Vancouver Giants forwards Samuel Honzek and Jaden Lipinski have been selected to represent the team in the upcoming Kubota Top Prospects Game, set to take place on Jan. 25 at the Langley Events Centre. The Kubota Top Prospects Game takes place in order to showcase the greatest NHL draft-eligible talent competing in the CHL this season.
Honzek was acquired this offseason as the 10th overall pick in the CHL Import Draft and has immediately contributed as a top player for the Giants this year. He leads all CHL rookies in scoring, with a whopping 41 points in 30 games played, and also leads Vancouver in total scoring. The Slovakian forward has emerged as an absolute stud and is considered a top, blue-chip prospect for the upcoming 2023 NHL Draft. In October, NHL Central Scouting named Honzek as an ‘A’ level prospect in their preliminary prospect rankings, signifying a likely first-round selection. The Athletic’s Corey Pronman recently named Honzek the 25th-best prospect available in his NHL Draft Big Board rankings.
While Honzek’s inclusion in the Kubota Top Prospects Game comes as a surprise to no one, Jaden Lipinski, rated as a ‘C’ or later-round prospect by NHL Central Scouting, was also named to participate in the game. Lipinski, who has 24 points in 30 games this season, followed an unconventional path to draft buzz. After failing to be selected by any team in the WHL draft, Lipinski was spotted by Giants GM Barclay Parneta at a tournament and offered a spot on the team. Last season, Lipinski played a minimal role in mostly fourth-line minutes, scoring 17 points in 68 games. This year’s offensive explosion seemingly came out of nowhere, and he has been rewarded for his stellar play with draft buzz and recognition.
Parneta is thrilled that the team’s players were selected to the game. ““The Giants want to congratulate both of the players chosen by the NHL to participate in the Kubota Top Prospect Game. Samuel has transitioned exceptionally well to the WHL. His power and skill have set him apart. We look forward to his continued growth in the WHL with the Vancouver Giants. Jaden continues to excel with great passion and work ethic on and off the ice. He is a focused, driven person that understands the work that goes into improving. Jaden has a great skill set with the ability to protect the puck. He is a player that the puck follows on the ice.”
Previous Vancouver Giants skaters to be selected for the Kubota Top Prospects Game include NHL stars Evander Kane and Bowen Byram.