Monday, 28 June 2010

Wheat Kings Prepare for Import Draft

The Brandon Wheat Kings made a big splash during last year's Canadian Hockey League Import Draft but don't expect any cannonballs this year.

A year ago, Brandon made a pair of trades in order to acquire the rights to left-winger Toni Rajala and defenceman Alexander Urbom with the 14th and 23rd picks respectively.

This year, the club owns the 59th pick in the first round and are slated to make their selection shortly after 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

"Because of the year that we had, we draft very low," says Wheat Kings' GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon, "It's always as much of an art as it is a science and, certainly, too hard to predict at this point how it'll shake out."

Last year, it was obvious the Wheat Kings were looking for impact players in the Import Draft.

This year, McCrimmon says he's open to all types of players, age-wise and position-wise.

"With as late as we pick, we don't want to exclude any position and we don't want to exclude a player based on age," says McCrimmon, "We'll try to take a guy that can help out hockey club and make out move that way."

McCrimmon did say they are retaining Rajala's rights, meaning the club will make just one pick in the Import Draft this year.

There is some question surrounding Rajala's return to Brandon next season, mainly because he still has a one-year military obligation in his home country of Finland, but also because he could, possibly, play in the Edmonton Oilers' farm system next year as well.

Chaff...the Wheat Kings still do hold the rights (unless something has changed in recent weeks) to 2008 Import pick Kirill Gotovets. The 19-year old Gotovets was a seventh round pick of Tampa Bay in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft and has spent the last two years at Shattuck-St. Mary's High School in Minnesota. The defenceman is due to play at Cornell next year and, the last I knew, was on the what is termed the 'College' list of the Wheat Kings.

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