Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2020 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at Carson Bantle.
Madison Capitols left wing Carson Bantle had a point-per-game season in the USHL in his draft year. Serving as an alternate captain, he put up 20 goals and 29 assists for 49 points in 49 games with Madison. It was a real breakout season that has gotten him noticed by scouts. Bantle played for Team USA in the 2019 Hlinka-Gretzky Tournament. He took the confidence and experience of representing his country into this season. It was a big improvement on his 2018-19 season when he scored 10 goals and 10 assists for 20 points in 62 games with Madison.
Bantle, an Onalaska, Wisconsin native, is a product of the world-famous Shattuck St. Mary’s prep school. In 2017-18 he put up 12 goals and 28 points in 52 games for the Sabres midget team. In 2016-17 he scored 19 goals and 42 points in 56 games for the Shattuck bantam team. Bantle is committed to playing hockey for the Michigan Tech Huskies in the NCAA next season. Should he change his mind and opt to go the CHL route, his rights are owned by North Bay Battalion. The Battalion selected Bantle with a 14th round pick, 275 overall in the 2018 OHL Draft.
Carson Bantle Scouting Report
Left Wing — shoots Left
Born January 22nd, 2002 — Onalaska, Wisconsin
Height 6’4″ — Weight 201 lbs [193 cm/91 kg]
Coming in at 6-foot-4 and already over 200 pounds, Bantle has all the size and skills necessary to play a power forward’s game. While he is not a speedster, he is a good skater and more than capable of keeping up with the play. He also has a good first step and reaches his top speed in a few strides with strong acceleration. Bantle also has good agility and edgework for a man his size. That said, he is just as likely to go right through a defender as he is to make a slick move and try to get around them. Bantle has a powerful stride and good lower body strength. He can also fight through checks and get to the front of the net. He also wins his battles on the boards. As he matures and adds even more strength, this should continue to improve.
Bantle is a goal scorer. He has a very good release on both his snapshot and wrist shot. His shots are powerful and accurate. He also knows how to get to the front of the net. With his size, he is effective in screening goalies and causing havoc when he gets there. He also has good hand-eye coordination. Bantle can pounce on rebounds or one-time a pass from a teammate into the back of the net. He also has the soft hands to finish in close to the goalie.
Bantle plays a powerful style. He is willing to use his size as well as his power to dominate opponents. He gets in quickly on the forecheck and can plaster an opponent into the boards. Bantle can even cross the line, being too aggressive and getting into penalty trouble. He is strong along the boards, winning battles and getting the puck to the front of the net. His passing skills are decent, but he is not that creative. Bantle makes the short, safe pass to keep the play going. He controls the puck well below the hash-marks, working well in the cycle game.
Bantle’s defensive game is a work in progress. He is good when supporting the defence down low against the cycle game and in containing his man and keeping him to the outside when on the puck. Again, discipline can be an issue though as sometimes his physical game will cross the line and he can take penalties. He also needs to work on his game away from the puck. He has a tendency to puck watch at times, which lets his man get away from him and get open for a shot. Bantle also has a tendency to leave the zone early, looking to create offensive chances without being sure that the defence gets it out of danger.
Projection and Comparison
Bantle’s combination of size, skating ability and skill are intriguing. One concern is that he’s never really put up offensive numbers before this season. Is this a one-year aberration or has he found something in his game that will translate in future years? He also needs some work at the defensive end. However, NHL teams are always looking for a power forward and Bantle has shown enough to be worthy of taking a risk on. If things go well, he could become a top-six forward at the next level. His game is similar to Tom Wilson, however, this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and potential.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Carson Bantle that are available on youtube and twitter.
— USHL (@USHL) January 27, 2019
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Carson Bantle Main Photo:
We have no doubt that he’ll play NHL games but with hard work & consistent dedication Carson has a chance to have an NHL career.
— NHL Draft Analysis (@nhl_nz) April 17, 2020