Jr. A prospects hardly ever get a lot consideration within the NHL draft, however after combating his manner as much as the BCHL’s elite, defenseman Layton Ahac is able to present what he can do.Layton Ahac|James Doyle/Prince George Spruce KingsEarly in his profession, defenseman Layton Ahac wasn’t producing a lot buzz. He was drafted by the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds, however by no means signed. In bantam and midget, he was good, however nothing screamed NHL-good. And due to that, not many junior groups had been coming calling as he ready to take that step.
Not many apart from the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings.
It was forward of the 2017-18 season that the Spruce Kings took an opportunity on Ahac, one which gave the younger defenseman the chance to showcase his capability, and over the previous two seasons, he has really elevated his sport. In his rookie season, he was named to the BCHL’s All-Rookie Staff, and this previous season, he helped lead the Spruce Kings to a BCHL title, a regional championship and a spot to the Nationwide Junior A Championship, the place Prince George fell to the No. 1-ranked Brooks Bandits within the ultimate. However the Spruce Kings had been by far Brooks’ greatest problem this 12 months: the Bandits misplaced simply three of their 60 common season video games, however Ahac and Prince George beat them 4 occasions within the six-game Doyle Cup.
And now, two years after he handed on his likelihood with the Thunderbirds to signal with the Spruce Kings and preserve his NCAA eligibility, Ahac finds himself dedicated to Ohio State College and attending the NHL draft as considered one of Canadian Jr. A’s high prospects.
Because the second-highest scoring U-18 defenseman within the BCHL with 35 factors, Ahac confirmed unimaginable promise in a 12 months that noticed him play massive minutes with Canada West on the World Junior A Problem. And with it, scouts have proven an rising curiosity within the 18-year-old. In all, 18 NHL groups spoke with him on the draft mix earlier this month. Ahac was fast to confess that he by no means was a high recruit anyplace he performed, however he’s happy with the work he has put in to grow to be the 62nd-ranked North American skater by the NHL’s Central Scouting Service, which is a big leap from No. 114, the place he was listed halfway by means of the season. Consistency was the important thing to his rise. What you’d see out of him one sport is what you’d see within the subsequent. He hardly ever had an off night time, particularly within the playoffs, the place he scored 17 factors in as many video games.
“Ahac appears to play his finest hockey towards opponents’ high strains. His two-way sport is excellent,” one scout stated about Ahac, who began hockey as a ahead as a younger child. “You possibly can throw him in most conditions and he’ll come out on high.”
Whereas the BCHL is taken into account a high Jr. A league in Canada – Victoria Grizzlies ahead Alex Newhook is anticipated to go within the high 10 – it’s not main junior. So for a participant like Ahac to show heads, he wants to actually stand out. That’s what he did, profiting from the chance the BCHL supplied. Whereas Ahac might bulk up and refine his scoring contact, he does have a number of traits groups can be looking for within the second or third spherical.
“I’d say I’m a giant defender, I can skate properly for my dimension,” Ahac stated. “I play a very good two-way sport. I deal with my very own finish however I additionally wish to rise up within the rush and assist create scoring possibilities on offense. However I must placed on that power that’s going to assist me defend on the subsequent degree. I’ll be taking part in towards guys as much as 24 years previous (within the NCAA) in order that’s going to be a giant key for me.”
Ahac will get the seasoning he must proceed growing over the following few years when he heads off to varsity. He’s obtained the uncooked expertise to be a very good second- or third-pairing possibility sooner or later, however he wants extra time towards older and more durable competitors. Ahac stated he fashions his sport after Vancouver defenseman Chris Tanev – a strong two-way defender like Ahac. And if that’s who he finally ends up mimicking, Ahac is in for a very good, lengthy NHL profession.
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Tags: draft, nhl, prospectsConnect: In regards to the AuthorSteven EllisSteven Ellis is a Digital Content material Producer for The Hockey Information. He spends his free time listening to music you would not like and watches obnoxiously-long motor races.