Welcome to another WHL Best of the 2010s feature where we profile the best WHL players from the 2009-10 season all the way to the 2019-20 season. Players are judged based on what they did in each division. This means if a player spent time in multiple divisions, their placement will be judged based on what they did separately while in each division. Don’t forget to vote on our Twitter page, @WHLonA51 to help determine which player will be crowned the best WHL player of the 2010s. We hope you enjoy.
Jayden Halbgewachs had one of the most prolific careers in the Western Hockey League. Spending five full seasons with the Moose Jaw Warriors, though he originally signed his WHL agreement with the Kamloops Blazers.
The first few years
Joining the Tigers full-time in the 2014-15 season, the 17-year-old Halbgewachs put up four goals and four assists in his 59-game rookie campaign. Perhaps a slower start than you would expect from someone being considered one of the top WHL players of the 2010s, but don’t worry, it gets better.
Year two saw him come back with a new confidence and another level to his game. His sophomore season with the Warriors saw him tally 15 goals and 26 assists in 69 games, a great improvement on the scoresheet for the 18-year-old. However, the season was also not what landed him in this mix. Instead, it was just the beginning of what the WHL would see Halbgewachs accomplish.
Back for his third season with Moose Jaw in 2016-17, the then 19-year-old Halbgewachs potted 50 goals and 51 assists in 71 games, but even a 101-point season was not “Magic Man” at his best.
Halbgewachs into history
In his overage season, Jayden Halbgewachs elevated his game yet again and found his name in the record books. With 50 goals in 47 games, the tiny but mighty forward was the fastest Warriors player to reach 50 goals in the team’s history. Yet again, he didn’t stop there, in the remaining 25 games of the 2017-18 season, Halbgewachs added another 20 goals and finished the season with an astounding 70 goals and 59 assists. With 129 points in the regular season, the 5-foot-9 forward brought the Bobby Clarke Trophy as the WHL’s top scorer, going on to claim the CHL’s top-scorer award as well.
With 70 goals in 72 games, Halbgewachs finished the year with nine more goals than Ty Ronning of the Vancouver Giants and his 129 points set him five points higher than Glenn Gawdin of the Swift Current Broncos.
Behind only two
Throughout the decade, only two players saw their name on the scoresheet in a single season more than Halbgewachs did in 2017-18.
Tri-City Americans forward Brendan Shinnimin tallied 134 points in the 2011-12 season, however with 58 goals, he was still 12 behind what Halbgewachs would net six years later.
Similarly, Regina Pats forward Sam Steel in the 2016-17 season pocketed 131 points, but with 50 goals in the season, Halbgewachs actually matched him goal-for-goal.
Not only did Halbgewachs light the lamp many more times than Shinnimin and Steel in the years where each led the WHL in points, but he also did it more often while at even strength. Halbgewachs picked up just 39 power-play points in his league-leading season, while Shinnimin had 54 in his and Steel counted 44.
Halbgewachs put up back-to-back seasons where he put up over 100 points and while he never heard his name called in the NHL Draft, he found his way into professional hockey
Like a bulldog, the Saskatchewan native might not be the fastest when compared to others, but during his time in the WHL, he put in the work, stood his ground, and left a lasting impression before he left.