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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Top 10 Players to watch at the John Reid Memorial Tournament

     The 34th annual John Reid Memorial Tournament is set to begin bright and early Thursday morning in St. Albert, Alberta.
     The first tournament was held way back in 1979 with Sherwood Park defeating St. Albert in the final.  In 1985, the tournament changed from a Bantam A tournament to a Bantam Major A tournament.  Then in 1994, the tournament increased from the previous 8 teams to 12 teams and then to 16 teams in 2009 as it is now.
     St. Albert as host has won just once in the history of the tournament.  The Notre Dame Hounds and Thunder Bay Kings have won 4 times each.  Thunder Bay won 4 straight tournaments from 1997-2000.
     In 1993 the tournament changed its name from the Gregg Distributors Tournament under coach John Reid who was employed at Gregg Distributors.  In 2003, Mr. Reid passed away from a battle with cancer and in 2004 the tournament became known as the John Reid Memorial Tournament.
     This tournament has turned in to one of the most heavily scouted events in western Canada in preparation for the bantam draft.  Last season over 75 WHL scouts were in attendance.

Top 10 Players to watch at the Tournament
10.   F- Zach Sawchenko - Calgary Royals - The Royals success at this tournament will be its continued team play and goalie Zach Sawchenko.  Zach has been lights out this year sporting a 11-1-0 record with a 1.42 GAA and a .944 save percentage.  Those numbers are far and away tops in the AMBHL by over a half a goal per game.

9.  F- Rylee Zimmer - Notre Dame Hounds - Rylee was thought of as a sure fire first round prospect entering the 2011-2012 season.  However, playing in the Midget league in South Saskatchewan seems to have hurt some of the prospects game play this year.  This tournament will be very important for Rylee to re-emerge as a top talent and put a stamp on his status as a top prospect.

8.   F- Giorgio Estephan - SSAC Southgate Lions - The leading scorer in the AMBHL by a 13 point gap over his 98 born team-mate Tyler Benson, Giorgio will look to lead our top 5 ranked SSAC to a tournament win.  Estephan will look to cement himself as a top 10 talent for the draft with a strong tournament.

7.   D- Joe Gatenby - POE - The smooth skating defender is one of the most offensive defenceman in western Canada.  He will look to lead POE to its first major tournament final this season.  Look for Joe to rise up to a legit first round consideration after this tournament.  In fact all of the POE defence will be watched and scouted closely as 5 of them could be top 2 round selections.  Joe won top defenseman at the other major tournament this season in Medicine Hat.

6.   F- Sherwood Park Defence - Pretty tough to just choose one of the defenceman that Sherwood Park possess.  Jordan Boulton, Cameron Reagan, Brendan Guhle and 98 born Colin Paradis give the Flyers a legit chance at victory.  Again as POE above is strong and could have several drafted in the top 2 rounds, Sherwood Park boasts the same.

5.   F- Jansen Harkins - NSWC Winterhawks - The offensive catalyst on one of the favourites to win the tournament.  Harkins has impressed all season long, winning tournament MVP at the Medicine Hat Tournament.  He has vaulted in to top 5 consideration overall for the bantam draft in May.  He is the son of former NHL'er Todd Harkins

4.   F-  Nick Merkley - Calgary Bisons - Nick enters the tournament as perhaps one of the most exciting players to watch.  He has outstanding speed and natural skill.  Currently Nick ranks 2nd in the AMBHL with 34 goals and is 3rd in league scoring.  He is also ranked in our top 5 currently for the WHL bantam draft.

3.   F- Tyler Soy - Cloverdale Colts - Tyler has been injured for much of the first half of the season.  However, since his return in November he has led his squad to a tournament victory in Burnaby over Christmas and wins over NSWC and BWC.  Soy has had limited viewing so far this season and should definitely garner consideration as a top 10 pick at the completion of the tournament.

2.   F- Adam Musil - BWC Bruins - Adam has improved consistently all season long.  He is very intriguing just due to his approximate 6'2 170lb size already and his strong two-way game.  Musil is the brother of Vancouver Giants and Edmonton Oiler prospect David Musil as well as the son of former NHL rear-guard Frank Musil.  David will help BWC very far in this tournament and is not in the shadow of Barzal anymore!

1.   F- Matt Barzal - BWC Bruins -  One of the most talked about players in recent memory.  Matt Barzal has drawn comparisons to former BWC star and Edmonton Oilers first overall selection Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.  Not sure if we agree with those comparisons but Matt is definitely the odds on favourite to go first overall despite the huge pressure he has faced.  This will be one of the final looks scouts will have to see Matt against the top talent from western Canada prior to the draft.  How many scouts will the Silvertips have in St. Albert???


Anonymous said...

I am curious as to who you would compare Barzal too? From what I have seen perhaps Matt Duchene.

Anonymous said...

Harkins and Seto will dominate in the points race, I hope Barzal stays healthy , we hope this boy plays more then Salo, he is good for 10 to 15 games then hit or plagued with more injuries.