The good folks at NHL Central Scouting recently compiled a list of players to keep a close eye on heading into the 2015 NHL draft. 19 players on the list are competing in the WHL, and two of them are currently playing for the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Center Mathew Barzal and defenseman Ethan Bear were the two Thunderbirds highlighted. Barzal is 5’11″, 174 pounds and is incredibly savvy with and without the puck. He was the first overall pick in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft, and played 59 games as a rookie at the very young age of 16. During his 2013-14 campaign, he scored 14 goals and reached a total of 54 points.
Ethan Bear, born in 1997, also had a big year in 2013. He scored nine goals and tallied 13 assists, and by the end of the year he had racked up 19 points. He sat in the sin bin for a total of 18 minutes, so he doesn’t live in the box, which is nice for such an aggressive player on defense. He stands just shy of 6’0″ tall, and weighs about 188 pounds. He will obviously put on some muscle weight as he moves forward in his hockey career, but so far his physical attributes have served him well.
These two young men will be key contributors to their Seattle Thunderbirds team, as they look to reclaim the WHL powerhouse title that the Portland Winter Hawks have had for entirely too long. It’s always fun to see a couple of young athletes work their way up the ladder and into the NHL after playing for the Thunderbirds.
These two are expected to make the leap at the end of the season. With the excellent coaching Seattle provides, they should be able to polish their raw abilities into invaluable talents that any NHL team would be foolish to pass on.