THE PIPELINE SHOW: Talking WHL Hockey With Josh Horton, Big Ten NCAA Hockey Preview, & the Draft Spotlight Shines on Carson Bantle
This week on The Pipeline Show, we tackle a preview for the Big Ten conference in the NCAA, we speak with a beat reporter covering the WHL’s U.S. division and the 2020 Draft Spotlight features a USHL power forward that also happens to be leading the league in scoring.
In the Dub: Josh Horton
A big trade in the Western Hockey League this week involved the Everett Silvertips and the Prince Albert Raiders and to get perspective from one end of the deal, I called on beat writer Josh Horton of the Everett Herald.
The Silvertips paid a big price to get Montreal Canadians prospect Cole Fonstad but after a three-point performance in his debut, no one is criticizing Everett. Silvertips general manager Garry Davidson made it clear during our pre-season chat that he would be in the market to add production to his forward group and that’s exactly what he’s accomplished with this trade.
Horton discussed the team’s play thus far in the first month of the season which sees the ‘Tips sitting atop the US Division and with the best winning percentage in the conference.
We also looked closely at the other four American-based clubs as assessed the early returns.
NCAA Campus Report: Big Ten Season Preview
Nate Wells covers the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Big Ten conference as a whole so when it came time to preview the league for this season, I gave him a call. Over the course of our conversation, we looked at all seven teams and what his expectations of them are for the 2019-20 campaign.
We began with the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, currently the highest-ranked club from the Big Ten conference. If defence wins championships, then the Irish should be considered contenders once again.
Penn State has a potent offensive punch led by arguably the top scoring line in the country. However, will the Nittany Lions need to score five goals a night to win games this year?
The Buckeyes might not be the same team as they have been the last couple of years but you can’t discount the talent that is still on the roster. If you’re going to beat them, Ohio State will make you earn it and Wells explains why.
There has been a lot made of the freshman class at Wisconsin and for good reason — Alex Turcotte, Cole Caufield and Dylan Holloway are a high caliber trio. Add them to the Badgers roster with K’Andre Miller and Wyatt Kalynuk and you have the makings of a formidable team. But is this a program that has to strike now before their top talent leaves for the NHL?
Both the Michigan Wolverines and the Michigan State Spartans are currently unranked in the national polls. On paper though, the Wolverines appear to have the power to play their way into the mix for a national tournament appearance whereas the Spartans might need this year to grow and develop.
Lastly, the Golden Gophers have 14 players on their roster with ties to NHL teams. However, as Wells points out, they are also one of the youngest teams in the entire NCAA this year, so fans should expect some growing pains with this promising group under Bob Motzko.
2020 Draft Spotlight: Carson Bantle
Last week NHL Central Scouting came out with their first list of the season and Madison Capitols forward Carson Bantle‘s name was on it. He’s 6-foot-5, 200 pounds and is currently leading the USHL in scoring at almost a 2-point per game pace so you know people are starting to talk.
I spoke with Bantle before practice as the Capitols get ready for a weekend game against the US-NTDP on Saturday. We began with how much more comfort and confidence he has this season compared to his rookie USHL campaign. He had 20 points after all of last year so he’s already more than half way to new career highs.
Bantle told me about his youth in western Wisconsin, not playing football, starting his hockey career as a defenceman and why Michigan Tech is the right NCAA program for him.
I’m always interested to know which camp an eligible prospect falls into when it comes to the NHL draft – those that try hard not to think about it so as not to get distracted or those who embrace the season and use the rankings as a motivator. I asked, Bantle answered.