Pretty close and way too early to tell. For me it is Patrick - Steel - Benson, but I think it is fair to put them in any order at this point. All of them have been very good 16 year-olds. Patrick's size and smarts are just too good. He is not a passenger on that Wheat Kings team. Steel and Benson are relied upon a little more heavily and don't have as much help. Benson had a great game when I saw him earlier this year, just not sure how much more growing he has left in him, but a very strong and hard working player with great senses. Steel is so dynamic and fast, creative, but needs to get to the net a little bit more.
Stuart Skinner, Nolan Patrick, and Kailer Yamamoto have me very excited for that 2017 WHL class.
Haven't seen much of Steel, but I don't think I could put Benson ahead of Patrick. Patrick is an absolute beast out there. He has it all, good bloodlines, good IQ, good defensively (he was playing the PK on that stacked WK roster), and a great frame.
Kid is a beast and for my money the best draft eligible spect in the dub.
I'm taking Patrick, speed, size, skill and a really smart player. He's 6'3 and 192 pounds, he probably won't grow that much because his dad was 6'4 and uncle was 6'2 but he will fill out I bet to around 200-210 pounds. That's a big kid and he's a good skater so I wonder if the weight will slow down but I don't think so.
Scouts are going to love this guy in 2017.
I like Steel more than Benson because he's smarter, a better playmaker and I think he's more of a guy to lead a team than Benson, also he's a centre.
Interesting to see Steel during second half with less veteran support in Regina. So far though, probably the most dynamic individual offensive skill set of the three.
Also wonder about potential fatigue. This season, Patrick and Benson might "survive" the 72-game rigours better than Steel...they're already physically dominating at times.
Benson doesn't have nearly as much support as Patrick does this season, and next season might evolve similarly.
Whoever mentioned Skinner was bang on. And don't forget Dube in Kelowna.
I will agree with zjh above and say it's very hard for me to rank them too.
I would probably give Patrick the slight edge right now. He's been surrounded by better pieces but has also been better as a rookie this year...although Benson is coming on strong lately in the games I've seen.
Steel and Benson are pretty much neck and neck for me right now. Steel is just so smart, processes everything at an elite level. Benson is power, speed. Hope he keeps growing.
The 97 class out west is knocked for a lack of elite talent at the top. The same definitely can't be said about the 98's.
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