Due to the emergence of Bedard, yours truly has found himself paying attention to the happenings of the WHL, where a few Rangers prospects have emerged.
Unfortunately, goaltender Talyn Boyko, (Round 4, 2021, 112 overall) isn’t one of them, as the backup Kelowna Rockets netminder has struggled this season, posting a 3.55 GAA and .898 save percentage.
Unless an injury to his partner transpires, the 20-year-old will be on the bench as his Rockets square off in the first round against the favored Seattle Thunderbirds, who they currently trail 1-0 after coughing up a 2-0 lead for a 3-2 defeat in the series opener on Friday.
Down in Red Deer, Jayden Grubbe(Round 3, 2021,65 overall) is giving Rebels fans a season to remember, with the 20-year-old likely bound for Hartford next season should he agree to an entry-level contract with the Rangers this Summer. In 64 tilts, the 6’3, 201IBS center scored 18 times and had 67 points, good for second on the team.
Grubbe has displayed two-way toughness as the lead center, with a relentless work ethic that has him primed for bigger and better things. As former NHLer and two-time Stanley Cup champion Brent Sutter said, “He is exceptional.”
In the Rebels playoff opener against the Calgary Hitmen, he boxed out the defender in front and pounced on the loose puck for a goal in the 3-0 victory before the Hitmen responded with a 2-1 overtime victory to seize home ice advantage and even the best of seven series at a game apiece.
In Moose Jaw, Ryder Korczak (Round 3, 2021, 75 overall), began the 22-23 season with Hartford but was quickly returned to the Warriors after five games. Since then, the 20-year-old has responded with 28 goals and 69 points in 48 games. As Conor Power recently noted, “New York traded up in the third round to nab the 5’11, 170 lbs centerman out of Yorkton, Saskatoon, who signed his entry-level deal in May last year.”
Per Dobber Prospects, who give him a 70% chance to reach the NHL, “ Korczak is a shifty offensive threat with good vision and passing ability. He has a slight frame that lacks strength and will need to add more explosiveness to his stride, but he could blossom into a productive NHLer.”
Despite not getting on the scoresheet, Ryder had plenty of chances throughout Moose Jaw’s series opener against Lethbridge, where the Warriors emerged with a 2-1 double-overtime victory, but did score in Moose Jaw’s 5-1 game two wins.
Should Moose Jaw advance, they could see Bedard’s Pats in round two, as Regina dominated the Saskatoon Blades, winning both games on the road for a commanding 2-0 series lead. The 17-year-old phenom, whose 72 goals and 143 points in the regular season saw him win the CHL Player of the Year award, scored twice in the 6-1 game one victory and recorded a hat trick in the 6-5 overtime, game two triumphs.
All three CHL leagues have streaming packages you can but if you’re not willing to pay the price, you can find highlights on their websites or on YouTube. Meanwhile, the Frozen Four games will be on ESPN2/ESPN+.
QUESTIONS TO BLS READERS:
1. Which Rangers prospect are you most looking forward to potentially seeing on Broadway and why?
2. Who are you siding with in the Frozen Four, QMJHL, OHL, and WHL playoffs?