WHL Teams Make Moves Ahead of Season Restart

The WHL season is starting up again this week, and teams across the league, who will be playing in geographical pods, have begun making roster moves to prepare for the resumption of the schedule.

Some WHL franchises lost players to other junior leagues when things shut down in the fall.

The Kamloops Blazers began the flurry of moves on Tuesday when they acquired 18-year-old forward Peyton McKenzie from the Moose Jaw Warriors in exchange for a sixth round WHL Bantam Draft pick in 2021. 

“Peyton is a dangerous forward who’s a consistent threat to score every shift,” said NZ scouts. “He has extreme quickness and creativeness and if given too much room will make you pay. He plays with really good pace and forces the respect of defenders while busting down the wing. The 2002 can makes plays at full-speed with his smooth hands and creative vision. He has dangle ability and can keep puck-possession in high-traffic areas.”

McKenzie played 24 games with the Warriors over the past two seasons and has two assists. He also played in 12 games with the Drumheller Dragons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League during the 2019-20 season and had nine points in 12 games.

The Prince Albert Raiders signed 2001-born forward Kyle Crosbie and 2002-born forward Logan Danis.

Crosbie is a veteran of 116 games split between the Rockets and the Warriors, and he has posted 12 goals and 11 assists in his WHL career. Meanwhile, Danis joined the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues for the second half of the season. He had nine goals and six assists in 26 games at the Junior A level.

“Logan is a quick skating forward with quick hands and creative vision,” our scouts said. “He’s smooth on breakouts and makes quick decisions. The 2002 retains the puck well in traffic and has a heavy shot that he used often. He has dangle abilities and can change the angle of his shot in a hurry.”

The Saskatoon Blades signed 2002-born forward Josh Paulhus, adding him to the active roster ahead of the 2020-21 regular season.

Paulhus is a Saskatoon native who spent most of his junior hockey career in the SJHL, along with playing time with the Regina Pats. In 42 games with the Humboldt Broncos last season, the rookie tallied 4 goals and 9 assists for 13 points, while adding 77 penalty minutes.

The Winnipeg ICE Hockey Club announced today that they have signed 2003-born defenseman Brandt Young, 2000-born forward Anderson MacDonald, and 2000-born goaltender Carl Stankowski to WHL Standard Player Agreements.

Stankowski, who is in his final year of eligibility, was a standout goaltender for the 2016-17 Seattle Thunderbirds who went on to win the WHL Championship.  During his career he has played 34 regular season WHL games for the Thunderbirds and Hitmen organizations as well as 21 career playoff starts.  

“He makes up for his lack of size with his competitive nature, athleticism and skating ability,” said our scouts. “He has very good hands and made glove and blocker saves out in front of him while doing a good job of controlling his rebounds. Confident in his feet, strong on his inside edges and he likes to keep his hands set low. Stasnkowski will make that initial save for you at all times but needs to work on his rush management to the next play. Stankowski is a very technical goalie and his frame should not overshadow his athleticism and potential.”

Finally, the Swift Current Broncos claimed 2000-born defenceman Owen Williams off waivers from the Seattle Thunderbirds. Williams, from Delta, B.C., is entering his fourth and final season in the WHL with 190 career games under his belt.