Mid-Season Prospect Report: The 02’s
The Calendar has flipped over into 2018 and pushes are becoming shoves in the hockey world. The annual Midget AAA Mac’s Tournament has come to a close, the World Juniors are into the final few days, and the WHL trade deadline is fast approaching. Soon teams in the Western Hockey League will have their final rosters set to battle towards the playoffs and beyond, while prospects in bantam and midget will lay it all on the line in hopes of getting a call; either at the draft table or to join their major junior club down the stretch.
With half the season in the books, it’s time to check in on Saskatoon’s prospect pool and see how the future of the Blades have been progressing through the first half of the season. First up is the most recent 2017 draft class:
Hometown: Chestermere, AB
D.O.B: February 10th, 2002
Acquired: 1st round (10th overall) at 2017 WHL Bantam Draft
|Rocky Mountain Raiders AAA – AMBHL||2015-16||35||36||35||71||10|
|Pursuit of Excellence Bantam Prep – CSSHL||2016-17||30||40||39||79||26|
|Northern Alberta Xtreme Midget Prep – CSSHL||2017-18||22||22||20||42||22|
F Kyle Crnkovic – The 10th overall selection by Saskatoon in 2017, Kyle Crnkovic is hard to miss when he’s on the ice. Initially because of his smaller stature, but mostly because of his raw skill. While some may try to compare him to the likes of Johnny Gaudreau because of his size, his explosive foot speed has him looking more similar to a player like Max Domi.
Crnkovic (Kring-Koh-Vick) plays in the CSSHL Midget Prep league with the Northern Alberta Xtreme. Through 22 games he has already piled up 42 points including 22 goals and 20 helpers. That’s good for 2nd in the league at just 15 years old. Tenacious without the puck and extremely elusive with it, Crnkovic is just as dangerous as a shooter as he is when dishing the biscuit off to teams mates.
Kyle showed his offensive prowess at the WHL Cup in October leading all players at the tournament in scoring with 12 points in 5 games for Team Alberta.
Hometown: Chestermere, AB
D.O.B: February 20th, 2002
Acquired: 2nd round (31st overall) at 2017 WHL Bantam Draft
|Calgary Bisons AAA – AMBHL||2015-16||34||6||6||12||18|
|Calgary Bisons AAA – AMBHL||2016-17||35||30||42||72||50|
|CBHA Rangers Minor Midget AAA||2017-18||22||13||38||51||40|
Size, strength, grit, and skill. Braden is your prototypical power forward. And as you can see in his stat line, he generates and contributes plenty of offense. This isn’t a player known for going around opponents to retrieve pucks, he will go through you and show no mercy in the process. He wants the puck and he wants to make things happen with it. Plaschewsky is clipping along at over 2 points per game in minor midget, and his starting to see regular call ups to the Calgary Buffaloes Midget AAA club.
Hometown: Vancouver, BC
D.O.B: October 12th, 2002
Acquired: 5th round (102nd overall) at 2017 WHL Bantam Draft
|Burnaby Winter Club A1 – PCBHL||2016-17||67||97||81||178||20|
|Burnaby Winter Club Midget Prep – CSSHL||2017-18||22||11||24||35||0|
Now here’s a player you can compare to Johnny Gaudreau – Kalen Szeto is a dynamic offensive talent with exceptional vision on the ice. Also currently playing in the CSSHL, Szeto sits 11th in league scoring with 35 points through 22 games.
Hometown: Campbell River, BC
D.O.B: May 12th, 2002
Acquired: 7th round (137th overall) at 2017 WHL Bantam Draft
|Yale Hockey Academy – CSSBHL||2016-17||25||11||16||27||46|
|North Island Silvertips||2017-18||18||4||4||8||80|
A combination of skill and grit, Davis loves to get under the skin of his opposition and doesn’t shy away from the physical side of the game. In fact, he’s usually the one initiating it.
Hometown: Lumsden, SK
D.O.B: September 23rd, 2002
Acquired: 10th round (203rd overall) at 2017 WHL Bantam Draft
|Prairie Storm – SBAAHL||2016-17||30||38||22||60||58|
|Moose Jaw Generals – SMAAAHL||2017-18||28||9||8||17||46|
Cal “Cowboy” Caragata was a late pick in 2017, but don’t let that fool you. Cal has been finding his stride in Midget AAA this season in Moose Jaw, seeing regular time on the power play and is overall a force to be reckoned with. He uses his sturdy frame to win battles and punish the opposition. You wouldn’t guess this kid turned 15 in September if you met him face to face.
Aidan De La Gorgendiere
Hometown: Langley, BC
D.O.B: February 22nd, 2002
Acquired: 1st round (5th overall) at 2017 WHL Bantam Draft
|Delta Hockey Academy Bantam Varsity – CSSBVHL||2015-16||24||6||18||24||22|
|Yale Hockey Academy Bantam Prep – CSSBHL||2016-17||30||5||21||26||50|
|Yale Hockey Academy Elite 15s – CSSHL E15||2016-17||4||2||2||4||2|
|Yale Hockey Academy Midget Prep – CSSHL||2018-18||17||2||14||16||34|
Drafted 5th overall in 2017, the “5 tool” defenseman is currently playing with Yale Hockey Academy’s Midget Prep team in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League. Through 17 games, “De La” has 2 goals and 14 assists to go along with 34 PIM. He’s also got a taste of the Western Hockey League, after making his Blades debut in Everett against the Silvertips back on December 2nd.
Being selected at 5th overall, the idea would be this is a player that can do it all and play in every situation, and that’s exactly what you get with Aidan. He already has the size and this is a kid who is confident in his abilities.
Hometown: Cloverdale, BC
D.O.B: May 3rd, 2002
Acquired: 2nd round (42nd overall) at 2017 WHL Bantam Draft
|Delta Hockey Academy Bantam Varsity – CSSBVHL||2015-16||24||2||12||14||28|
|Delta Hockey Academy Bantam Prep||2016-17||30||2||15||17||22|
|Delta Hockey Academy Midget Prep – CSSHL||2017-18||25||2||7||9||14|
Kurtis, like many other Blades prospects, is also currently playing in the CSSHL Midget Prep League with Delta Hockey Academy. Don’t expect a ton of flash from this kid, instead he’s the type of player you need in order to win. Reliable, sees the ice well, and knows how to manage the game from the backend. His hockey IQ allows him create offense when available without taking too many risks.
Hometown: Prince Albert, SK
D.O.B: January 24th, 2002
Acquired: 5th round (109th overall) at 2017 WHL Bantam Draft
|Prince Albert Raiders – SBAAHL||2015-16||30||2||11||13||6|
|Prince Albert Raiders – SBAAHL||2016-17||30||10||25||35||46|
|Prince Albert Mintos – SMAAAHL||2017-18||27||2||21||23||14|
Alex had a strong showing for team Saskatchewan at the WHL Cup and has made a nice transition into midget AAA this season with the Mintos. Despite being a rookie, he’s been seeing regular time on both the PP and PK with the Mintos. His numbers are among the best in his age group across the league this season, leading all 15 year old defensemen in points. He also ranked 7th in league scoring among all rookies. Has an effective shot and a knack for finding lanes through traffic.
Hometown: Victoria, BC
D.O.B: May 23rd, 2002
Acquired: 8th round (159th overall) at 2017 WHL Bantam Draft
|Juan De Fuca Grizzlies T1 – VIAHA||2016-17||–||4||12||16||–|
|Pacific Coast Hockey Academy E15 – CSSHL||2017-18||20||0||2||2||18|
Chase Barlow is a competitor and a leader on his Elite 15 team that hasn’t had much success this season (2-19-1). However, his play has earned him 6 games with the Midget Prep team. If a pass isn’t available, Chase has the ability to rush the puck up the ice himself and create plays.
Hometown: Winnipeg, MB
D.O.B: April 30th, 2002
Acquired: 9th round (181st overall) at 2017 WHL Bantam Draft
|Winnipeg Warriors Bantam AAA – WBAAA||2016-17||33||4||15||19||0|
|Rink Academy Elite 15 – CSSHL||2017-18||19||1||3||4||2|
Kyle’s best asset is his skating which is the most important attribute in today’s game in any position on the ice. Still needing some size, Kyle uses his brain instead of his body to defend and make plays. Plenty of potential for Kyle to impress above his draft position thanks to his work ethic, poise, and of course his skating ability.
Hometown: Rivers, MB
D.O.B: September 28th, 2002
Acquired: 10th round (206th overall) at 2017 WHL Bantam Draft
|Yellowhead Chiefs Bantam AAA – WBAAA||2015-16||35||0||7||7||6|
|Yellowhead Chiefs Bantam AAA – WBAAA||2016-17||35||5||26||31||30|
|Yellowhead Chiefs – MMHL||2017-18||28||2||6||8||16|
Big, tough, and hard to play against. Zach obviously brings size to the table and is quickly figuring out how to use it to his advantage in Midget.
Hometown: Saskatoon, SK
D.O.B: February 9th, 2002
|Saskatoon Generals Bantam AA – SBAAHL||2016-17||29||9||15||24||18|
|Saskatoon Blazers – SMAAAHL||2017-18||22||0||1||1||8|
Undrafted local product Anthony Toporowski earned himself a spot on the Blades list after a strong showing as a camp invite. Anthony is a cerebral player who anticipates the game with ease. He’s making the adjustment to Midget AAA this season as a rookie and knows how to utilize his strengths. A steady presence on the backend that is beginning to earn ice time on both the PP and PK.
Hometown: Burnaby, BC
D.O.B: January 31st, 2002
Acquired: 2nd round (35thth overall) at 2017 WHL Bantam Draft
|Burnaby Winter Club A1 – PCBHL||2016-17||–||–||–||–||–|
|Burnaby Winter Club Elite 15 – CSSHL||2017-18||8||6||2||1.51||.949|
The 35th overall pick in last year’s draft is off to a hot start this season with the Burnaby Winter Club’s Elite 15 squad. Koen also helped Team BC to the WHL Cup title in October, and has earned two call ups from the Blades. The youngster has yet to see any WHL action but has been soaking in the culture from another young star between the pipes for Saskatoon… Nolan Maier.
Stay tuned next week for an update on the Blades 2016 draft class to see which 16 year olds could earn a call up down the stretch of the regular season.