Unlike the OHL Priority Selection that took place last month, which featured some intrigue as to the identity of that draft's top selection, the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft isn't likely to present any surprises when the Vancouver Giants make the the first selection overall.
The Giants, who are making their first-ever first overall pick, are expected to tab the offensively talented Tyler Benson of Edmonton's Bantam AAA Southgate Lions organization. Benson had a banner season for the Lions of the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League, which saw him break the points record of St. Louis Blues prospect, Ty Rattie. In 33 games, Benson scored 57 goals and added 89 assists for 146 points.
While it has been speculated that the 14-year-old Benson might want to go the exceptional player route, which would allow him to play in the WHL as a 15-year-old, all indications are that he will take the standard playing route to his presumed destination of Vancouver.
Benson is widely regarded as the best prospect for the WHL Bantam Draft. ISS Hockey has him ranked as their top prospect for this draft, and they provide the following scouting report for the gifted forward in their WHL Draft Guide:
1. TYLER BENSON
Born: Mar 15/98
Height: 5’11" Weight: 165
Team: Edmonton SSAC
Skating: Very Good
Hockey Sense: Excellent
Scouting Report: A slick and intelligent playmaker, Benson can do a bit of everything. He broke the Alberta Bantam AAA scoring record this season with ease and has the ability to take over a game at any moment. His timing and understanding of the play is what separates him from other players. He has great hands, a great release and sees the ice like the most elite players in the game.
Weaknesses: Needs to continue to develop and add strength. His game is fine for this level and the next but if he’s going to continue to be top level he needs to keep putting the work in.
WHL Potential: Gamebreaker.
ISS Hockey ranks the top 50 prospects for this WHL Bantam Draft in their draft guide, with their top five prospects being the following:
ISS Hockey has created draft guides for each of the CHL league drafts, as well as the CHL Import Draft that will take place in July. The WHL Draft Guide features a ranking of the top 50 WHL prospects; a mock draft; information on players available for the CHL Import Draft; and profiles of a number of the WHL draft eligibles, in the same format as the Benson profile featured above. If you'd like to purchase the ISS WHL Draft Guide, you can do so by clicking on this link. Once purchased the WHL draft guide is available for immediate download, so you can reference it as the WHL Bantam Draft is taking place.
Follow ISS Hockey on Twitter via @ISShockey