After the first full month of CHL play, there have been several players who have proven many doubters wrong and opened eyes with their inspired and productive play. Whether it was size concerns, doubts about a well-rounded game, or how well their elite talent would translate to the smaller North American ice surface, several players were ranked lower than their high skill level suggested before the year started. Throughout the three CHL leagues, these players have really raised their draft stock with their play throughout the first month of the season.
All stats are current through November 3rd, 2015
Alexander Nylander, RW, Mississauga Steelheads
Jake Bean, D, Calgary Hitmen
A talented offensive defenseman with a slight frame, Jake Bean is one of the more divisive prospects available for the draft next summer. Despite putting up strong numbers in his initial WHL season with 39 points in 51 games, Bean’s 6’0″, 172 pound frame left some with doubts about his ability to physically handle the rigors of the higher levels. Despite his offensive prowess, he also registered just two penalty minutes and was often the subject of sheltered minutes, leaving some concerns about his defensive acumen and lack of a mean streak.
Through his first 15 games of the season, however, Bean has established himself as one of the most dangerous two-way defenders in the entire WHL. With 15 points in this 15 games, including seven goals, Bean has shown his power play skill and all-around hockey IQ as the top blueliner on the Calgary Hitmen; he has also added a more physical side to his game, already registering 10 penalty minutes. With the emphasis on two-way defenders with good skating ability and puck skills at a premium in today’s NHL, Bean could be one of the first defenders off the board. Ranked in the 20’s before the season started on most draft lists, Bean could see his stock skyrocket if he continues scoring at such a torrid pace, while showing the defensive ability to succeed at the NHL level.
Vitaly Abramov, LW, Gatineau Olympiques
Joseph Aleong is an At-Large writer for THW from Toronto, Ontario. He is a graduate of Brock University in St. Catharines, ON. Follow him on Twitter @josephaleong11