Calgary, Alta. – The Western Hockey League announced today the U.S. Division WHL Prospect Profile for February, featuring forward Austin Roest of the Everett Silvertips, forward Kyle Chyzowski of the Portland Winterhawks, forward Jordan Gustafson of the Seattle Thunderbirds, forward Ben Thornton of the Spokane Chiefs, and forward Rhett Melnyk of the Tri-City Americans.
During the months of January through April, each of the WHL’s 22-member Club up-and-coming prospects will be profiled. Each month, one WHL Division will have its prospects celebrated in the highlight portion of the prospect profile, with additional players from the remaining divisions recognized in the supplementary section of the profile.
Everett Silvertips: Austin Roest
Selected in the third round, 64th overall, at the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft, the Silvertips will look to cash in on the selection of the 5-foot-7, 146-pound forward Austin Roest. The product of Coldstream, B.C. signed his WHL Standard Player Agreement in September and will be on the Silvertips radar to crack the roster in the coming seasons.
“With Austin, you get a combination of a driven approach, refined skill and a terrific support system with NHL ties,” said Silvertips General Manager Garry Davidson. “He’s worked extremely hard to make a great impression in training camp and over the last season with the North Zone Kings, and at the B.C. Cup, showcasing his quickness and intelligence as qualities that identify as a great fit as a Silvertip.”
Roest is following in the footsteps of his father, Stacy Roest, starting his career in the WHL. Stacy spent four seasons in the WHL with the Medicine Hat Tigers prior to playing with the Detroit Red Wings and Minnesota Wild. Roest, now 45 years old, is the General Manager of the Syracuse Crunch in the American Hockey League.
Austin has spent this season with the Okanagan Minor Midget Rockets in the BC Minor Midget League (BCMIML) and tallied 50 points (24G-26A) in 26 regular season games.
“It’s an incredible feeling that I am still soaking in right now, but also an incredible one to become an Everett Silvertip,” Roest said.
Portland Winterhawks: Kyle Chyzowski
Coming from a family rich in hockey and WHL history, Kyle Chyzowski will aim to be an impact player for the Winterhawks in the future after his two older cousins and uncle got their start in the WHL. The Winterhawks selected Chyzowksi in the third round, 58th overall, at the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft. Last season, the product of Surrey, B.C. spent the season with Delta Hockey Academy Prep in the Canadian Sports School Hockey League (CSSHL), tallying 43 points (16G-27A) in 30 games.
Chyzowski also played for Team B.C. at the 2019 WHL Cup, notching a goal in B.C.’s bronze medal win over Team Alberta.
“In the case of Kyle, he has great family support, with a strong history in the WHL, and he is an accomplished athlete,” said Mike Coflin, Winterhawks assistant to the General Manager/Director of Scouting & Player Development. “Having represented Canada in the Little League World Series, for a young player, there is a feeling he is comfortable performing in the biggest of moments during a game, and that he wants to be on the ice in those situations.”
Chyzowski is cousins with current Medicine Hat Tigers forward Ryan Chyzowski and former Kamloops Blazers captain Nick Chyzowski, who both have left their mark, past and present, on the league. Kyle’s dad, Barry Chyzowski, and uncles, Dave and Ron, played pro hockey in the NHL, AHL and in various leagues overseas. Kyle will look to leave his mark as the first of the Chyzowski family to play in the tough U.S. Division, part of a Winterhawks team that has been successful with getting the best out of prospects.
“In our assessment, we had Kyle Chyzowski rated number one on our list in the first round and we got him in the third round, so we are really excited,” said Winterhawks General Manager and Head Coach Mike Johnston. “I talked with his dad, Barry Chyzowski, who I had known before, and (his son is) a real dynamic, skilled player. It gives us a number one pick that we like as far as our first pick a guy who is going to fit into our system really well. Then you build your draft around that first pick.”
Seattle Thunderbirds: Jordan Gustafson
The Thunderbirds picked Jordan Gustafson with the eighth pick at the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft. Gustafson, the product of Ardrossan, Alta., is currently with the Fort Saskatchewan Midget AAA Rangers in the Alberta Midget Hockey League (AMHL) and has notched 31 points (11G-20A) in 28 regular season games. The 5-foot-10, 159-pound forward got to debut in his first WHL game this season with Thunderbirds against the Tri-City Americans in December.
“This is an exciting day for our franchise as Jordan is a building block we have identified for success going forward,” said Thunderbirds General Manager Bil La Forge. “Our Scouting staff did a very good job identifying Jordan as a priority talent going into the draft.”
Gustafson was the captain of Team Alberta at the 2019 WHL Cup, potting six points (1G-5A) in five games. Transitioning to the WHL, Gustafson will look to be an impact on the young Thunderbirds Club, aiming to push for another U.S. Division win in the future.
“I feel really excited to sign with Seattle,” Gustafson said. “I’ve heard nothing but great things about Seattle, the coaches, and the fans.
Spokane Chiefs: Ben Thornton
The Spokane Chiefs were quick to lock up the Club’s 15th overall selection at the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft, signing Ben Thornton to a WHL Standard Player Agreement. The product of Abbotsford, B.C. has spent this season with the Yale Hockey Academy in the CSSHL. The 6-foot-1, 161-pound forward has tallied 37 points (14G-23A) in 31 games.
“We feel Ben will be a strong, two-way forward who will be tough to play against in all three zones,” said Scott Carter, Chiefs General Manager. ” He has great character traits and leadership qualities, and has been developing at a great program in Yale under coach Mark Holick.”
Thornton appeared in his first game in the WHL against the Victoria Royals on December 17. The 16-year-old also picked up an assist in four games with the Chiefs in the 2019 WHL pre-season.
Tri-City Americans: Rhett Melnyk
The Americans selected Rhett Melnyk with the 33rd selection at the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft from the Fort Saskatchewan Bantam AAA Rangers in the AMBHL.
Rhett is a 5-foot-10, 165-pound centre who has been a point-per-game player this season with the Midget AAA Rangers, tallying 31 points (11G-20A) in 31 games.
“Rhett is a dynamic player with tremendous speed,” said Bob Tory, Americans General Manager. “He has excellent offensive instincts and has been a leader on all of his teams.”
With Tri-City looking to build for the future through their young core, Melnyk will eventually make an impact for the team. The 15-year-old signed his WHL Standard Player Agreement with the Americans on January 22 and has played in three games for the Club.
“It is an honour to be part of such a great organization. I look forward to my future with the Americans.”
Additional Prospect Profiles
Brandon Wheat Kings
F Rylen Roersma – (2019) Round 1 (#16): Currently playing for the Lethbridge Midget AAA Hurricanes in the AMHL, the product of Lethbridge, Alta. has tallied 22 points (9G-13A) in 29 contests.
G Ethan Buenaventura – (2019) Round 4 (#77): This season with Rink Hockey Academy Prep, the 6-foot-1, 165-pound goaltender has appeared in 17 games. Buenaventura has posted a 10-3-0-0 record with at 2.89 goals-against average and a .889 save percentage.
Edmonton Oil Kings
D Ross Stanley – (2019) Round 2 (#40): The product of Edson, Atla. has played a key role for OHA Edmonton in the CSSHL. This season. the defenceman has tallied six assists in 22 games. Stanley also played with Team Alberta at the 2019 WHL Cup.
F Tye Spencer – (2019) Round 3 (#50): Spencer is in his first full season with the Saskatoon Contacts in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League (SMAAAHL). The speedy forward has tallied 24 points (13G-11A) in 35 games this season and has also appeared in two games for the Blazers. The 15-year-old played a key role with Blazers prospect Dylan Ernst in Team Saskatchewan’s 2019 WHL Cup win.
G Jari Kykkanen – (2019) Round 6 (#115): The product of Lloydminster, Alta. has spent this season with his hometown team. With the Lloydminster Midget Minor Bobcats this season, Kykkanen has appeared in 17 games posting a 8-6-3-0 record with two shutouts.
F Reid Mackay – (2019) Round 3 (#65): Mackay is a point per game player this season with Northern Alberta Elite 15s having notched 32 points (13G-19A) in 32 games. Mackay, the product of Irma, Alta., recently joined the Northern Alberta X-Treme Prep in the CSSHL and has an assist in two games played.
Medicine Hat Tigers
F Cayden Glover – (2019) Round 2 (#25): This season the 16-year-old has tallied 40 points (16G-24A) in 46 games in the Manitoba U-18 AAA Hockey League. Glover also played a big part in Team Manitoba’s second-place finish at the 2019 WHL Cup, notching two points (1G-1A) during the tournament.
Moose Jaw Warriors
G Kyle Kelsey – (2019) Round 5 (#107): This season, Kelsey has appeared in 19 contests for Burnaby Winter Club Elite 15s in the CSSHL. The product of Maple Ridge, B.C., has a posted a record of 12-5-1-0 with a 3.00 GAA, .922 SV% and two shutouts. Kelsey also appeared for Team B.C. at the 2019 WHL Cup.
Prince Albert Raiders
D Tre Fouquette – (2019) Round 4 (#74): Fouquette has spent this season with the Prince Albert Mintos in the (SMAAAHL). This season, the product of Warman, Sask. has 11 points (2G-9A) in 43 games played. Fouquette’s play on the defensive end played a key role for Team Saskatchewan in their 2019 WHL Cup win.
Prince George Cougars
F Kyren Gronick – (2019) Round 2 (#26): Gronick is enjoying a breakout season with the Regina Midget AAA Pat Canadians in the SMAAAHL. The cousin of Stanley Cup Champion Chris Kunitz has tallied 49 points (15G-34A) in 38 games this season. Gronick also played a key role for Team Saskatchewan in their 2019 WHL Cup win.
Red Deer Rebels
D Jace Weir – (2019) Round 2 (#38): After the addition of Hunter Mayo in the first round, the Rebels selected Weir with their second-round selection at the 2019 Bantam Draft. This season, Weir has 21 points (7G-14A) in 32 games with the Okanagan Minor Midget Rockets in the BCMML. Weir also played a part in Team BC’s third- place finish at the 2019 WHL Cup.
F Kaiden Wiltsie – (2019) Round 5 (#90): Wiltsie spent the first half of his season with the CBHA Midget AAA Rangers in the Alberta Minor Midget Hockey League (AMMHL). The 5-foot-9, 146-pound centre tallied 30 points (15G-15A) in 35 games and has since joined the Calgary Midget AAA Buffaloes in the AMHL where he has one assist in four games.
F Ty Daneault – (2019) Round 7 (#151): Daneault has spent this season with the Red Deer Midget AAA Chiefs in the AMHL. This season, the 15-year-old has notched 13 points (8G-5A) in 31 games.
Swift Current Broncos
D Tyson Jugauth (2019) Round 1 (#21): The product of Kelowna, B.C. spent last season with the Okanagan Rockets in the BCMML, tallying 28 points (5G-23A) in 34 contests. This year, the 5-foot-9, 134 pound defenceman played a key part in Team B.C.’s third place finish at the 2019 WHL Cup.
F Julian Cull – (2019) Round 5 (#109): Cull has been impressive this season for Pacific Coast Academy Prep, registering 28 points (10G-18A) in 32 games. The 5-foot-11, 176-pound forward debuted for the Giants earlier this season on December 4 against his hometown Victoria Royals.
D Kalem Parker – (2019) Round 2 (#32): Parker has spent this season with the Saskatoon Blazers in the SMAAAHL. The defenceman has 12 points (3G-9A) in 29 games this season. The pride of Clavet, Sask. also featured on tournament winning Team Saskatchewan at the 2019 WHL Cup.
F Brayden Edwards – (2019) Round 6 (#127): The product of Abbotsford, B.C. has spent this season with Yale Hockey Academy Prep and has tallied 25 points (11G-14A) in 33 games. The 15-year-old will look to be a key piece for the ICE in the coming seasons as an offensive threat.