Overreaction of the week: Spokane’s Adam Beckman and Lethbridge’s Dylan Cozens will be the MVP’s for their respective conferences.
I know it’s still early, but Beckman and Cozens have been far and away the two players in this league that have impressed me the most on a nightly basis.
Not only are Cozens and Beckman number one and two in the league in points-per-game at 1.69 and 1.58, they are both riding hot play coming out of the World Juniors break, which is usually a key sign that a player will end up lifting hardware in May.
Beckman, who was drafted by the Minnesota Wild last fall, showcases one of the best, hard wrist shots in the league. And when teams try to take that away, he has an electric first step towards the net that gets his team a quality scoring chance nearly every time — either from him or a driving teammate.
Beckman is one point behind Kamloops’ Zane Franklin and Medicine Hat’s James Hamblin, but unlike Franklin, who has Orrin Centazzo and Connor Zary in the top-seven in scoring and Hamblin who has Brett Kemp 10th overall, his next highest scoring teammate is Eli Zummack with 54 points. Zummack is 20th in points-per-game as well.
Also, those two do not play with each other much at all at five-on-five as head coach Manny Viveiros elects to spread them around.
After Zummack, the next highest scoring forward is Luke Toporowski with 36 points (nearly half that of Beckman).
After Jake McGrew went down with a possibly season-ending injury, the Chiefs had to look to Beckman and Zummack to lead the way and they certainly have. Beckman’s team is pretty much locked into the third seed in the U.S. Division and a playoff date with the Everett Silvertips.
Beckman had a WHL season long 18-game point streak snapped Sunday in Everett. He also had a 10-game goal streak during that span.
Cozens is on a hot streak after taking World Juniors gold with Canada. He has seven goals in his last three games and was in on 50% of his team’s goals over their last thee games.
Overall, he has 28 goals and 31 assists for 59 points in just 35 games. In his five games since coming back from winning gold, he has extended his point streak to a still-active seven games with 13 points in that span.
The power play Lethbridge is running right now flows through him and Calen Addison, and when Cozens gets the puck in the high slot, teams are faced with a couple deadly options. Either allow him to rip a slap shot by you or open yourself up to a back door slap pass. Both look the same so good luck.
I expect both of these dynamic 2001-born forwards to keep up their strong play and it seems very clear to me that they are more valuable to their teams right now than any other players in the WHL.
I plan on taking a look every other week at the main four player awards and give you my current pick, along with those in contention and a player rising up the ranks.
Western Conference MVP: Adam Beckman (Spokane)
Also in contention: Zane Franklin (Kamloops), Seth Jarvis (Portland), Dustin Wolf (Everett), Joel Hofer (Portland), Connor Zary (Kamloops)
High riser: Jarvis – Nine points in his last two games and more points than any other player in the month of January (28).
Eastern Conference MVP: Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge)
Also in contention: James Hamblin (Medicine Hat), Peyton Krebs (Winnipeg), Aliaksei Protas (Prince Albert), Riley Sawchuk (Edmonton), Jiri Patera (Brandon)
High riser: Besides Cozens, Tristen Robins (Saskatoon), who has 20 points over his past 10 games.
Western Conference goalie of the year: Dustin Wolf (Everett)
Also in contention: Joel Hofer (Portland), Shane Farkas (Victoria), Dylan Garand (Kamloops)
High riser: Wolf – five goals allowed in hist last five starts.
Eastern Conference goalie of the year: Jiri Patera (Brandon)
Also in contention: Sebastian Cossa (Edmonton), Carl Tetachuk (Lethbridge), Liam Hughes (Winnipeg)
High riser: Max Paddock (Prince Albert) – In his five appearances since coming over from Regina in a trade, he has allowed only nine goals.
Western Conference defenseman of the year: Max Martin (Kamloops)
Also in contention: Jake Christiansen (Everett), Ty Smith (Spokane), Johnny Ludvig (Portland)
High riser: Christiansen has been on a tear. He has 29 points in just 21 games this season.
Eastern Conference defenseman of the year: Calen Addison (Lethbridge)
Also in contention: Alex Cotton (Lethbridge), Daniel Baker (Medicine Hat), Zack Hayes (Prince Albert), Zach Wytinck (Regina), Dawson Barteaux (Winnipeg)
High riser: Addison is on a seven-game point streak during which he has 14 points.
Western Conference rookie of the year: Logan Stankoven (Kamloops)
Also on contention: Bear Hughes (Spokane), Conner Roulette (Seattle), Lukas Parik (Spokane), Simon Knak (Portland)
High riser: Knak has nine points in his last six games.
Eastern Conference rookie of the year: Cole Sillinger (Medicine Hat)
Also in contention: Sebastian Cossa (Edmonton), Carson Lambos (Winnipeg), Michal Teply (Winnipeg), Dylan Guenther (Edmonton), Zack Stringer (Lethbridge)
High riser: Teply has 15 points over his last nine games.
Stat of the week: 0.954
— Fraser Rodgers 🎙🏒 (@Fraser_PG) January 26, 2020
Prince George’s Taylor Gauthier has been tested a lot against the high flying Kamloops Blazers but has seemingly been at his best in those circumstances.
Underrated player of the week: Sam McGinley (Swift Current Broncos)
The 17-year-old arrived in a trade from Regina and has been thrown high minutes in pressure-packed situations. He has thrived for the Broncos. In 24 games, he has two goals and eight assists for 10 points and is a minus-nine. That is while playing against the other team’s best on a squad that is building towards the future.
He capped off a strong weekend with an incredible three-assist night in Moose Jaw Saturday. As he plays more, he is showcasing more and more in his game.
Tweet of the week:
One time, when Barzal was with the Seattle Thunderbirds, they were in Spokane for a game. When I went to hook up to the Arena wi-fi, one available network was called "Matthew Barzal's iPhone." I connected to it for a few minutes. Solid connection.#WHL https://t.co/7jZnyyPLWy
— Kevin Dudley (@k_dudley) January 23, 2020