NHL Draft Rankings: Top 10 WHL prospects

Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice. (Marissa Baecker/Getty)

Every month leading up the NHL Draft, Sam Cosentino ranks the top-10 draft-eligible players from a different league in the CHL. For January, Cosentino breaks down prospects from the WHL.

1. Sam Reinhart, Kootenary Ice

Position: Centre
Shoots: Right
Birthdate: Nov. 6/95
Height/weight: 6’0.75”, 185 lbs

Reinhart is not fancy and he’s not flashy. However, his hockey IQ is NHL ready; the physical maturity will come. His fire burns deep with a cool exterior.


2. Nikita Scherbak, Saskatoon Blades

Position: Right wing
Shoots: Left
Birthdate: Dec. 30/95
Height/weight: 6’2”, 174 lbs

Without talented overage help in Saskatoon, the second half of the season will be a big proving ground. He is this year’s Nikita Zadorov.


3. Leon Draisatl, Prince Albert Raiders

Position: Centre
Shoots: Left
Birthdate: Oct. 27/95
Height/weight: 6’1.75”, 208 lbs

The entire package is present. Hockey bloodlines are great. His performances at the World Junior Hockey Championships and Top Prospects Game were not indicative of how good he is.


4. Haydn Fleury, Red Deer Rebels

Position: Defence
Shoots: Left
Birthdate: Jul. 8/96
Height/weight: 6’2.5”, 198 lbs

Fleury is a first-pass guy that can join the rush. He has good size and defends well. He has a pro mentality, is coachable and learns from others.


5. Conner Bleackley, Red Deer Rebels

Position: Centre
Shoots: Left
Birthdate: Feb. 7/96
Height/weight: 6’0.5”, 192 lbs

Bleackley is an excellent competitor. He’s good on face-offs and plays a 200-foot game. Offence has blossomed as Rebels’ top option.


6. Jake Virtanen, Calgary Hitmen

Position: Centre
Shoots: Right
Birthdate: Aug. 17/96
Height/weight: 6’0.75”, 208 lbs

Virtanen already plays a power-forward game with an NHL shot that is hard and heavy. He has a solid frame that will grow.


7. Julius Honka, Swift Current Broncos

Position: Defence
Shoots: Right
Birthdate: Dec. 3/95
Height/weight: 5’10.5”, 178 lbs

The Broncos defenceman has dynamic offensive skill. He’s a great puck mover and skater, and being a right shot is a plus for him. Honka reminds me of Cam Fowler.


8. Brycen Martin, Swift Current Broncos

Position: Defence
Shoots: Left
Birthdate: May 9/96
Height/weight: 6’1.75”, 182 lbs

He has good puck skills, but there is some hesitance on D-zone retrievals. Martin has an outdoor rink background and has grown to love the game.


9. Chase De Leo, Portland Winterhawks

Position: Centre
Shoots: Left
Birthdate: Oct. 25/95
Height/weight: 5’9”, 177 lbs

De Leo thinks the game well, and slips into soft spots in coverage. He has a good shot and quick release, and is responsible in all three zones.


10. Aaron Irving, Edmonton Oil Kings

Position: Defence
Shoots: Right
Birthdate: Mar. 3/96
Height/weight: 6’0.5”, 189 lbs

Irving was the lowest-rated player at the Top Prospects Game, but wasn’t out of place. His unseen-before offensive side will boost him up a lot of lists.


NOTE: This list includes only players that are playing in the WHL. All heights/weights listed were taken from NHL Central Scouting as measured at the BMO Top Prospects Game.