throwback defensive player at the NHL level. Several Toronto Maple Leaf sites recently mentioned Schneider being an option at pick 15 – the 2020 pick that was acquired in the Kasperi Kapanen deal to Pittsburgh.
Alex Cotton: from Langley, British Columbia – Lethbridge Hurricanes
Another right-handed, 2001 born WHL defenceman that jumped on the scene during a breakout 2020 season is Lethbridge Hurricane’s, Alex Cotton. During Cotton’s his 17-year-old rookie season with the Hurricanes in 2018/19, he managed a respectable 11 points in 54 games. However, Cotton caught fire in 2019/20 and was clipping along at a point per game pace with 20 goals and 47 assists over 63 games before the WHL season was cancelled! The annual jump in numbers puts Cotton firmly on the 2020 NHL draft radar.
Daemon Hunt: from Brandon, Manitoba – Moose Jaw Warriors
A healthy Daemon Hunt may have meant another WHL player knocking on the door of the NHL’s 1st round in 2020. Unfortunately, due to injury Hunt only suited up for 28 WHL games, adding 15 assists during those contests. With excellent sense, mobility, and skill Hunt could be a steal for an NHL team during the 2020 Draft.
Ronan Seeley: from Olds, Alberta – Everett Silvertips
The Central Albertan had a good offensive sophomore season collecting 32 points in Everett during the 2019/20 WHL shortened campaign. Seeley is a cerebral, puck moving defender that thinks the offensive side of the ice particularly well. I would expect that his offensive numbers will only increase with a more prominent role on the Silvertip blueline in the coming seasons. The Silvertips franchise has a history of producing solid NHL defencemen including names like Radko Gudas, Ryan Murray, Mirco Mueller, and Noah Juulsen. Could Seeley be the next?
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