The last several NHL Draft features have explored the potential for a large Canadian Hockey League (CHL) presence throughout the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Part I described several top Western Hockey League (WHL) defencemen prospects. In today’s Part II NHL Draft feature, the focus will square in on a strong class of quality WHL forwards.
Part II – Top WHL Forwards
Without further adieu, in alphabetical order by last name, a brief feature on four WHL forwards that have received first round consideration for the upcoming 2020 NHL Entry draft:
Ridly Greig: Lethbridge, Alberta – Brandon Wheat Kings
2002 born Ridly Greig was the 8th overall pick by the Brandon Wheat Kings in the 2017 WHL draft. Greig, a highly intelligent center, can be versatile as necessary at both ends of the ice. As a 16-year-old rookie Greig managed 35 points for Brandon during the 2018/19 season. After a somewhat frustrating start to the 2020 season, Greig maintained a point per game pace with 26 goals and 34 assists (60) in 56 games. Greig comes from pure hockey bloodlines – Mom (Cindy) and Dad (former NHL player, Mark Greig), were both excellent hockey players.
Seth Jarvis: Winnipeg, Manitoba – Portland Winterhawks
Former 1st round WHL pick (#11 in 2017), Seth Jarvis is a dynamic and exciting offensive weapon. In 58 WHL games, the Manitoban sophomore was second in league scoring (behind Minnesota Wild 2019 3rd round pick Adam Beckman of the Spokane Chiefs), posting 42 goals and 56 assists (98) before the 2020 season was cut short by Covid. The 98 points Jarvis posted this season is comparable with fellow former Portland Winterhawk, Cody Glass. During Glass’s draft year in 2017, he finished with 94 points and was promptly selected 6th overall by the Vegas Golden Knights. Where does Jarvis fit into the 1st round?
Ozzy Wiesblatt: Calgary, Alberta – Prince Albert Raiders
For those not familiar with the Wiesblatt family, Sportsnet created an amazing story about the four junior hockey playing brothers from Calgary. Ozzy Wiesblatt, the 3rd of four boys, was a member of the 2019 WHL Champion Prince Albert Raiders during his 16-year-old rookie season. The dynamic right-winger has crisp lateral speed with the puck and also displays great play making ability. During his rookie season in 2018/19, Wiesblatt tallied 15 goals and 24 assists (39) and also added 10 points in 23 playoff games. Before 2020 went sideways, Wiesblatt nearly doubled his year over year offensive output with 70 points (25G, 45A) in 64 games.
Connor Zary: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan – Kamloops Blazers
Connor Zary has proven to be a consistent offensive contributor for the Kamloops Blazers during his first three WHL seasons. As a 16-year-old WHL rookie in 2018, Zary managed 29 points, followed by 67 in his sophomore season. His output continued to climb this season after posting 86 points in 58 games. A late September (25th), 2001 birthday, Zary has excellent hockey sense, and he can both make plays or finish. Given Zary’s WHL scoring consistency, it would not be a surprise for him to be taken in the first round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
There are still several other excellent WHL forwards of note. Having watched these WHL prospects since they were playing at the U15 (bantam) level, this feature might require a Part III! The following list of names are additional WHL forwards that could also become premium NHL selections this October:
Jack Finley – Spokane Chiefs
Cross Hanas – Portland Winterhawks
Ben King – Red Deer Rebels
Connor McClennon – Winnipeg Ice
Jake Neighbors – Edmonton Oil Kings
Owen Pederson – Winnipeg Ice
Tristen Robins – Saskatoon Blades
Justin Sourdif – Vancouver Giants
Ilya Usav – Prince Albert Raiders
Yes. It is a deep group of WHL forwards to choose from in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Stay tuned for more on this group prior to the big day(s) in early October.
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