This week’s prospects include Sam Steel of the Regina Pats, Tyler Benson of the Vancouver Giants and Jacob Chychrun of the Sarnia Sting.
Sam Steel – Regina Pats (WHL)
Born: February 3, 1998 – Sherwood Park, Alberta
Weight: 175 lbs.
Steel oozes hockey intelligence and has the ability to have the game either slow down or speed up to his pace. Anticipates where the play will be going and not where it is. Does a great job of getting himself open and creating scoring chances for himself. Cycles well along the perimeter and head is always on a swivel. He has grown confidence in his physical play in the corners. Steel has had back-to-back injury riddled seasons and needs to stay healthy this season if he wants to hear his name in the first 30 picks.
Grade: Steel’s Hockey IQ is above average and staying health is the key ingredient that will make him stand out above many other players just like him. B+
Tyler Benson – Vancouver Giants (WHL)
Position: Left Wing
Born: March 15, 1998 – Edmonton, Alberta
Weight: 195 lbs.
Benson is A real competitor who never quits on a play and leaves it all on the ice. Will engage physically and get under the skin of opponents. A real choppy skater but gets from point A to point B with his large body frame making room and clearing the way. A good defensive forward, he knows his role on both sides of the red line. Can burst past defenders on the outside and make the D-man look silly while he does it. Good stick handler and isn't afraid to cut through the middle or go to the dirty areas to create chances. Has an edge to his game that creates an on-ice intensity that can't be matched.
Grade: Benson, 17, earned the honor of wearing the ‘C’ on his jersey by his work ethic and competitive love of the game that rubs off on his teammates. B+
Jacob Chychrun – Sarnia Sting (OHL)
Born: March 31, 1998 – Boca Raton Florida, USA
Weight: 215 lbs.
Chychrun is most likely the first defenseman off the board come June. An all around athlete, Chychrun is a big, strong offensive defenseman that plays well beyond his teenage years. He is an intimidating presence on the ice with a powerful stride that makes skating look effortless for the hulking defenseman. He has great vision on the ice and can anticipate the play developing in front of him and use his big reach to break up a pass and separate his man from the puck effectively. He does have a weak shot from the point, which is puzzling given his size.
Grade: Clearly the best two-way defenseman in the draft but coming from off-season shoulder surgery, it is best to keep an eye on how he develops as he plays an entire season. A
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