Thursday, December 22, 2016

WHL Coverage: Memory Lane - Sam Steel, Regina Pats

Perhaps the most surprising cut from Team Canada's current entry for the 2017 World Junior Championship was forward Sam Steel of the Regina Pats.

Steel, who will celebrate his 19th birthday on Feb. 3, leads the WHL in scoring with 23 goals and 31 assists in 25 games. It's a torrid pace by modern-day standards, and the Pats continue to reside atop the weekly CHL national rankings with a 22-3-6 record. (The Pats and Calgary Hitmen have each played only 31 games so far; the least among WHL teams.)

While being released from Canada's national junior team will sting, Steel must surely be reveling to some degree after putting pen to paper on Dec. 20 when he signed an NHL entry level contract.

The details are right here.

Steel was selected in the first round, 30th overall by the Anaheim Ducks at the 2016 NHL Draft.

The terms of these three-years deals are pretty standard for young prospects, but certainly a $90,000 signing bonus is a nice reward to receive shortly before Christmas.

Like many of the players whose names were called on draft day back in June, Steel took part in the 2016 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Vancouver in January. Steel would also go on to appear in all 72 regular season games for the Pats last season.

I had an opportunity to chat with Steel in Vancouver prior to the TPG and we produced a podcast for the Hockey's Future website. That article and interview, posted on Jan. 27, 2016, is available by clicking right here.

There was some pretty competitive hockey played among youngsters in the Edmonton region a few years ago. Steel, from Sherwood Park, played his minor hockey in the Capital region, competing with and against fellow WHLers Carter Hart (Everett), Tyler Benson (Vancouver) and Stuart Skinner (Lethbridge). Both Hart (PHI) and Benson (EDM) were also drafted in June, while Skinner is among the top CHL goaltenders eligible for the 2017 edition.

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