Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Edmundson Psyched for Draft

Joel Edmundson
You can expect Brandon product Joel Edmundson to have a few sleepless nights this week.

Edmundson, who turns 18 next Tuesday, is headed to St. Paul, Minnesota where he's expected to be chosen in the NHL Entry Draft this weekend.

"It probably won't even sink in for me. Last year, watching the draft, I just thought it would be awesome and a dream to be there," says Edmundson, who will attend the draft along with his family " Now, a year later, I'm going down there. I don't think it's going to sink in that I'm actually there but it's going to be a lot of fun, that's for sure."

The 6-foot-4 1/2, 191 pound Edmundson turned some headed at the recent NHL Draft Combine in Toronto, where he recorded the second-highest wingspan among the more than 100 prospects that took part.

Edmundson has talked to roughly 25 of the 30 NHL teams in advance to the draft, and feels there's four or five that have shown a keen interest in him.

The NHL has returned to Winnipeg but, ironically, the new franchise is one of the five teams Edmundson hasn't had any contact with.

"That would be one of my favourite teams to go to, but I actually haven't talked to them yet. It would be a real big surprise if I went there but it'd be awesome," says Edmundson, "I have a feeling there are 4-5 teams that are really interesting in me but, on draft day, you have to keep an open mind."

Edmundson notched two goals, 20 points and a +3 rating in 71 games in his rookie season in the WHL while also recording 95 penalty minutes.

He's spent his summer working hard on trying to advance his hockey career, which has meant some sacrifices in other areas.

"I had to give up baseball for hockey. I love baseball, but gave it up just so that I could do better in hockey and focus on it," says Edmundson, "I've had to give up a lot but I've worked really hard and I'm just going to keep working hard in the future."

Edmundson was ranked 33rd among North American skaters in the final NHL Central Scouting Service rankings and was ranked 47th by TSN's Bob MacKenzie and the International Scouting Services in their draft rankings.

Here's the writeup on Edmundson from TSN Scout Grant McCagg that is on http://www.tsn.ca/draftcentre/feature/?id=44973.

The 6-4 blueliner made his presence known physically in his WHL rookie campaign, fighting the likes of fellow prospect Duncan Siemens and faring quite well with the fists.

Strengths - Big, tough defenceman, just scratching the surface of his abilities, decent skater, strong, physical presence who is effective in front of his net and along the boards. Skating is fine. Limited skills/sense.

Weaknesses - Long-term project in a salary-cap world, limited skills and senses.

NHL Upside - Will need a few years of seasoning, but could provide a physical defensive presence in a fifth or sixth defenceman role.

Chaff...The latest blog entry that Wheat Kings' goaltender Liam Liston is writing for Sportsnet is now up.  The link is here...The tentative 2011-2012 schedule for the Wheat Kings is expected to be released later today. Opening night is September 23rd...the folks in Medicine Hat are going to have to wait a while longer for a new arena. Despite the owners of the Tigers throwing their weight behind a proposed $94.5-million Regional Event Centre, Medicine Hat's city council voted last night to reject a funding model for the project. A scaled-down version of the project could go back before city council this fall.

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