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2024 NHL DRAFT: EARLY SEASON FAVOURITES – Western Canada – Tij Iginla, Andrew Basha, Terik Parascak, Adam Jecho

Time for another series at McKeen’s from our scouting staff. The 2024 NHL Draft season is well under way and our scouts have been busy soaking in the action around the globe. Analyzing early season play can be difficult; perhaps even a bit of a ruse. Hot starts aren’t always sustainable and cold starts are not always indicative. However, players can still catch our attention in positive ways and that’s what this series intends to highlight.

Ben Misfeldt- West Regional Scout

Tij Iginla

Tij Iginla - Centre/Wing - Kelowna Rockets

6’0”, 181 lbs - 2006-08-01


I’ll start this off by saying it’s been incredibly fun to watch Tij Iginla play for the Kelowna Rockets this season. Kelowna is where I am based out of and I’ve been fortunate enough to watch Iginla a number of times now. After being traded from Seattle to Kelowna this offseason, Tij Iginla has seen his game elevate to new levels. Since he was a healthy scratch throughout the playoffs for Seattle, nobody really thought of Iginla as a potential first-rounder coming into the season. For example, he didn’t make Team Canada’s Hlinka Gretzky Cup roster in August. However, he has established himself as a clear first-rounder with his play in the first portion of the season. While he has seen his point totals slow down relative to his unsustainably hot start, Iginla has continued to look impressive and is generating scoring chances at a high rate.

Scouting Analysis

There are numerous details in Iginla’s game that scream NHL potential and a lot of it is towards the high-end side. For one, Iginla is a gamer who will be able to  make a smooth transition to the NHL due to his work ethic, physical attributes, style of play, and attention to detail. One example of this is Iginla’s ability to control the puck in tight areas and along the boards. This has been a key reason for his success this season. During puck battles, he comes up with possession so frequently, oftentimes without even engaging physically. Also, his desire and willingness to take the puck to the net stands out as significantly superior to his WHL peers. There’s nothing timid about his game– if there’s any space for him to work his way towards the net, he is going to take it in that direction. Combine this ability with his heavy, NHL shot and he is a consistent scoring threat on the ice.

Confidence has been a massive part of Iginla’s strong campaign thus far. He wasn’t in a position to try new things and take risks playing down the lineup on a WHL contender last year. However, it has been a different story in Kelowna where Iginla seemingly has the go-ahead to play his game and take risks, even if it results in the odd turnover. Iginla’s skating is also a significant positive for his NHL projection. One thing I noticed is that he is never skating in a straight line like many junior-aged players do. He is usually skating along a curved path and uses crossovers to switch the direction. These skating paths really test defenders for four-directional mobility and can be very hard to defend.

There are, of course, a couple areas of his game that Iginla needs to work on. For instance, he tends to enter the zone with control rather than passing to a teammate or dumping it in. This is fantastic when it works out, but the success rate is not high enough to justify the turnovers it leads to. In addition, when in the offensive zone, he sometimes tries to do much and extend possession with the puck, often in pursuit of taking it directly towards the net. Again, the issue here is the turnovers it creates. However, the main aspect of his game I’d like to see improved is his playmaking ability. He’s a functional playmaker on the ice, especially with the threat of his shot attracting defenders but he doesn’t necessarily create offense with his playmaking alone.


Here is an excellent example of the persistence Iginla shows on the forecheck. He keeps harassing the defender trying to handle the puck and eventually extends his stick with one hand to corral possession when it comes loose in the corner. Once he picks up the puck he keeps moving in an unpredictable manner while keeping the puck out of reach from the defender..

The way Iginla wins the puck here behind the net is something I noticed he does frequently. He is so good at calmly picking up the puck while engaging physically and bringing it to an area of safety, allowing him to escape and make a play.

This is what happens when a dynamic zone entry goes right for Iginla. He can carve through defenders and is able to react quickly to defenders movements. It ends up as an assist for him.

Here is a good example of what sometimes goes wrong with Iginla’s game. He is being dynamic and tries to create but oftentimes turns the puck over. Learning when to play it safe and when to pick his spots will be key for him moving forward. This part of his game should come along with experience.

Finally, here is a clip of potentially Iginla’s biggest weapon– his NHL level shot.

Andrew Basha - Left Wing - Medicine Hat Tigers

6’0”, 183 lbs - 2005-11-08


While teammate Cayden Lindstorm understandably commands most of the scouting attention for Medicine Hat with his jarring physical attributes, Andrew Basha has developed into a sneaky good NHL prospect. As linemates, the two dominated the ice when I caught the Medicine Hat Tigers live against Kelowna on October 14. I really liked what I saw from Basha last season, so it has been a bonus seeing him take his game to another level this season. As one of the late 2005-born players, Basha is expected to show more than some of his 2006-born counterparts if he wants to remain high in draft rankings. I think he has done enough this season to at least put himself in contention to be a first-round pick.

Scouting Analysis

In my eyes, Basha’s pure playmaking ability is the second best of any WHL player in this class after Berkly Catton. He is incredibly elusive in the offensive zone and will find excellent passing lanes with ease. His playmaking prowess is demonstrated even more by the deception he mixes into his offensive zone puck-handling. I really like Basha's skating ability as well. There are some key missing elements like power and balance but the edgework maneuvers he uses, along with the frequency he uses them in games, allows his skating to be a big advantage for him against his WHL peers. What I also like is that he plays at a high pace and is often moving quickly with the puck. The fact that he is able to navigate around the ice quickly while holding onto the puck easily and also scanning for open teammates shows an impressive trifecta of skating, skill, and hockey sense. Another point worth mentioning is Basha’s improving two-way game. He plays on the penalty kill unit for Medicine Hat and I’ve noticed his two-way game is an underappreciated part of his game.

I can’t quite pinpoint why, but Basha gives me the sense that he hasn’t yet popped offensively in the WHL just yet. In my eyes, his skillset often looks more impressive than the results he puts up. I think this is what makes Basha an exciting prospect to me– he has a lot of fixable deficiencies to work on and that bodes well for his trajectory as an NHL prospect. A key theme I have noticed in his game is a lack of consistency. Some games, he has looked dominant, making several high-end plays. However, in others, he reverts to a complementary perimeter playmaker. Also, adding more strength, especially to his lower body will be key for Basha to perform at higher levels as sometimes he can be pushed off the puck a little too easily. Finally, the lack of goals for Basha is something he needs to work on– he can’t only be a threat as a playmaker and expect to be a dynamic offensive player at the next level. In certain instances, his shot has looked very, very good but I think with Basha, there’s an overall unwillingness to shoot the puck and to take the puck to the home plate area.

Moving forward, the key thing to remember about Basha is the fact that he is a late 2005-born player and is currently playing in his 3rd WHL season, giving him a leg up on most of his draft eligible WHL peers. Amongst notable prospects in the WHL, Carter Yakemchuk and Tanner Howe fall into the same category. Essentially, there’s one more season of WHL hockey after this one for Basha and then he is off to professional hockey. Despite this, I really have liked what I’ve seen from Basha this season and the improvement he has shown over last season.


Here is a good example of his two-way play as he knocks a puck out of there to gain possession in the offensive zone. Then as he skates away from the boards, he spins to creatively and accurately play the puck off the boards to an open teammate.

While this play didn’t work out exactly as planned, I elected to include it because it shows the creative, crafty playmaking element of Basha’s game that makes him an exciting NHL prospect. Instead of the obvious play, he makes the unexpected one.

This is Andrew Basha at his best– being incredibly elusive with the trifecta of puck skills, skating, and hockey sense. It’s plays like these that flash his high-end upside.

Here is an example of where Basha could improve his finishing ability. It’s a fantastic effort to get into a prime scoring area, but in order to be a goal-scoring threat, he needs to finish more. He has the skill to do it.

Here he makes a good defensive play and shows off some of his edgework once he enters the offensive zone. He then draws in the defender before passing it high to an open Cayden Lindstrom.

This is a good example of Basha’s unwillingness to engage physically. The defenseman cuts him off and he simply stops instead of continuing to fight for the puck.

Terik Parascak - Right Wing - Prince George Cougars

5’11”, 174 lbs - 2006-05-28


It would be remiss of me not to mention Terik Parascak in this piece. Unquestionably, Terik Parascak is the name that has caused the biggest stir amongst scouts in the WHL region this season– one glance at the scoring leaderboard will tell you why. However, Parascak’s high-flying campaign is made even more impressive by the fact he didn’t even play junior hockey last season– he was playing U18 AAA hockey. Now that he is finally in the WHL with significantly better players around him, he has been able to unlock another layer of offense that simply wasn’t available at a lower level of hockey. There is something special about players like Parascak who can move up to a significantly better league and somehow replicate their production and overall on-ice impact. It makes you think about his impending jump from the WHL to the NHL and how that might go.

Scouting Analysis

While I have been impressed with Parascak’s game, I’ve found it difficult to pinpoint and describe the elements of his game that make him an offensive threat. Immediately, you can tell that hockey sense is the bread and butter of the Parascak’s game. However, there aren’t really any physical attributes about his game that project clearly to the next level like with most top prospects. In this sense, Parascak reminds me significantly of Zach Benson last season, though not at the same level.

I really think the most elite elements of Parascak’s game stand out on the powerplay. His presence on the Prince George powerplay has helped them to one of the league’s best conversion rates. In general, he has an excellent understanding of the soft spots in the defense and where to go to position himself in a favourable spot to receive the puck. This is especially true when it comes to high danger areas, where he has scored a number of goals this year. While plays and excels on the top power play, he also gets penalty kill ice time, where I’ve found he has made a positive impact. He brings more two-way value than the typical winger.

Ultimately, it’s his ability to use and play off his teammates that has led to success. While his offensive numbers are super exciting, I wouldn’t expect them to stay at this level for the whole season. Even a point-per-game is impressive from a player who didn’t even play in the WHL last season. The trajectory he has shown is also worth mentioning. He hasn’t really even had time to figure out the WHL yet and here he is piling up points. Makes me wonder what’s in store as he gains more experience and hones his skills.

While his shot is very good, there is still some room for improvement. While Parascak projects as a capable goal-scorer at the next level, it is mostly owed to being a strong finisher rather than being a pure sniper. In addition, he could use some work to shore up his puck handling as sometimes he can look a little shaky with the puck, although he normally does a good job at executing the plays he intends to make. However, it is his skating that needs significant improvement for him to make the transition to the NHL. It’s not terrible by any means, but it is not what you would typically expect from a prospect now ranked on some first-round lists.


I like this play from Parascak because it shows the calmness in his game as he takes the puck from the defender and works it towards the net for a scoring chance.

This is a prime example of Terik Parascak’s ability to get open. He subtly slides into the optimal position for his teammate to get him the puck in a way that he can get a high quality shot off, one that he nearly scores on.

Here is a clip that shows the basis of what Parascak’s skating looks like. As you can see, it is not dynamic and looks pretty stiff. Moving forward, skating will be an aspect Parascak really needs to focus on.

I wanted to show another clip of his ability to get open as it’s so indicative of what makes him a special prospect. He manages to find the soft spots several times a game, often leading to a good scoring chance like it did here.

Parascak’s ability to slow the game down and execute high hockey IQ plays is another trademark of his game. Here he calmly delivers a dime of a pass to a streaking teammate for a breakaway.

I mentioned earlier that I liked Parascak’s ability in the defensive zone. Here is a very simple, but important play from Parascak. He makes a smart read and positions himself to intercept the pass. Once he does he uses his body position to keep it out of reach and turn it into a clean zone entry for Prince George.

Adam Jecho - Right Wing - Edmonton Oil Kings

6’5”, 198 lbs - 2006-03-24


Playing hockey in North America for the first time, Adam Jecho has been a European prospect on scouts’ radars for a number of years now. Interestingly, Jecho played not in one, not two, but three Hlinka Gretzky Tournaments. Now, you’d expect a player who made the Czech roster as a D-2 player to be a potential superstar and high first-round pick. The truth is, Jecho’s development hasn’t exactly been silky smooth since that tournament in August of 2021. However, Jecho has found his groove in the WHL this season, emerging as Edmonton’s highest-scoring player through the first part of the season. Now, he finds himself on the verge of the first round with scouts excited about his potential given his rare physical attributes.

Scouting Analysis

The first thing that stands out about Jecho is his size. Blessed with 6’5” frame that has plenty of room to fill out, Jecho already has a key attribute helping his NHL projectability. It looks to me like he has always been a player with a lot of size and that was one of the reasons he was so ahead of his peers a few years ago. As players began to catch up to Jecho, he lost some of his advantage and had to turn to working on other attributes to continue developing. However, in the WHL this season, Jecho’s size has been a major reason for his success.

Jecho is certainly not a finesse-style player but is a player you’d instantly peg as having more potential than the current product. He is a rangy 6 '5 " centre with a long, powerful stride and those simply don’t come around very often. His approach to the game is as a very direct player who lacks creativity and deception. Jecho handles the puck calmly and without over-stickhandling. Sometimes, it can look like his hands are on the slow side, but the more important element is that he can control the puck for extended stretches. It’s worth mentioning that his play with the puck has improved since the start of the season. He looks more comfortable and is doing a better job controlling the play with the puck, rather than just being a passenger in the offense. The shot is another part of Jecho’s game worth mentioning. He has a good one-timer and is able to get himself in position to unleash a high-quality shot on net.

The plays he tries are oftentimes the simple ones and when he has the puck, there is little deception in what he is attempting. For all the attributes he has, adding an element of unpredictability to his game could serve him wonders. I found this especially true when it came to his playmaking ability, which is something you need to see for a potential NHL centre who hopes to bring offensive value.  I think we will see a lot of development from Jecho over the rest of the season. He looks like he is getting more and more comfortable in the WHL as the season has gone and the physical attributes he has give him an excellent base to build upon.


Here is an example of the sloppiness in Jecho’s game. I’ve noticed these issues in the neutral zone where you can see that this pass is telegraphed, making it easy for the defender to read. Jecho ends up passing it directly at the defender and turns it over.

This clip shows the value Jecho can bring in the forecheck. He works hard to disrupt the defender and ends up stealing the puck.

Here is a good look of how much of a force Jecho can be with his powerful skating. He covers a lot of ground quickly.

This is another good example of Jecho’s skating and how he can leverage his length to create favourable situations. It doesn’t take much for him to keep the puck out of the grasp of opponents.

This clip shows him getting open for Hodnett to connect with him on a timer that ends up at the back of the net. Jecho has a very good shot that should be an asset in the NHL.

Here is a good example of what Jecho’s upside looks like. He makes this drive to the net and finish look effortless. It was very poorly defended, but Jecho can also be a lot for defenders to handle.