This week’s prospects include Kyle Olson (Tri-City Americans), Brady Lyle (North Bay Battalion) & Griffin Mendel (Penticton Vees).
Kyle Olson, C, Tri-City Americans, WHL
Weight: 150 lbs.
Born: March 22, 1999 – Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Draft: 2014 WHL Draft – Round #3 (45th overall) by the Tri-City Americans
Kyle Olson is another surprising threat at both ends of the ice and is as fearless as they come. A smaller winger, Olson gets pushed around a ton but gets right back up and will skate to the dangerous areas of the ice. A real patient player with the puck on his stick. Intelligent playmaker who waits for defence to make a move first, then can adjust on the spot and make a play out of nothing. Spark plug goes hard to the net and is not afraid to go to the greasy areas to get a goal or to create a scoring opportunity. He is not afraid of going in the corners and engaging physically with anybody, any size, any time. Third line centre on the depth chart behind fellow draft eligible Michael Rasmussen and Morgan Geekie. After scoring three goals and 10 points in his 16 year old season, Olson scored 20 goals and 57 points this past season.
DID YOU KNOW? Olson put up big numbers in Bantam playing for the Calgary Bisons in the AMBHL capped by a 39 goal, 80 point and 72 penalty minute season in 2013-14 prior to getting drafted by Tri-City. In his Midget season, he put up 16 goals, 36 points and 79 penalty minutes in 32 games.
Brady Lyle, D, North Bay Battalion, OHL
Weight: 196 lbs.
Born: June 6, 1999 – North Bay, Ontario, Canada
Draft: 2015 OHL Draft – Round #1 (18th overall) by the North Bay Battalion
Lyle is a real steady and smart playmaking defenceman. Has a nice crisp first pass out if his zone and likes to send a pass to a forward on the move headed up ice. He can anticipate and react well when the gaps close and he can't make a pass. He makes smart decisions and is a good defender one-on-one. The second year player has offensive upside and likes to put the puck on net. Gets off a good one-timer and has a quick release when he is in close and between the hash marks. Is a reliable power play performer and kills penalties as well. Had a tough rookie season in 2015-16 as he suffered from a broken collarbone during exhibition season and had a hard time finding ice time when he returned in December.
DID YOU KNOW? Lyle starred with the Shattuck St. Mary's under-16 midget team in Fairbault, Minnesota prior to getting drafted by his hometown Battalion. He scored 16 goals and 44 points in 55 games. His team won the National Championship and Lyle was the top scoring defenceman at the tournament.
Griffin Mendel, D, Penticton Vees, BCHL
Weight: 217 lbs.
Born: February 18, 1999 – Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
NCAA Commitment: – Denver University (Div. 1) 2017-2018
Penticton defenceman Griffin Mendel will not be a big point producer moving forward, but there may not be a better stay at home defenceman in the BCHL. Mendel shuts down opposing top lines, has a long reach that he uses to keep shooters off balance and to the outside. He is a huge player at 6’4, 217 and uses every bit of that size on the ice. Closes off gaps well and leaves no room for speedy wingers to get through. Clears his net well and leaves his goalie a clear look at the play. Good first pass out of the zone and will follow his pass and get himself into good position defensively. He has shown massive improvement and growth from this point last season. Has a rocket of a shot from the point and skates well for a big kid.
DID YOU KNOW? Mendel skated for the Okanagan Hockey Academy in the CSSHL after beginning the 2014-15 season playing in Penticton. He scored four goals and 14 points for the Academy. He also suited up for Team Canada in the World Under-17 Junior A Challenge earning an assist in six games.
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