Thursday, 3 May 2012

WHL Bantam Draft - LIVE Blogging

Little surprise for the first overall pick in the Western Hockey League's 2012 Bantam Draft on Thursday morning as the Seattle Thunderbirds select Burnaby, B.C. product Mathew Barzal.

The 5-foot-10, 160 pound forward has drawn early comparisons to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.  He had 39 goals and 107 points in 38 regular season games and added 16 goals and 46 points in 17 playoff games for the Burnaby Winter Club of the Pacific Coast Bantam Hockey League.

Wheat Kings' GM Kelly McCrimmon makes Brandon's
first round pick in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft
The Brandon Wheat Kings reached into Alberta for their first round pick, 12th overall, in today's WHL Bantam Draft.

The Wheat Kings selected Calgary's Braylon Shmyr, a 5-foot-10, 145 pound left-winger who finished fourth in scoring in the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League with 38 goals and 69 points in 33 games with the Calgary Bisons.

"He's tremendously skilled, he's got the ability to be a very dynamic offensive player.  His improvement over the course of the season and the elite skills he has made him our pick," said Brandon general manager Kelly McCrimmon, "The things that we does with the puck, the skill that he has, the plays he can make, the different ways he can score, we felt he was one of the premier offensive players in this age group."

Braylon Shmyr

Brandon is not slated to select again until the third round, 50th overall.

The first Manitoban went 18th overall, with the Lethbridge Hurricanes selected Steinbach product Thomas Lenchyshyn.  The defenceman spent the 2011-2012 season with the Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League's Eastman Selects.

Before the 'Canes pick, it was announced Lethbridge had acquired former Brandon Wheat King goaltender Ty Rimmer from the Tri-City Americans for a second round pick in 2013 and a third round selection in 2014.

That deal makes me wonder what former the future holds for former Wheat King Liam Liston in Lethbridge.

11:09 a.m.

Victoria selects F Regan Nagy from Ogema, Sask in with the fifth pick of the second round, 27th overall. Troy & Kathy's boy. Now I'm 2nd most famous person from Ogema!

Brenden Walker - dealt to Saskatoon

11:17 a.m.

Word comes the draft floor that the Brandon Wheat Kings have dealt F Brenden Walker to the Saskatoon Blades for three draft picks -- two second round selections and a third round pick. 
 Second round picks are Kelowna's pick this year and Saskatoon's pick in 2013.  The third round pick is in 2014.  Walker, who will be a 20-year old in 2012-2013, had 26 goals and 81 points in 68 games last season.
11:22 a.m.

The Brandon Wheat Kings use the recently acquired 34th overall pick to select D Joe Gatenby from Kelowna.  Gatenby is a 5-foot-10, 150 pound defenceman who played at the Pursuit of Excellence Academy in Kelowna this past season, recording 23 goals and 73 points in 60 games last season.

11:39 a.m.

Error in my ways. Blame incorrect information on WHL LIVE Draft results. The Wheat Kings acquired #35 pick in this year's draft in Walker deal and chose D Tanner Browne with pick.  The 5-foot-11, 190 pound Browne had 22 goals, 55 points in 63 games. He's from Kelowna, B.C. - played with Pursuit of Excellence Bantams this year.  Browne's bigger than Gatenby anyway so like that pick better right off the bat (lol).
Tanner Browne
11:47 a.m.

The Brandon Wheat Kings use the third round pick (50th overall) acquired from Lethbridge as part of the Anderson for Liston/Galbraith trade to select F Dakota Boutin from Moosomin, Saskatchewa.  The 5-foot-11, 157 pound Bouton had 24 goals and 48 points in 19 games with the Melville Bantams this past season while also recording one assist in four games with the Jeff Odgers coached Yorkton Harvest of the SAAAMHL.

12:00 p.m.

As I pause to do the noon hour sports cast on CKLQ, the first Western Manitoban and first Brandonite are chosen.  F Colt Conrad of St. Alphonse goes in the third round, 53rd overall, to the Lethbridge Hurricanes while G Tyson Verhelst of Brandon goes 58th overall to Spokane.

12:32 p.m.

The Brandon Wheat Kings use the first of two fourth round picks (#78 overall) to select 5'10", 166 pound forward Kirkland Lycar. Lycar is a Elma, MB product who played last season with the Eastman Selects Bantam team.

12:43 p.m.

The Brandon Wheat Kings use their second of two fourth round picks (#81 overall) to select 5-foot-11, 160 pound defenceman Mark Matsuba from Spruce Grove, Alberta.  The pick was acquired from Vancouver along with F Matt MacKay for D Darren Bestland back in January of 2011.

Two picks later, Brandon product Jordan Stallard is chosen by the Calgary Hitmen (83rd overall).  Stallard is a 5-foot-9, 140 pound forward and son of former Brandon Bobcats' assistant coach Rick Stallard.

12:49 p.m.

After a frantic morning of activity, the WHL's executives and scouting staff take a well-deserved lunch break. Four rounds are complete, with the Brandon Wheat Kings having made five picks: F Braylon Shmir (1st Round, 12th overall), D Tanner Brown (2nd Round, 35th overall), F Dakota Boutin (3rd Round, 50th overall), F Kirkland Lycar (4th Round, 78th overall) and D Mark Matsuba (4th Round, 81st overall).

Brandon has their own pick in the fifth round (#100 overall) and three picks in the sixth round (#'s 112, 116 and 122).  Seventh round on (at this point) the Wheat Kings have only their own picks, which would be the 12th pick of each round.

12:56 p.m.

After getting a chance to research, moving Brenden Walker to Saskatoon today means the Brandon Wheat Kings will have lost six of their top seven scoring forwards from the 2011-2012 season going into next year (Mark Stone, Michael Ferland, Walker, Kevin Sundher, Darian Dziurzynski and Paul Ciarelli).  Only Alessio Bertaggia (fifth among forwards with 50 points) is likely to return.

1:00 p.m.

Just realized there was another deal involving a former Brandon Wheat Kings.  Moose Jaw trades defenceman Dallas Ehrhardt to Prince George for defenceman Reid Jackson and a seventh round pick in the 2013 Bantam Draft.  Jackson, of course, is the son of former Wheat King General Manager Les Jackson.

1:31 p.m.

Lunch break ends at the WHL Bantam Draft. Do you think they just ordered a bunch of pizzas? Chinese good?

Meanwhile, I pour myself by seventh cup of coffee of the day. Ready for round five!!

1:43 p.m.

Boissevain product Meyer Nell gets selected by the Red Deer Rebels in the fifth round, 96th overall.  Nell is a 5-foot-9, 155 pound forward.

1:49 p.m.

Sources on the Bantam Draft floor inform me lunch consisted of soup, salad and sandwiches.

1:50 p.m.

The Brandon Wheat Kings use their fifth round pick (100th overall) to select forward Jesse Gabrielle of Moosomin, MINNESOTA.  Gabrielle is a 5-foot-9 1/2, 184 pound forward.

1:59 p.m.

The inevitable correction. Brandon fifth round pick Jesse Gabrielle is from Moosomin, SASKATCHEWAN but played at Osseo Maple Grove Crimson HS in Minnesota this year.

2:06 p.m.

The Brandon Wheat Kings use their first of three 6th round picks (#112 overall) on defenceman Mark Taraschuk of Winnipeg. 5-foot-11, 165 pounds.  Had six goals and 11 points in 23 games with Winnipeg Warriors in Winnipeg AAA Hockey League Bantam Division One this past season.

Also, got a note over the last few minutes that Brandon's fifth round pick, Jesse Gabrielle, was a a top-40 talent. Wheat Kings may have gotten a steal there.

2:12 p.m.

The Brandon Wheat Kings use their second of three 6th round picks (#116 overall) on forward Tristan Elder from Kinistino, Saskatchewan.  Elder played for the Saskatchewan champion North East Wolfpack this past season.

2:15 p.m.

The Brandon Wheat Kings use their third pick of the 6th round (#122 overall) on goaltender Logan Thompson of Calgary. Thompson is 5-foot-11, 155 pounds and had a 9-5-2 record with a 3.03 GAA and .903 SPCT with Calgary Bisons this past season.

2:23 p.m.

The Brandon Wheat Kings have only their own picks in the seventh round and beyond, which will #12 in each round.  The position breakdown so far for the Wheat Kings is five forwards, three defencemen and one goaltender (for a total of nine).  I would expect Brandon will be making only 2-3 more picks before shutting it down for the day.

2:44 p.m.

The Brandon Wheat Kings use their seventh round pick (144th overall) to select forward Wade Allison from Roland, Manitoba.  Allison is a 5-foot-10, 150 pound right-winger who played with the Manitoba champion Pembina Valley Hawks this past season.  Allison is the third Manitoban chosen by the Wheat Kings. Brandon's provincial breakdown - Manitoba (3), Saskatchewan (3), Alberta (3), British Columbia (1)

3:06 p.m.

Well, things have slowed down considerably.  No Western Manitobans or Brandonites chosen since the fifth round, only five overall so far.

For the Wheat Kings, they use their eighth round pick (166th overall) to select 5-foot-9, 167 pound forward Conner Lukan from Slave Lake, Alberta.

Brandon made made 11 selections through eight rounds -- seven forwards, three defencemen and one goaltender.

I'm going to shut it down for the's a long day when you start work at 5:00 a.m.  Check back this evening for more on a rundown on the WHL Bantam Draft and more quotes from Brandon general manager Kelly McCrimmon.

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