Jett is Woo-ing potential draft suitors for Moose Jaw
He’s not a blazing skater, but he possesses solid first-step acceleration and top speed. He’s also incredibly sturdy on his feet, making him hard to knock over or knock off the puck, both while in motion and while fighting for space in front of the net or along the boards.
Woo’s stickhandling, passing and shooting are also all good, but his strongest offensive asset is by far his awareness. He keeps his head up, scanning the play and accurately predicting how events will unfold. He keeps himself ready to move, whether it’s to the other point or further into the offensive zone, depending on how he can best support his forwards. When he has the puck on his stick he does a great job of showing patience and confidence as he scans for holes in coverage. He was a true threat on the power play in this game, sneaking into high-danger areas as a shooting option and attempting backdoor passes.
The area where Woo stood out the most in this game, however, was on the defensive side of the puck. His one-on-one transition coverage was great, staying tight to forwards and using an active stick to disrupt them when they got close. His excellent ability to read the play was evident in his own zone as well, covering passing lanes and picking the right times to roam out for support versus staying close to his net. And when the puck was on his stick, Woo was quick to get it up to safety, using both his skating and his passing to clear it out of the zone.
A true Jack-of-all-trades defenseman with no real holes in his game, Woo can do a little bit of everything, and do it well. He’ll likely never be a guy that makes fans jump out of their seats, but it won’t be a surprise to see him one day become a trusted, minute-munching defender at the NHL level.
Wouters being groomed for #1 centre role
17-year-old Chase Wouters has been steadily earning a bigger role with the Blades as the season has gone on, and this weekend’s games were a perfect example of that. Over three games Wouters took more faceoffs, far more, than any other Saskatoon player. He took 20 draws on Sunday against the Brandon Wheat Kings, with the next closest player only taking 11, showing how much trust the Blades coaches have in him.
With an increased role has come increased production: Wouters has scored 11 points over his past six games.
The Blades will be losing their top two players – overagers Cameron Hebig and Braylon Shmyr – at the end of this season no matter what, so it looks as if the team is already starting to get Wouters ready for playing a central role. So far, he seems up to the task.
Barteaux bettering his draft odds in Red Deer
Alexander Alexeyev isn’t the only draft-eligible defenseman from the Red Deer Rebels to keep an eye on this season.
Dawson Barteaux, the 14th overall pick in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft, has taken a step forward lately for the Rebels. The 6-1, right-shot defender has seven points in his last seven games from the back end, including production on the powerplay.
Mired in a devastating, stunning tailspin that has seen them only win two games since Nov. 1, the 2017-18 season is all but done for the Rebels. If they start to focus their attention on preparing for next season that could result in a lot more minutes for Barteaux, which might help to boost his draft profile.