On this week’s FlamesNation prospects report, we take a look at a few of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) kids and what they are currently up to with their respective teams early in the 2022-23 season.
Lucas Ciona – Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)
Lucas Ciona was drafted in the sixth round of the 2021 NHL Draft. That season, the Edmonton, Alberta native registered two goals and 11 assists for 13 points in 23 games with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League (WHL). The 2020-21 season was shortened to 24 games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, players were only able to showcase themselves in a minimal amount of games. Last season, Ciona came out of his shell and registered 35 points in 53 games, which included 17 goals. He helped the Thunderbirds on their miraculous run to the WHL Finals and recorded 14 points through 24 playoff games. Ciona’s impressive season has earned him big minutes with the Thunderbirds.
Through four games this season so far, he has five points. According to Elite Prospects, he is projected to record 84 points. He joins a well-rounded Thunderbirds team that has the likes of Chicago Blackhawks 2022 first-round pick Kevin Korchinski quarterbacking their blueline. The 6-foot-2 206-pound forward could be in a Wranglers jersey come next season.
Cole Huckins – Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL)
Another product of the 2021 NHL Draft, Huckins was selected in the third round, 77th overall. The Fredericton, New Brunswick, native has a family history that is rich with hockey. His uncle Jim Malone played in the OHL during the ‘80s, and his uncle Greg Malone played 704 NHL games with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Hartford Whalers and Quebec Nordiques. Huckins’ cousin, Ryan Malone, played 647 NHL games and his other cousin Brad Malone is currently under contract with the Edmonton Oilers. To say hockey runs in the family would be an understatement.
Huckins is currently with the Sherbrooke Phoenix of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). Last season he played for the Acadie-Bathurst Titan and registered 26 points in 41 games. The 19-year-old showcases above-average awareness and hockey IQ which allow him to create plays and set teammates up. He’s a strong forward who uses his strength to hold the puck under pressure and evade opponents with quick puck-handling moves. According to Elite Prospects, he is projected to record 53 points in 66 games this season.
When Huckins was drafted, Director of Amateur Scouting Tod Button
said “He’s a big, rangy left wing. He’s got work to do on his mobility, but he can skate in straight lines, he’s got really good reach, he’s really good at protecting pucks. We see him as a left-wing, but we know he’s played a little bit of centre, and he’s got a mean streak. He can complement skill players by going to the net, creating space, and then finishing around the net.”
Cameron Whynot – Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
Kentville, Nova Scotia, product Cameron Whynot has selected just 12 spots after fellow QMJHLer Cole Huckins. The left-shot defender has spent his time in the QMJHL with the Halifax Mooseheads. During his draft season, Whynot had 23 points in 34 games, indicating there was potential. Last season, Whynot suffered injuries, which put his game off course and caused him to regress, he registered 17 points in 45 games while holding a plus-minus of -13. While his development will be a journey, Whynot has untapped potential that combined with his smooth skating and gap control can make for a blossoming prospect.
The 19-year-old is currently with the Mooseheads where he has four assists in five games to open the season. Elite Prospects projects he will finish the year with 54 assists. He needs a big year, development-wise and this could push him over that hump.
Cole Jordan – Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
The second defenceman to be on this list as well as the second WHLer. Brandon, Manitoba product Cole Jordan was selected in the fifth round of the 2021 NHL Draft. The 20-year-old has spent his WHL career with the Moose Jaw Warriors. In his draft season, he registered 10 points in 23 games. Last season, he registered 11 points in 36 games. The point totals were not the reason he was drafted if you can’t tell. Jordan possesses fluent and almost perfect skating stride. He is able to use his stride to beat out opponents in pressured retrievals and neutral zone regroups. His skating ability also makes for a good first-pass defenceman. His positioning is sound and while Jordan is not an overly physical defender, he will use his size to frame off defenders along the boards in order to win one-on-one battles.
He is back this season with a loaded Warriors team that comprises Columbus Blue Jackets first-round pick Denton Mateychuk, and Seattle Kraken’s Jagger Firkus. Through five games this season so far, Jordan has two assists.