Junior Hockey

Brayden Point Leads Potent Moose Jaw Offense

Brayden Point Leads Potent Moose Jaw Offense
Bodie Dykstra

Through their first 12 games, the Moose Jaw Warriors have collected 16 points (7-3-2) and sit third in the East Division behind the Brandon Wheat Kings and Prince Albert Raiders. They’ve scored 47 goals so far, fifth most in the WHL. Leading the way is centerman Brayden Point. The 19-year-old has erupted for 24 points to start the season and leads the league in scoring. For Point, a top prospect in the Tampa Bay organization, this level of offensive production is business as usual.

Moose Jaw selected Point in the first round (11th overall) of the 2011 Bantam Draft. He made his WHL debut near the end of the 2011-12 season and scored one goal in five games. Moose Jaw finished first in the East Division that year, and Point played in all 14 of the Warriors’ playoff games. He became an immediate impact player, leading the team with seven goals en route to an appearance in the Eastern Conference finals.

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Point joined Moose Jaw as a 16-year-old for his first full season. He played in 67 of 72 games and was second in team scoring behind Sam Fioretti. His 57 points were tied for third most among WHL rookies that season. Point also won a silver medal with team Canada Pacific at the U17 World Hockey Challenge; he was named an assistant captain and tallied two goals and three assists in five tournament games.

Point had a career year in 2013-14. He played in all 72 games for the Warriors and earned a team-best and career-high 91 points that tied him for eighth most in the WHL.

By the time he was eligible for the NHL Entry Draft in 2014, Point had earned top prospect status. Many scouts assumed that he would be selected in the first or second rounds; however, he hung around until the third round, at

Brayden Point was selected third round (79th overall) in 2014 by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Photo: National Hockey League/Getty Images

Brayden Point was selected third round (79th overall) in 2014 by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Photo: National Hockey League/Getty Images

which point Tampa Bay was happy to draft him 79th overall.

Point returned to the WHL for his third full season in 2014-15 and continued to pad his already impressive resume. He went on to lead the team in scoring for a second straight year and played at the IIHF World Junior Championships, collecting two goals and two assists. After the WHL season, Point played nine games with Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, and signed an entry-level contract with the Lightning in March 2015.

Hockey’s Future describes Point as a “dynamic offensive forward” who possesses exceptional hockey sense, a quick-release shot, strong face-off abilities, and good playmaking talents. Listed on the Tampa Bay Lightning’s official website as only 5’9” and 178 pounds, Point is a small forward, but he isn’t afraid to crash the net. According to Hockey’s Future, Point displays high intensity in the offensive zone and isn’t afraid of getting into heavy traffic.

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After playing in two preseason games with the Lightning in September, Point returned to Moose Jaw for his fourth full WHL season. He has been nothing short of spectacular with his 24 points in 10 games. Swift Current’s Jon Martin, who has been red hot since joining the Broncos as an over age player in early October, ranks second in the league with 23 points, but he has played three more games than Point. On a point-per-game basis, Point has been utterly dominant.

The depth of Tampa Bay’s offensive corps means that Point’s promotion to the big club isn’t imminent Considering his tremendous start to the new season and his role in helping ignite the offence of a Moose Jaw team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2012, he is certainly making a strong case to wear a Lightning uniform sooner rather than later.

Junior Hockey
Bodie Dykstra
@bodiedykstra

Bodie covers junior hockey and the Western Hockey League. Originally from British Columbia, Bodie now lives in Calgary, Alberta.

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