The WHL continues to pump out great defenceman ahead of the 2012 NHL draft.
Another kid that is flying under the radar is Edmonton Oil Kings defender Ashton Sautner. Sautner stands at 6`1 and 185 pounds as a 17 year old rookie for Edmonton.
He has a good frame and size to begin with, but I really get the feeling that he plays and looks bigger then he actually is. That`s a good sign.
In my two viewings of him so far this season he hasn`t been afraid to jump into the rush and create things offensively. He`s good a smooth and powerful stride, but he also isn`t afraid to start the rush with his strong passing abilities.
He has also displayed great defensive abilities early in this season. He seems to be an excellent one on one defender, with good reach and stick positioning. There were several occasions where he used his reach, knocked the puck away and then bodied the defender towards the boards.
If there is one area that might hurt him this year, it could be due to a lack of ice time. The Oil Kings are a great club and have one of the top blueline`s in the Eastern Conference and the entire WHL. Ultimately it would be nice to see him get more ice to grow and develop a bit quicker, but it`s clear that Sautner will be put in good positions to succeed and he will surely be a kid to watch as the draft approaches.