Clague named to Team WHL

Aaron Vickers2016 Draft Center, International Events

Kale Clague of the Brandon Wheat Kings will represent Team WHL at the CHL Canada-Russia Series.

Team WHL will face Team Russia in Game 1 of the 2015 Canada-Russia Series in Kelowna on Monday, Nov. 9 and in Kamloops on Nov. 10. The OHL will host Games 3 and 4 while the QMJHL will conclude the series as hosts for Games 5 and 6.

Clague, 14th, is the top-ranked Western Hockey League defenseman in Future Considerations’ October listing for the 2016 NHL Draft. He is the only draft eligible skater named to Team WHL.

“Clague is possibly the most purely talented defenseman I have seen come down the pipe in the last few years,” said Future Considerations scout Zenon Herasymiuk. “He has soft hands and a powerful stride which he uses to dynamically transition the puck and create offense for his team. He has a big, booming shot, poise and an electric skill set which make him difficult to contain when he has space and a threat to create offense at all times.

“He has the potential to be one of the top defenseman in the entire draft class.”

In nine games this season, the 17-year-old Clague has five assists.

Clague will be joined by two draft eligible goaltenders. Carter Hart of Everett and Zach Sawchenko of Moose Jaw were also named to the team.

Hart has a 4-2-0 record this season for the Silvertips with a 2.87 goals against average and .911 save percentage.

“Hart came up big for Everett last year, taking the starting job from Austin Lotz, and carrying that momentum forward to the summer where he landed a spot on Team Canada for the Ivan Hlinka tournament,” Herasymiuk said. “He has work to do in cleaning up some inefficiencies technically while getting stronger, but out group of Western scouts unanimously agree he has the most upside of any 2016 eligible goalie in the west.”

In seven appearances with the Warriors, Sawchenko is 5-0-2 with a 2.67 goals against average and .924 save percentage.

“Sawchenko has succeeded at every level he has played and is one of the most competitive goalies I have ever seen. While he lacking the size of a prototypical modern NHL goalie, he has all the tools and intangibles to be a very good prospect come next June.”

Jake Bean and Dillon Dube were added to Team WHL’s roster, too.

Bean is in just his second season with the Calgary Hitmen but ha sseven goals and 15 points in 16 games played this year. The Calgary, AB native has 12 goals and 54 points in 67 career Western Hockey League games.

“It was nice to see Bean rewarded for his strong start to the year with a spot on Team WHL,” Future Considerations scout Zenon Herasymiuk said. “Bean has continued to impress scouts with his phenomenal hockey sense and uncanny ability to find open teammates through the middle of the ice. He has been unstoppable on the power play with his poise and confidence to make tough plays.

“If he can put up a good showing at the Canada-Russia Series it could go a long way to proving he has not only the smarts, but the skating ability and strength to compete at the highest level.”

Nolan Patrick, eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft, was also named to Team WHL.