Silvertips select defenceman Landon DuPont first overall in WHL Draft

Landon DuPont takes part in a media event in Calgary in a Monday, April 8, 2024 handout photo. Hockey Canada granted Landon DuPont, a 14-year-old defenceman from Calgary, exceptional player status. (Jenn Pierce/THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, WHL)

The Everett Silvertips selected defenceman Landon DuPont with the No. 1 pick in the WHL Draft on Thursday after he was granted exceptional player status.

The 14-year-old from Calgary became just the ninth player to receive exceptional player status and only the second in the WHL after Connor Bedard in 2020.

DuPont recorded a team-leading 19 goals and 62 points in 30 games with Edge School’s U18 team.

“Obviously he’s a superstar in the making, and he’s the real deal,” Edge coach James Poole told Sportsnet’s Eric Francis. “I got a chance to see Bedard at 14. Landon is special. A defenceman doing what he does and how much the game revolves around him is pretty special.

“I think the skating is the first thing, and he reads the game just a couple plays ahead of everyone else. Cale Makar comes to mind in terms of how much the game revolves around him. Everyone likes to say they’re Cale Makar, but I think we’ve got the real deal here that actually legitimately plays, and that can actually take over a game, like him.”

He is the son of former NHL defenceman Micki DuPont, who played 23 games over four seasons with the Calgary Flames, Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues.

“His offensive zone awareness, and ability to move from one quadrant to the next to make a seam pass, speaks to DuPont’s hockey sense and spatial recognition,” scout and Sportsnet analysis Jason Bukala wrote in his Future Considerations column.

“The game is played in three zones, not just the offensive end, and DuPont is plenty responsible defensively. He’s not the tallest or heaviest defenceman (yet), but he competes to move opponents off the puck and create turnovers in his zone that lead to zone exits for his group.”

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