As CHL drafts both entry and import are now concluded we are into the summer months. Signings of players are in full swing with teams preparing and shaping their rosters for the 2022/2023 season. Below are some of the most recent CHL signings as of mid-July in all three leagues.
Spunar is a Czechia born 2004 goaltender who is 6’3″, 185 lbs and played 31 games in the U20 Czechia league last year and finished with a record of 22-8 and a save percentage of .911. Neutral Zone had him rated as a C+ NHL prospect this year.
Spunar was drafted 52nd overall in the CHL Import Draft.
Mechura played last year in the Czechia U20 league and registered 84 points in 42 games with 54 goals and 30 assists. He was also a +32 in those games. He is a left shot and is 6’4″ and 198lbs.
The Tri City Americans general manager Bob Tory said when talking about the signing of Mechura “Adam is a very good 200 ft player. He is strong on faceoffs with an elite scoring touch.” (OSC, Our Sports Central)
Sawchyn is an American born player who was at NTDP last year. He had 33 points in 52 games played with 10 goals and 23 assists. Prior to NTDP he played for Shattuck St. Mary’s U16 AAA and U14 AAA.
NZ Scouts said about Sawchyn: “Right shot centerman who plays with energy and skill. He is a smooth skater with good balance. He skates the puck up the ice with his head up, uses good edge work to maneuver around defenders, and uses his quick hands to maintain possession. He showed excellent puck possession in using his body to protect the puck but also good skill deep in the zone and in tight spaces. He plays with a bit of grit as he is constantly moving his feet on the forecheck and will finish his checks. He shows good awareness and vision with and without the puck. He anticipates his play before the puck comes to him and quickly moves the puck. He was a consistent performer throughout the weekend, was a threat offensively, and was responsible defensively.”
Sawchyn is also the number 17 ranked player in his age group at the national level by Neutral Zone.
Behm is a large forward at 6’1″, 185lbs who played in the CSSHL U15 last year with the Edge School and had 57 points in 29 games played with 28 goals and 29 assists.
NZ Scouts: “Behm is a big, strong, skilled, power forward that is dangerous in space and around the net. He has a graceful fluid stride in open ice, but he also attacks the net with power and anger. Nathan doesn’t try to do anything flashy or crazy with the puck as he will make one quick move if it is there then move it as it is on and off his stick relatively quickly. He uses his big frame to hold guys off and can operate with one hand on his stick to make a play. With the puck, he is always engaged in the play and wants to make things happen. Behm seems to slow it down and take it easy in his own end but then ramps up his intensity when the puck heads towards the offence. Behm finished with 2 goals in the tournament.”
Behm was also ranked 12th by Neutral Zone in the WHL Draft Final Rankings. He was selected 13th overall in the WHL draft.
Coupland is a skilled smaller forward who had 65 points in 21 regular season games for the Vancouver NW Hawks last year in the BCEHL U15. He also tallied 14 points in 7 playoff games with 7 goals and 7 assists.
General manager Chad Leslie was quoted saying this about Coupland when discussing the signing “He thinks the game well, has puck skills and has the ability to finish. He has tremendous skill on the power play.” (Swift Current Broncos).
Coupland was ranked 38th on the NZ WHL Draft Final Rankings. He was selected 42nd overall.
Kelly is a right winger who comes in at 5’11”, 170lbs. Last year in the GTHL U16 for the Mississauga Senators he had 42 points in 27 games with 22 goals and 20 assists.
Neutral Zone scouts got a chance to watch Kelly at the Silver Stick and said this about him “A skilled power forward with a nose for the net. Kelly has speed and size and plays an unselfish give-and-go game. He plays a heavy north-south game and has excellent compete in his net drive. Kelly gave defenders fits with his abrasive forecheck.”
Kelly was ranked 44th on the Neutral Zone OHL Final Rankings. He was selected 39th overall by the 67’s.
Mews is a 6’0″, 174lbs defenseman who is from Nepean. Last year he played for the Toronto Jr. Canadiens and had 78 points in 52 games at the U16 levels.
NZ scouts wrote about Henry: “Mews contributed an effective two-way game that was highly active. His mobility is exceptional and his confidence is high. He defended plays as they were developing, as opposed to when they occurred. His gap management was exceptional in this regard, as he often closed in and disrupted or ended plays just before the puck arrived. . . exceptional reads and anticipation. Offensively, he was extremely active in the offensive zone, providing options for his forwards and creating coverage havoc for the opponents. He will continue to have a positive impact at the next level. At this point in the season, he is the best defender in the age group.”
Mews was ranked 5th overall in the Neutral Zone OHL Final Draft Rankings. He was selected 7th overall by the 67’s.
Morneau is a left winger who is 6’1″ and 170lbs. Last year he played juniors in the GOJHL for the LaSalle Vipers where he had 45 points in 39 games played.
Morneau when asked about his game states that he is “A creative player with excellent vision and likes to play the game offensively. As a center, he takes care of his defensive responsibilities first. Morneau said he likes to model his game after Patrice Bergeron.” (OSC, Our Sports Central)
Bottineau hails from Burlington, Ontario and played last year in the GTHL U16 for the Toronto Marlboros where he had 42 points in 37 games with 21 goals and 21 assists and was +31.
Neutral Zone states that “Every shift Justin was hunting like a hound dog never losing track of the scent and wasn’t satisfied even when he caught his first prize. He wanted more. He also wasn’t out of control with his pursuit as he utilized his teammates and fed off of their hard work in order for the team to succeed. Has end-to-end speed and skill; can wheel through an entire team and make defenders miss all by himself. Although you don’t want to do this every time you have the puck, the fact that he can do it makes him special. During our viewings, he was involved offensively almost every shift. He has good size and a solid frame that will continue to grow. Fluid skater and has a nice, strong stride. He can take a pass at full speed and continue his momentum. Type of player who is always looking to score. Extremely skilled and elusive despite his size. Very promising player.”
Bottineau was ranked 53rd by Neutral Zone in the OHL Draft Final Rankings. He was selected 56th overall by the Rangers.
Bradshaw is from Ajax, Ontario and is 6’4″, 187lbs. He played last year for the Powassan Voodoos where he scored 22 goals in 37 games and finished with 31 points. Prior to the NOJHL he played with the U16 Ajax/Pickering Raiders.
Neutral Zone scouts describe Bradshaw as “a lanky winger who plays a physical two-way game. Bradshaw used his body and long reach to win pucks in all 3 zones and was effective on the forecheck to take away time and space from opposing defenders. Bradshaw went to the net well and competed for space in good shooting areas. Bradshaw showed good speed in open space.”
Sprynar is a right wing with size at 6’0″, 170lbs. Last year he played in the Czechia U17 league where he had 69 points in 30 games. He also played some in the U20 Czechia league where he finished with 4 points in 11 games. At the U17 international level he had a point per game with 22 points in 22 games.
Rimouski Oceanic skills coach Zacharie Beausoleil when talking about Sprynar said “Jan is a power forward who stands out for his shooting, his speed, as well as his physical play. He’s an asset on the forecheck, but he’s above all a natural scorer.” (Oceanic.qc).
Sprynar was drafted by the Oceanic #30 overall in the CHL Import Draft.
Godin is a center who comes from Alban, Ontario. Last year he played in the NOJHL for the French River Rapids where he played 47 games and had 52 points during the regular season. He played in 6 playoff games where he had 6 points 5 of which were goals.
Randy Russon when talking about Godin said “Godin was a prolific scorer for French River with 40 goals in 53 games.” (Sault This Week)
Chitaroni is a 5’11”, 170lb defender who played in the NOJHL last year with the Soo Thunderbirds for the majority of the year. In Soo he had 16 points in 27 games. He also played part of the year for the Coburg Cougars in the OJHL where he had 5 points in 12 games.
Chitaroni when talking about his game said “My skating, vision and passing are strengths. I’m good at finding open teammates, everything has room for improvement. If I had to pick one thing, I’d say my puck-handling.”(Sarnia, The Observer)
Burbidge is a native of Falmouth, Nova Scotia. He stands at 6’1″, 165lbs and played last season for Mount St. Charles Academy in the United States. At Mount St. Charles at the U16 level he had 59 points in 52 games.
NZ scouts at U16 nationals wrote about Burbidge that “Cole has a high hockey IQ getting to the right spots in a timely fashion and is always moving, especially with the puck on his stick. He is able to control the puck through tight areas until plays develop for him to make something happen. Burbidge makes nice plays from the perimeter, threading the needle on passes and saucing pucks over sticks to his target. One of his assists came from below the goal line, he was about 5 feet from his target, and he sauced a puck just over the defender’s stick landing flat and right on the tape of Venticinque for a one-timer finish. Burbidge has decent hands, able to generate chances with his vision.”
David played last season with BK Mlada Boleslav in the Czechia league. He tallied 4 points in 40 games there. At the U20 international level for Czechia he had 3 points in 14 games. He was ranked as a B- NHL prospect by Neutral Zone.
Neutral Zone wrote about Moravec: “Moravec is a solidly built left shot defender who as a late 2003 plays big minutes for Team Czechia’s U20 team. He has the puck skills and skating ability to play an impactful game from both the left or right side. In defensive zone transition I like how he works with his partner to be an outlet and he has very nice touch on his indirect passes or reverses. Even though he is much more active offensively in U20 action than in the Czechia professional league, I do not see him as a guy who’s going to run a number 1 power play. I do see him as a potential NHL defender who excels on the offensive side of transition and has a nice combination of skating ability and strength that will allow him to defend at an NHL level. His passes are on time. He doesn’t put his forwards in vulnerable positions by trying to do too much with the puck and then giving them a panic pass when they can get killed. He will obviously need to continue gaining strength and power, but during net front battles Moravec is strong and shows the leg drive to win the valuable net front ice and drive opponents from the crease.
Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images