Saturday night saw the Swift Current Broncos visit the Langley Events Centre for some WHL action. There are multiple names to take notice of on both rosters, but there are only a few who really stick out for each. This was also the one, and only, meeting between the two teams this season.
Swift Current Broncos vs Vancouver Giants
Benson, the 32nd overall pick by the Edmonton Oilers, makes this list almost by default. Benson has long been touted as a potential star at the NHL level, and it’s becoming evident he’s ready to take the step up from the WHL after this year.
So far this season, through 10 games, Benson has six goals and 12 total points, a production level that fails to surprise anyone whose seen him play before. It is obvious that Benson is the focal point of the offense for the Giants, and he proves that night in and night out.
In the game against Swift Current he exhibited a great deal of talent, and he even got on the stat sheet with a beauty of a backhanded pass across the crease for the first goal of the night for the Giants. He’s a pivotal piece for the Giants offense and looks more and more likely that he might be able to challenge for a spot in Edmonton come the 2017-18 season.
It goes without saying that Kubic had a less than stellar start to the season when he let in seven goals against the Everett Silvertips. Kubic struggled out of the goals, which is likely one of the main reasons Vancouver failed to win any of their first four games of the season.
Since then Kubic has had a massive turn for the better and has shored up both himself and the record of the Giants, who are now 6-9-0 on the season. He still doesn’t necessarily have numbers to write home about, but he has improved his save percentage to .894 and has a 3.34 GAA as well.
He’s made leaps and bounds over the past few seasons in tracking the puck and moving across the crease, but still has a long way to go if he ever wants to warrant a spot on any NHL roster in the far off future.
Swift Current Broncos
Heponiemi had a solid performance against the Giants and seemed to always be around the puck. He has a nose for the action, and he surely doesn’t shy away from contact when it comes his way. Despite not being an overly large player he has the ability to win battles on a relatively regular basis against players much bigger than himself.
Although he wasn’t able to get on the score sheet against the Giants he has had a very nice season for a WHL rookie. In 14 games for Swift Current this season he has four goals and 12 assists, showcasing his playmaking ability on a regular basis. Keep an eye on Heponiemi, as he is a very promising prospect for the future.
Minulin is nothing short of a menacing figure when he’s out on the ice, and you’d be hard-pressed to miss him. Along with being a large figure he’s a very solid skater and has great defensive awareness.
Last season with the Broncos saw him score five goals and rack up a total of 33 points on the season, and impressive number for a defenseman. If you take into account that he has three goals and 14 points in 14 games this season it becomes apparent that he’s becoming more invested in the offensive side of his game.
Something worth noting about Minulin is that he has a very calm and composed nature when on the puck, almost like a fish to water. He moves the puck well in every area of the ice and has much to contribute, both offensively and defensively. It won’t come as a surprise to see Minulin improve on his point total from last year, and it’s in direct correlation with his obvious improvements overall from the 2015-16 season.