Hughie Hooker and Dawson Pasternak were two players who are under 5’6 and that were taken in the WHL draft last year. Both played in AAA Winnipeg and both were dynamic and outstanding players. The Kootenay Ice who selected Hooker also took several small players in the draft which could be a sign that they are open to players with talent and speed and not just size. Pasternak selected by the Portland Winterhawks are well known for taking small and talented players and developing them into NHL players. Just look at the Winnipeg Jets system and Nic Petan and Skyler MacKenzie.
If you were to watch the Winnipeg Warriors, Austin Peters stands out as a player that can bring you out of your seat. Quick crossovers generate his speed through the neutral and the offensive zone and he just glides by defenders. Peters is an interesting case of someone on the tipping point of being drafted to the WHL because of his talent and yet he is just a bit over 5’0 tall.
The WHL draft goes into the 15th round but not many teams select a player after the tenth. Even last year in a year where talent was deep in Bantam 1 only 33 players were taken from Manitoba. This year might see 20-25 taken. Its not a reflection of players’ dedication and drive its just a year where scouts need to assess if smaller players can make the jump to the next level. Peters is a likely talent that just might make the cut.