Top 10 WHL 2008 eligibles

By Glen Erickson

An alphabetical look at the top prospects in the WHL for the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

Kyle Beach, C

Jan. 13, 1990
6’3, 203 pounds
Kelowna, BC

Beach has scored 22 goals and 27 assists in 39 games, while collecting 142 penalty minutes. Last season, he tallied 29 goals and 32 assists in 65 games along with 196 penalty minutes. He picked up 11 points in 11 playoff games last season, second on the Everett Silvertips to Peter Mueller of the Phoenix Coyotes.

Among the crop of 2008 eligible forwards, Beach is as close to a total package as the WHL has to offer this season. A bruising power forward, Beach is overcoming alleged attitude problems to become one of the WHL‘s most sought-after prospects.

Zach Boychuk, C

Oct. 4, 1989
5’9, 176 pounds
Airdrie, AB

A proven scorer, Boychuck collected 51 points in 64 games as a rookie, then managed 31 goals, 60 assists, and a plus-19 ranking last season while finishing third overall in the WHL regular season scoring race. So far this season in 34 games, he has scored 16 goals and 18 assists.

Boychuk toils for the Lethbridge Hurricanes and gives the team an opportunity to win every night out. To the organization’s credit, he has not been held back from putting his offensive skills on display. A member of Team Canada at the WJC, Boychuk had no points and was even in the tournament.

Jordan Eberle, C

May 15, 1990
5’11, 170 pounds
Regina, Saskatchewan

Eberle has scored 25 goals and 18 assists in 41 games, with just 10 penalty minutes. He scored 27 goals and 28 assists in 66 games last season as a rookie.

He does not dominate physically, but understands his role and is very confident with the puck. Eberle sees plenty of ice time, which will hasten his development as a complete player. He will continue to benefit as the Regina Pats lean on him for consistent offensive production.

Tyler Ennis, C

Oct. 6, 1989
5’9, 160 pounds
Edmonton, Alberta

Ennis has scored 23 goals and 32 assists in 42 games. Last season, he tallied 26 goals and 24 assists in 71 games. He played in 43 WHL games as a 16-year-old.

The Medicine Hat Tigers simply continue to develop NHL prospects. The diminutive Ennis ha s skated on one of the top lines in the WHL with Brennan Bosch and Daine Todd. He has a quick release and creates puck velocity that is no longer a surprise to opposition goaltenders. A durable forward, Ennis looks to be a lock to become a 300-game man in the WHL. Ennis has twice been named the WHL’s Player of the Week this season.

Tyler Myers, D

Feb. 1, 1990
6’6, 194 pounds
Calgary, Alberta

Myers has scored four goals and four assists in 37 games while battling nagging injuries. He played nine games as a 15-year-old, then 59 games in his first full season.

An effortlessly fluid skater, Myers has captured the attention of pro scouts. He is gifted offensively, providing scoring potential from the backend for the Kelowna Rockets. His size alone will earn a serious look from NHL teams during the second half of the season, but he’ll have to remain healthy and prove he can log big minutes.

Jordan Rowley, D

April 3, 1990
6′, 180 pounds
Edmonton, Alberta

Rowley has collected one goal and eight assists in 36 games, including his first ever WHL goal on Dec. 30.

However, Rowley is not leaned upon in Kamloops at this point to post huge offensive numbers. With the Blazers, Rowley is proving he has the ability to play big minutes in all situations. Due to the departure of highly-touted Keaton Ellerby via the trade route in early November, Rowley has been fingered by the Kamloops coaching staff to broaden his contributions in all situations.

Luke Schenn, D

Nov. 2, 1989
6’3, 209 pounds
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Schenn has scored five goals and 13 assists in 31 games, while posting a plus-10 ranking and 63 penalty minutes for Kelowna. He made the Rockets roster as a 15-year-old and played in 60 games during is rookie season. Last year, he played in all 72 games, collecting 29 points and 139 penalty minutes.

A staple in Hockey Canada programs for the past three seasons, Schenn spent the holiday season in the Czech Republic with Team Canada at the WJC, where he went scoreless but was +5. He plays in all situations for Kelowna and is looked upon as a key leader during the Rockets resurgence this season.

Colten Teubert, D

March 8, 1990
6’4, 181 pounds
White Rock, BC

Teubert has scored five goals and four assists in 40 games, along with 85 penalty minutes and a minus-13 rating for Regina. He played 14 games as a 16-year-old and last year, in his first full season, appeared in 63 games.

On a deep blueline in Regina, the Pats rely on the defensemen to contribute offensively. This aspect of Teubert’s game is certain to develop over time, but for now he will be looked upon to work specifically at keeping the puck out of the Pats’ net. Continued focus on building foot speed and quickness will complement his physical stature.

Mitch Wahl, C

Jan. 22, 1990
6′, 183 pounds
Seal Beach, California

Wahl has scored 13 goals and 34 assists in 39 games while posting a plus-29 ranking for Spokane, which makes him the league leader in plus/minus by one. Last season, he tallied 16 goals and 32 assists in 69 games.

On a Spokane team that has been built patiently for a breakout season, Wahl and crew have been consistently ranked in the CHL’s top ten this year. A tireless worker, Wahl is effective at both ends of the rink. He will be looked upon to maintain consistent production during the second half of the season and will be a key contributor to an overdue playoff run by the Chiefs. A deep playoff run will certainly heighten is profile leading up to the NHL Entry Draft.

James Wright, C

March 24, 1990
6’2, 180 pounds
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Wright has scored 11 goals and 16 assists in 40 games, having slowed somewhat in recent weeks.

Wright is benefiting from the Giants deep playoff runs and is one of the young crop in Vancouver who have become better players through their association with the club’s Memorial Cup pilgrimages during the past two seasons. He is destined to become an offensive contributor in Vancouver and is comfortable initiating physical play.