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(Article) top-10 WHL players

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Via HockeyNow

As the regular season inches nearer to a close, the jockeying for draft positions intensifies.

Last season, 33 players heard their name called and with the way this season is shaping up, it looks like there could be even more walking onto the stage this June.

Here is my regular season list of the top 10 draft eligible players

1. Sam Reinhart - C, Kootenay Ice
What is there to say about Reinhart that hasn't already been said? I know, with the number one pick, the “X” team is proud to select, from the Kootenay Ice, Sam Reinhart. I honestly don't see a weakness in his game and whoever takes him is getting a great player and an even nicer person.

2. Leon Draisaitl - C, Prince Albert Raiders
Every time I see him, I think he's the next great NHL player. He has the vision to make anyone he plays with better, and the kid has the makings of becoming a top-25 scorer one day. But while he might be the most talented player in the draft, my one concern is whether he'll ever be able to carry a team because he has yet to take the Prince Albert Raiders anywhere.

3. Jake Virtanen - LW, Calgary Hitmen
You won't find a more physically talented player in this year’s draft than Jake Virtanen. He's one of the best skaters in the draft and can often be seen using his size and athletic ability to make life difficult on the forecheck. If you're looking for a surefire guy who can slot into someone’s top 6 next season, put your money on Virtanen.

4. Julius Honka - D, Swift Current Broncos
Whether it's suiting up for Finland or playing out on the Prairies, Honka is one player that is hard to take your eyes off of. He is an excellent skater who can either skate the puck up ice himself, or make a beautiful pass to start the rush. Along with his skating and skill, Honka has shown he's not afraid of the tough stuff. Make sure to check out Karlsson 2.0 if you can.

5. Haydn Fleury - D, Red Deer Rebels
When people look back in 10 years, there is a very real possibility that Fleury will be looked upon as the best defenceman. The tools he has makes him a bit of a project, but once he settles into the NHL, there won't be too many defencemen with his combination of size, skating and skill. If you're looking for a comparison, think a more intense Jay Bouwmeester-type of player.

6. Brayden Point - C, Moose Jaw
He flew under the radar to start the season, but there haven't been many draft eligible players that have played as well as Point. He's a shifty little player that has the hands to make defencemen look foolish. When he is on the ice, you just know that he's going to make something happen. While some are concerned with his size, I feel he has the edge to be a very good NHL player.

7. Conner Bleackley - C, Red Deer Rebels
He's a good kid that just screams that he'll one day be wearing an “A” or a “C” at the NHL level. He plays the perfect 200-foot game and gives his all every shift—no one ever outworks him. Along with his killer work ethic, he's also good at finishing in tight and he has a knack for finding space in the offensive zone. Bleackley is one player that will have a very long NHL career.

8. Joe Hicketts - D, Victoria Royals
He's small, yes, but you're not going to find a smarter and more committed defenceman in this year’s draft. Hicketts is a good skater that seems to always make the right play. On the skill side of things, there aren't too many defencemen in Hicketts's league. While size might stop him from being a top pairing guy in the NHL, I think he's got the right work ethic to hammer out a good career.

9. Jayce Hawryluk - C, Brandon Wheat Kings
He's kind of a smaller version of Jake Virtanen and might prove to be a steal on draft day. He's one of the better skaters in the draft and never passes up a chance to finish his checks. While he does struggle a bit with consistency, when Hawryluk is at the top of his game, there aren't too many players that are better.

10. Aaron Irving - D, Edmonton Oil Kings
Last but certainly not least on my list, I have Aaron Irving. There's just something about this kid that screams, “hockey player”. What I really like about him are the intangibles that he has—watching him you just know he's a leader. You might not notice him on a nightly basis, but believe me, Irving is a huge part of a very good Oil Kings team.

Well, that's my top 10. Any shockers?

- See more at: http://hockeynow.ca/major-junior/around-the-boards-whl-s-top-10-for-the-draft#sthash.kxaT3gRd.dpuf

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