With top-tier talent eligible for selection, 15 Western Hockey League prospects are showcasing their skills at the 2019 National Hockey League Scouting Combine in Buffalo, N.Y. this week ahead of the 2019 NHL Draft, scheduled for June 21-22, 2019 in Vancouver, B.C.
Of the WHL’s 22 member Clubs, 11 teams will be represented at the annual event, which helps NHL teams meet and evaluate talent.
The 15 WHL players attending the event includes 14 that had their name appear on NHL Central Scouting’s Final Rankings, released in April 2019. Representing the WHL this year are eight forwards, four defencemen, and three goaltenders.
Leading the list is Vancouver Giants defenceman Bowen Byram, ranked second among North American skaters ahead of the this year’s draft. The recipient of the Sherwin-Williams Top Prospect Award at the 2019 Canadian Hockey League Awards, Byram led the WHL in scoring during the 2019 WHL Playoffs as his team advanced to the 2019 Rogers WHL Championship Series. Byram also finished third in scoring among defenceman during the 2018-19 WHL Regular Season.
Also featured on this year’s list of invitees is the trio of forwards in Kirby Dach of the Saskatoon Blades, Dylan Cozens of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, and Peyton Krebs of the Winnipeg ICE, all ranked inside the top 10 among North American skaters.
The Kelowna Rockets led all WHL member Clubs with four players attending this year’s event. In addition to Hamaliuk, defencemen Lassi Thomson and Kaedan Korczak, as well as forward Nolan Foote, will represent the league. The trio is ranked 15th, 32nd, and 37th respectively among North American skaters.
Recently-acquired Rockets forward Dillon Hamaliuk, who was injured and didn’t appear in a WHL game after December 29, 2018, was not on April’s rankings. On NHL Central Scouting’s ‘Players to Watch’ List, released in November 2018, Hamaliuk was assigned a ‘B’ rating, indicating he was a candidate to be selected in the second or third round.
The Giants have a pair of attendees in Byram and goaltender Trent Miner while nine teams are represented by a single player.
WHL Champion Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders can also add the 2019 NHL Scouting Combine to his growing list of events this season. Adding to the growing list of events attended this season WHL Champion Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders is on this year’s list as well. The Calgary, Alta. product finished eighth in league scoring with 89 points (36G-53A) in 55 games. He led all draft-eligible WHL players in scoring.
Two players at the end of their first full season in the WHL will also get a chance to showcase their off-ice skills to NHL teams. Moose Jaw Warriors forward Brayden Tracey and Spokane Chiefs forward Adam Beckman are among the 15 WHL players attending the combine. Tracey was named the recipient of the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy as the WHL Rookie of the Year at the 2019 WHL Awards. Tracey led all WHL rookies in scoring with 81 points (36G-45A).
Beckman played a strong role in the Chiefs making it to the Western Conference Championship this season. His 62 points (32G-30A) ranked second in WHL rookie scoring behind only Tracey.
2019 NHL Draft Combine – Western Hockey League attendees:
(Players are listed alphabetically within their respective team along with their numerical ranking as determined in NHL Central Scouting’s Final Rankings)
Edmonton Oil Kings (1)
Matthew Robertson (26th among NA skaters)
Kelowna Rockets (4)
Nolan Foote (37th among NA skaters)
Dillon Hamaliuk (Not ranked)
Kaedan Korczak (32nd among NA skaters)
Lassi Thomson (15th among NA skaters)
Lethbridge Hurricanes (1)
Dylan Cozens (Fifth among NA skaters)
Medicine Hat Tigers (1)
Mads Søgaard (Second among NA goaltenders)
Moose Jaw Warriors (1)
Brayden Tracey (21st among NA skaters)
Prince Albert Raiders (1)
Brett Leason (25th among NA skaters)
Prince George Cougars (1)
Taylor Gauthier (Seventh among NA goaltenders)
Saskatoon Blades (1)
Kirby Dach (Third among NA skaters)
Spokane Chiefs (1)
Adam Beckman (34th among NA skaters)
Vancouver Giants (2)
Bowen Byram (Second among NA skaters)
Trent Miner (Sixth among NA goaltenders)
Winnipeg ICE (1)
Peyton Krebs (10th among NA skaters)