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2020 NHL Draft Preview: 52 WHL players highlight NHL Central Scouting ranks

The Western Hockey League has 44 skaters and eight goaltenders listed among those identified by NHL Central Scouting ahead of the 2020 NHL Draft. Here’s your quick guide to WHL players that could hear their names called over the course of October 6 and 7, when the NHL Draft finally gets underway.

2020 NHL Draft

First Round: October 6 at 5 p.m. MT
TV: Sportsnet

Rounds 2-7: October 7 at 9:30 a.m. MT
TV: Sportsnet

Kaiden Guhle – Defence, Prince Albert Raiders
NHL Central Scouting Rank: Eighth, North America

 

The Guhle name has already graced the NHL ranks, thanks to elder brother Brendan, who also suited up for the Prince Albert Raiders during his WHL days. But younger brother Kaiden just might be the best of the two, having won a WHL Championship and established himself as a steady, reliable presence on the Raiders blueline. The 6-foot-2, 186-pound defenceman is as calm, cool and collected as they come. Collected a career-high 40 points this past season. READ MORE


Braden Schneider – Defence, Brandon Wheat Kings
NHL Central Scouting Rank: Ninth, North America

 

Braden Schneider is one of the older players eligible in the 2020 NHL Draft, having been born September 20, 2001. Known first and foremost for his physical game and stingy defense, the 6-foot-2, 202-pound rearguard has worked to establish his offensive acumen, and it’s beginning to shine through. Registered a career-high 42 points in 2019-20. READ MORE


Seth Jarvis – Forward, Portland Winterhawks
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 11th, North America

 

A speedy and shifty forward with incredible creativity, Jarvis has learned from one of the best in the business – Mike Johnston – as well as a couple quality NHL prospects, including former first-round pick Cody Glass of the Vegas Golden Knights. He might be undersized but don’t underestimate the hockey IQ and overall ability of this crafty playmaker. Finished second in WHL scoring in 2019-20 with 98 points and was named the WHL’s Most Sportsmanlike Player. READ MORE


Ridly Greig – Forward, Brandon Wheat Kings
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 14th, North America

 

Brings the sort of edge that NHL scouts love, and he has high-end talent to boot. His NHL bloodlines don’t hurt either, as father Mark was selected in the first round of the NHL Draft in 1990. Greig, a product of Lethbridge, secured 60 points in 56 games this past season. READ MORE


Connor Zary – Forward, Kamloops Blazers
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 15th, North America

 

You might be hard pressed to find someone who has more fun on the ice than Connor Zary. The product of Saskatoon is another one of those late birthdays – coming into the world on September 25, 2001, meaning he is one of the more mature players in the 2020 NHL Draft class. A late cut from Canada’s 2020 World Junior Championship team, the 6-foot, 178-pounder is a goal scorer full of energy. READ MORE


Ozzy Wiesblatt – Forward, Prince Albert Raiders
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 19th, North America

 

Another from this class to have won a WHL Championship as a member of the 2019 Prince Albert Raiders, Ozzy Wiesblatt brings a great compete level with high-end talent. The 5-foot-10, 183-pound product of Calgary registered 70 points in 64 games this season. READ MORE


Justin Sourdif – Forward, Vancouver Giants
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 23rd, North America

 

The product of Surrey, B.C., has a lethal release, evidenced by back-to-back 20-goal seasons and a 54-point campaign in 2019-20. The 5-foot-11, 173-pound forward is tough to knock off the puck and describes himself as a “dog on a bone.” READ MORE


Daemon Hunt – Defence, Moose Jaw Warriors
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 25th, North America

 

Even though he missed a significant portion of the season due to injury, Daemon Hunt is still one of the top available defencemen in the 2020 NHL Draft. Hockey Canada thinks highly enough of him they invited him to the National Junior Team Summer Showcase Roster – a key part of the selection process for Canada’s World Junior team. READ MORE


Jake Neighbours – Forward, Edmonton Oil Kings
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 26th, North America

 

The product of Airdrie, Alta., absolutely oozes character and leadership. At 5-foot-11 and 201-pounds, he isn’t necessarily the biggest guy on the ice, but he plays a big, powerful game. His 23 goals and 70 points suggest he can finish nicely as well. READ MORE


Jack Finley – Forward, Spokane Chiefs
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 38th, North America

 

The son of former NHLer Jeff Finley, the 6-foot-6, 213-pound Jack Finley is one of the biggest bodies you see on WHL ice these days. He registered 57 points in his sophomore season with the Spokane Chiefs. READ MORE


Cross Hanas – Forward, Portland Winterhawks
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 58th, North America

 

A human highlight reel, the6-foot-1, 167-pound product of Highland Village, Texas, managed to score two lacrosse-style goals in 2019-20, bringing fans in Portland to their feet almost every time he touched the puck. He finished the season with 22 goals and 49 points.


Christoffer Sedoff – Defence, Red Deer Rebels
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 63rd, North America

 

The smooth-skating Finnish defender enjoyed a solid first season in North America, registering 19 points for a remarkably young Red Deer Rebels squad. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Sedoff earned himself a spot at the 2020 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Hamilton, Ont.


Connor McClennon – Forward, Winnipeg ICE
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 65th, North America

 

A diminutive forward at 5-foot-8 and 163 pounds, McClennon brings all kinds of skill to the table, proven by his 21 goals and 49 points. A product of Wainwright, Alta., he represented his nation at the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, where he led the tournament in goals and points. He also earned a silver medal for Canada at the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.


Ronan Seeley – Defence, Everett Silvertips
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 75th, North America

 

A product of Olds, Alta., Ronan Seeley was part of a solid Everett Silvertips blueline. The 6-foot, 176-pound defenceman recorded 32 points in his second season in the WHL and added an impressive plus-22 rating.


Kasper Puutio – Defence, Everett Silvertips
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 76th, North America

 

Another of the Everett Silvertips sturdy blueline, Kasper Puutio came over in a trade deadline deal from the Swift Current Broncos. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Finn posted 28 points in his first season in North America, split between the Silvertips and Broncos.


Alex Cotton – Defence, Lethbridge Hurricanes
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 79th, North America

 

Passed over in the 2019 NHL Draft, Alex Cotton exploded in 2019-20 with 67 points in 63 games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound product of Langley, B.C., seems to be a late bloomer and he had a chance to learn from one of the best in Minnesota Wild prospect Calen Addison.


Gage Goncalves – Forward, Everett Silvertips
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 80th, North America

 

Undrafted into the WHL, Gage Goncalves has done nothing but prove doubters wrong every step of the way. He finished third in scoring on the Everett Silvertips with 71 points in 2019-20, including a showstopper shootout effort back in December. READ MORE


Simon Knak – Forward, Portland Winterhawks
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 81st, North America

 

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound product of Zurich, Switzerland, arrived in North America this season and posted 34 points in 49 appearances. He has plenty of experience on the international stage with his native Switzerland, having represented at the U16, U17, U18, and U20 levels.


Pavel Novak – Forward, Kelowna Rockets
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 85th, North America

 

Another of the small, skilled variety – Pavel Novak measures up at 5-foot-9 and weighs in at 170 pounds. He played with fire as a member of the Kelowna Rockets, registering 25 goals and 58 points in his rookie season in North America. The product of Tabor, Czech Rep., was selected 13th overall in the 2019 CHL Import Draft.


Tristen Robins – Forward, Saskatoon Blades
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 86th, North America

 

Depending on who you talk to, Tristen Robins was one of the fastest risers up the NHL Draft ranks this past season. The 5-foot-10, 176-pound product of Clear Lake, Man., led the Saskatoon Blades in scoring with 73 points and could very well be the steal of the draft.


Landon Kosior – Defence, Prince Albert Raiders
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 98th, North America

 

Another member of the Prince Albert Raiders registers in the ranks. Landon Kosior is another player undrafted in the WHL, who stepped in at the age of 17 and had an impact for his Club. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound blueliner was steady, collecting 23 points and a plus-19 rating in his rookie season.


Owen Pederson – Forward, Winnipeg ICE
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 103rd, North America

 

At 6-foot-3 and 1919 pounds, Owen Pederson is a big body and he quietly posted 28 goals and 50 points in this his second season with the ICE. The product of Stony Plain, Alta., was originally selected in the fifth round of the 2017 WHL Draft.


Ilya Usau – Forward, Prince Albert Raiders
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 108th, North America

 

Now here is an interesting case. Ilya Usau is a domestic player, having come to the Raiaders from Colorado, but he’s a Belarussian national, who represented his nation at the U20 level in 2020. A native of Minsk, the 6-foot, 182-pound forward was a key cog for the Raiders, registering 22 goals and 52 points. With the WHL season on standby, he is currently playing for Dinamo Minsk of the KHL.


Jonas Brøndberg – Defence, Portland Winterhawks
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 115th, North America

 

A product of Aalborg, Denmark, the 6-foot-4, 189-pound blueliner is rangy and has the ability to contribute to the offense from the point. He secured 22 points and a plus-17 rating in his first campaign with the WHL Regular Season Champion Portland Winterhawks and also represented his nation at the U20 level internationally.


Josh Pillar – Forward, Kamloops Blazers
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 120th, North America

 

Josh Pillar is coming into his own with a powerhouse Kamloops Blazers squad, having doubled his point production from 22 in 2018-19 to 44 in 2019-20. Perhaps more importantly, he turned around his plus-minus rating, jumping from a minus-12 to a plus-17. The 5-foot-11, 171-pound forward is a native of Warman, Sask.


Ben King – Forward, Red Deer Rebels
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 121st, North America

 

The product of Vernon, B.C. split his time in 2019-20 between the Red Deer Rebels and Swift Current Broncos. After his move to Red Deer, he responded with 38 points in 46 games on what was another very young Club. At 6-foot-2 and 194 pounds, there’s no questioning his size or work ethic.


Luke Prokop – Defence, Calgary Hitmen
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 130th, North America

The product of Edmonton made an appearance at the 2020 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Hamilton, Ont., and was quietly an important part of the Calgary Hitmen blueline. At 6-foot-4 and 217 pounds, Prokop is physically mature and generally keeps the game pretty simple. He earned 23 points in 59 games in 2019-20.


Simon Kubicek – Defence, Seattle Thunderbirds
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 136th, North America

 

The 2019-20 season marked Simon Kubicek’s second in North America and he responded with 27 points in 52 games for the Seattle Thunderbirds. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound rearguard also suited up for the Czech Republic at the 2020 World Junior Championship, collecting three points in five games.


Benjamin Zloty – Defence, Winnipeg ICE
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 139th, North America

 

A 5-foot-10, 175-pound product of Calgary, Alta., handled himself admirably in his WHL rookie campaign, notching 27 points in 53 contests with the Winnipeg ICE. Originally selected in the sixth round of the 2017 WHL Draft, Zloty has quietly turned into a reliable WHL defenceman after being named the AMHL’s Top Defenceman for 2018-19.


Cole Shepard – Forward, Vancouver Giants
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 149th, North America

 

A strong skater with a great shot, the 5-foot-11, 157-pound Cole Shepard was originally committed to compete for NCAA Harvard, but he opted to join the Vancouver Giants ahead of 2019-20. Safe to say it paid off, as the product of West Vancouver posted 29 points in 50 games and finds himself on the NHL Draft radar.


Bear Hughes – Forward, Spokane Chiefs
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 150th, North America

 

A 6-foot-1, 171-pound product of Post Falls, Idaho, Bear Hughes is another of the late-blooming variety. The 2019-20 WHL season marked his first on the heels of playing Junior B for the Spokane Braves of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. Undrafted into the WHL, Hughes acclimated quickly, registering 16 goals and 47 points in 61 contests with the Chiefs.


Rhett Rhinehart – Defence, Saskatoon Blades
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 151st, North America

 

A former first-round pick in the 2016 WHL Draft, Rhett Rhinehart split the 2019-20 campaign between the Prince George Cougars and Saskatoon Blades. In 57 contests, the 6-foot-3, 203-pound product of Lloydminster, Alta., notched 18 points. He previously represented Canada Red at the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, taking home a silver medal.


Ben McCartney – Forward, Brandon Wheat Kings
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 153rd, North America

 

One year ago, the 6-foot, 182-pound product of Macdonald, Man., was ranked 117th ahead of the 2019 NHL Draft. This year, he finds himself 153rd in his second go around, following on the heels of a solid season that featured 61 points in 61 games with the Brandon Wheat Kings.


Oliver Okuliar – Forward, Lethbridge Hurricanes
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 154th, North America

 

Now 20 years old, the 6-foot-1, 181-pound product of Trencin, Slovakia was electric in his first season in the WHL, managing 68 points in 55 games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. It was Okuliar’s second season in the CHL after a 66-game appearance with the QMJHL’s Sherbrooke Phoenix in 2018-19. He appeared for Slovakia at the 2020 World Junior Championship, tallying four points in five games.


Lukas Svejkovsky – Forward, Medicine Hat Tigers
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 165th, North America

 

The 5-foot-10, 165-pound product of Point Roberts, Wash., was just recently named to USA Hockey’s National Junior Team Evaluation Camp following a season that featured a career-high 38 points in 52 games split between the Vancouver Giants and Medicine Hat Tigers. He has big-game experience, having been a part of the Giants squad that advanced all the way to Game 7 of the 2019 WHL Championship. Supremely skilled, his father Yogi (Jaroslav) was selected in the first round of the 1996 NHL Draft by the Washington Capitals.


Tyrel Bauer – Defence, Seattle Thunderbirds
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 166th, North America

At 6-foot-3 and 206 pounds, Tyrel Bauer is a big body on the blueline for the Seattle Thunderbirds. He was the Seattle Thunderbirds rookie of the year in 2018-19 and posted a career-high 17 points in 60 games in 2019-20.


Michal Gut – Forward, Everett Silvertips
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 176th, North America

 

The 6-foot, 187-pound product of Kadan, Czech Rep., is tough to knock off the puck. He posted 36 points in 51 games in his first WHL season with the Everett Silvertips after being selected 57th overall in the 2019 CHL Import Draft.


Ryker Evans – Defence, Regina Pats
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 178th, North America

 

The 5-foot-11, 180-pound product of Calgary quietly put together a solid season for a young Regina Pats squad, posting 31 points in 63 games. He was originally selected in the 10th round of the 2016 WHL Draft by the Pats.


Luke Toporowski – Forward, Spokane Chiefs
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 191st, North America

 

Another forward in his second go-round at the NHL Draft, Luke Toporowski was ranked 100th ahead of the 2019 NHL Draft. The product of Bettendorf, Iowa, followed up last season’s 49 points with 60 points in 62 games. His family has professional hockey bloodlines, with father Kerry a five-year International League veteran and his uncle Shayne a former second-round pick (1993) of the Los Angeles Kings.


Robbie Fromm-Delorme – Forward, Portland Winterhawks
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 196th, North America

A 6-foot-1, 182-pound product of Richmond, B.C., Robbie Fromm-Delorme represents yet another supremely talented forward out of the Portland Winterhawks program. He set career highs with 10 goals, 26 assists and 36 points in 55 games this season.


Aidan De La Gorgendiere – Defence, Saskatoon Blades
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 197th, North America

The 6-foot, 183-pound native of Langley, B.C., enjoyed a standout season with 28 points in 63 games. Previously the fifth-overall selection in the 2017 WHL Draft, De La Gorgendiere represented Canada Black at the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.


Noah Boyko – Forward, Lethbridge Hurricanes
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 201st, North America

 

Another former first-round pick from the 2017 WHL Draft, Noah Boyko set career highs with 10 goals, 15 assists and 25 points in 47 games. The 6-foot, 173-pound product of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., played a supporting role for another competitive Lethbridge Hurricanes squad.


Kyle Crnkovic – Forward, Saskatoon Blades
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 208th, North America

The biggest knock on the product of Chestermere, Alta., is that he isn’t big. Standing 5-foot-6 and weighing 159 pounds, Kyle Crnkovic is one of the smaller players in the 2020 NHL Draft, but there’s no question he finds open ice and makes the most of it – evidenced by 21 goals and 64 points in 63 games. He represented Canada Black at the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, scoring four goals and five points in five games. Though slight, don’t question Crnkovic’s talent.


Josh Williams – Forward, Edmonton Oil Kings
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 210th, North America

This marks the second tour through the NHL Draft for 6-foot-1, 190-pound Josh Williams. In 2019, he appeared at the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Red Deer and was ranked 145th. He enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2019-20, posting 25 goals and 52 points in 64 games for a powerhouse Edmonton Oil Kings squad. He represented Canada at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, scoring five goals and six points in five games to help his country to a gold medal.


Goaltenders

Garin Bjorklund – Goaltender, Medicine Hat Tigers
NHL Central Scouting Rank: Fifth, North America

 

The 6-foot-2, 173-pound product of Grande Prairie, Alta., has played second fiddle to Ottawa Senators prospect Mads Sogaard to this point in his career. That being said, he still hit the 20-win plateau in 2019-20, with a 2.91 goals-against average. In 2018, he represented Canada Black at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.


Dylan Garand – Goaltender, Kamloops Blazers
NHL Central Scouting Rank: Sixth, North America

 

A 6-foot, 173-pound product of Victoria, B.C., Dylan Garand was called upon at the 2020 Kubota CHL/NHL Prospects Game in Hamilton, Ont., and he acquitted himself well. In his first season as the starter for the Kamloops Blazers, he went 28-10-2-1 with a 2.21 goals-against average, .921 save percentage and four shutouts. To top it all off, he was named WHL Scholastic Player of the Year for his work in the classroom. READ MORE


Brock Gould – Goaltender, Moose Jaw Warriors
NHL Central Scouting Rank: Ninth, North America

A 6-foot-5, 198-pound product of Colorado Springs, Colo., Brock Gould split the 2019-20 season between the Victoria Royals and Moose Jaw Warriors. Like Garand, he earned an invite to the 2020 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Hamilton, Ont., and performed admirably. Gould had a tough go with a young Warriors squad, but he registered six wins and a 2.81 goals-against average, along with one shutout while with Victoria to start the season.


Bryan Thomson – Goaltender, Lethbridge Hurricanes
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 11th, North America

Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 180 pounds, Bryan Thomson is a product of Moose Jaw, Sask., and split time with Carl Tetachuk in the Lethbridge Hurricanes crease. Over 30 appearances, Thomson went 16-7-1-0 with a 2.83 goals-against average, .898 save percentage and one shutout.


Taylor Gauthier – Goaltender, Prince George Cougars
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 19th, North America

This marks the second shot at the NHL Draft for the Calgary-born Taylor Gauthier. In 2019, he was ranked seventh and found himself passed over when all was said and done. In 2019-20, he went 16-26-3-4 with a 2.93 goals-against average, .917 save percentage and two shutouts for a young Prince George Cougars squad.


Koen MacInnes – Goaltender, Saskatoon Blades
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 22nd, North America

The 6-foot-2, 182-pound product of Burnaby, B.C. enjoyed a great first season in the WHL, logging a record of 14-5-1-0 with a 2.84 goals-against average, .901 save percentage and three shutouts in 24 appearances.


Blake Lyda – Goaltender, Seattle Thunderbirds
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 26th, North America

A 6-foot-2, 161-pound product of Edmonton, Blake Lyda’s WHL resume might be a short one with only 21 career appearances. He has logged three wins over that stretch, serving in spot duty for the Everett Silvertips (2017-18) and Seattle Thunderbirds (2019-20), with both Clubs deploying veteran NHL prospects at the time.


Brayden Peters – Goaltender, Calgary Hitmen
NHL Central Scouting Rank: 30th, North America

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Brayden Peters served in a platoon for the Calgary Hitmen, appearing in 35 contests in 2019-10. A native of Taber, Alta., he went 17-15-2-0 with a 2.76 goals-against average and .902 save percentage.

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