Top-60 2024 WHL Draft Rankings Released

Posted on Joel Henderson
Prabh Bhathal

We present the top-60 skater rankings for the 2024 WHL Draft as it currently sits. For those who are new to these rankings and have not followed in year’s past, the goal is to provide transparency with what is being watched and how the rankings are essentially formed. To provide a fairly accurate Top-20 or Top-60 ranking, there has to be a significant amount of hockey watched in regional and crossover events to get a sense of how players match up against one another. How does the 5th overall league scorer in the WAAAU15 match up against the 5th overall league scorer in the AEHL U15? It is all about the predictability of each individual player.

The photograph of the year is getting clearer as we have seen some of the important events of the year which include the Hockey Sask U15 event, CSSHL showcases, crossover tournaments in Regina and Saskatoon, and early BC events as well. January will bring the toughest test yet as teams head to Alberta for the John Reid U15 tournament and the Western Canadian Crown U15 event.

This past month was spent touching base with crossover games including Winnipeg teams, significant CSSHL games, AEHL league games, and the Hockey Sask Top-160 event among other individual player views. The current list continues to evolve.


Top Defenders?

With Landon Dupont from Edge U18 solidified as the top defender option in the draft, the next few options available are quite different in types of impact. Maintaining his spot at 4th overall sits the dynamic lateral manipulator in Brock Cripps. His most effective attribute comes when he’s moving through zones with pacing and can keep the other team guessing on which direction he’s going to drag the puck. His edges and reaction time is top-end and his production this season has been lights out as he currently leads the CSSHL in goals and overall points. Quite the feat for a defender.

The next best option continues to be Joaquin Geras, who is an outstanding two-way defender with size. His game is certainly quieter but you get competitive one-on-one defensive matchups, poised outlet passing, and net front physical play. He’s one who projects as an all situations Top Pair defender at the next levels.

After that, the two highest wild card players continue to be in Saskatchewan with Calder Hamilton in Martensville and Boston Tait with the Estevan Bruins. Calder is a 5’7 and 132 lb powerhouse defender who has top-end reaction timing, edgework, situational gaps and reaction time, slapshot, and a urgency for physicality. It is all about the layers his game will continue to grow as he physically matures. Boston is the stallion. He loves to puck rush, drag laterally, and explode into space to shoot his heavy and accurate wrist shot. The long-term development will be around his involvement laterally with teammates to diversify his options, but that skating stride and shot are hard to ignore already.


Saskatoon Challenge Cup

A few of the best Manitoba teams made their way to Saskatoon for a crossover event and they didn’t disappoint with their production. Five of the top six Saskatchewan teams were not present at the event so one would expect a productive performance from some of the offensive beasts. Our 22nd ranked skater in Prabh Bhathal led the tournament in goals with 12 in 5 games while our 56th ranked skater Tyden Lafournaise led in total points with 22 in 6.


Next wave of Defenders

Among the next wave of players ranked included the highest debut of Jack Bissoon at 33rd overall. Jack is one of the youngest players available for the draft with a December birthday but he’s already showing high-end processing in motion and fluidity in his skating stride to match up well against teams in the CSSHL. He’s one to continue to watch. On a ridiculously deep team as Edge U15 Prep is, Jack stands out as one with ample growth potential.

After that came the very dependable Kayne Wright from NAX and Reeve Waugh from Edge. These two players are on the opposite end of the spectrum as Bissoon since they are older, mature, and have a more poised two-way game already. With each passing viewing, I just notice that the consistency of play they offer is palpable.

It begins to open up after that with players who are starting to shine with upside performances like Saskatchewan’s Jake Hargrave and Aiden Wagner, or some of the bigger, longer-strided players like Harry Mattern, Carter Bylycia, and Cohen Williams. Harry, Carter, and Cohen are currently the front runners of a group of Dmen who have a considerably high floor to their game. There is no question in my mind that they could play at the pacing and physicality of the WHL. You’ll see more of these type of defenders emerge in the next update as well.

Last but not least as a pair of high-end skating threats in Brandon Wheat Kings defender Easten Turko and St. Albert Sabres defender Jaxon Pisani. They both accelerate with the length of their skating stride and their ability to evade pressure through transition.

For more detailed scouting and game reports on each player in our top 60, visit the 2024 WHL Draft Rankings page.

Joel Henderson