The Prince Albert Raiders made one of the bigger splashes in WHL preseason commitments just prior to training camp the end of last month, inking 4-star forward Ilya Usau to a standard player contract.
Usau, who was committed to UConn, is a Colorado native who has eligibility to play internationally for Belarus; he played the last two seasons at Salisbury Prep. There, he had 33 points (15g-18a) over 56 games in two years. Usau also played midget hockey for the Yale Jr. Bulldogs and has been skating internationally for Belarusian national teams in tournaments.
Our scouts last saw Usau at the Flood Marr Tournament last season, where he received an A- grade.
“He’s a strong, hard-working forward with a dynamic stick and a powerful shot,” our scouts said. “He is strong on his skates, he’s got sturdy edges, he’s hard to knock off pucks and can go into traffic, come out with the puck and make plays with very little time and space. He has 1v1 skill and can beat defenders in tight spaces or on the rush with a quick move and getting his hard shot off in stride. He doesn’t have separation speed but he’s a powerful skater and he protects well in all areas which buys him just enough time and space to make a play.”
The Victoria Royals signed Lukas Shipley from West Vancouver Academy. Shipley was selected by the Royals in the sixth round of this past summer’s WHL Bantam Draft. Last season, the ’04 forward had 17 points (1g-16a) in 16 games for West Vancouver. The Royals also signed 3.25-star Braden Smith, who had 13 points (6g-7a) in 23 games for the Thompson Blazers (Min Midget) last season.
Schuurman was a standout for Yale Hockey Academy and he also appeared at the World Selects Invite for Western Canada. Parker has 36 points (6g-30) in 30 games for the Martensville Marauders Bantam AA team last season.
The Spokane Chiefs signed 3.5-star defenseman Raegan Wiles. The ’02 made his AJHL debut last season after appearing in 33 games for the Calgary Northstars Midget AAA team last season, where he scored seven goals and added nine assists.
The Portland Winterhawks signed third-round pick and Delta Hockey Academy forward Kyle Chyzowski, who also played for the Pacific Selects U15 team last season. Chyzowski had 43 points (16g-27a) in 30 games last season and he received a B- grade from our scouts at this summer’s World Selects Invite.
“Showed a nice stride and glide to stay around the play,” our scouts wrote. “He is like a shark; he keeps moving and then attacks. He reads his opportunities well and is hard at the point of attack. He is not a heavy player but his balance allowed him to punish opponents. Played hard all week and won lots of puck battles. Showed a slippery element after gathering pucks along the wall as he slides with contact and has crafty hands. Forecheck and backcheck were all smart and with proper angles and positioning.”
The Winterhawks also signed ’04 defenseman Ryder Thompson, who played bantam hockey last season for Rink Hockey Academy. Thompson received a B+ grade from our scouts at least season’s Rocky Mountain Classic.
“Thompson is a great skater who uses his speed to escape pressure and get zone exits for his team and start play up ice,” our scouts said. “He has the vision to make passes up ice and showed a strong first pass but also has the ability and confidence to carry the puck through the neutral zone.”