Thursday, 2 May 2013

Wheat Kings Make Splash at WHL Bantam Draft

Wheat Kings' GM Kelly McCrimmon got to go to the podium
twice in the first few minutes of the WHL Bantam Draft
on Thursday
The Brandon Wheat Kings made a big splash at the top of the 2013 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft on Thursday.

The Wheat Kings grabbed 6-foot-3, 175 poound Nolan Patrick with the fourth overall pick, and then made a deal with the Lethbridge Hurricanes to acquire the sixth overall pick -- using it to choose defenceman Kale Clague.

Brandon general manager Kelly McCrimmon made a comparison to this year's draft to the 2009 lottery when Derrick Pouliot, Morgan Rielly, Griffin Reinhart and Matt Dumba were the top four picks and all four were chosen in the first eight picks of last June's NHL Draft.

In other words, the top-end players could be 'franchise players' and the Wheat Kings picked up two of them today.

"I think it's a pretty important day for our franchise and for our team moving forward.  I think our fans are going to be so impressed with these players that were draft today, and playing our organization is going to be exciting," said McCrimmon after Thursday's draft ended, "It's so rare in a draft environment that one team would get two players at the top the way that we did, and that is really doing to be something that allows us to build around a group of players and, hopefully, those players as they grow older are going to have a chance to be a part of pretty good teams."

In order to acquire the sixth overall pick, Brandon sent goaltender Corbin Boes and the 17th overall selection to the Lethbridge Hurricanes while the Wheat Kings also dealt forward Geordie Maguire and the 60th overall pick to the Regina Pats in a deal centred around Regina leaving first round pick Nolan Patrick available for the Wheat Kings to select with the fourth overall pick.

Brandon also chose hometown products Tanner Kaspick and Ty Lewis in the second and third round respectively -- the first time since 2008 the Wheat Kings had chosen at least two players from the Wheat City.

"It's interesting with players from Brandon, Westman or even Manitoba, we like when we get can get players from the area because we always find they're proud to be Wheat Kings and yet we rank our players based on their ability," said McCrimmon, "One of the concerns we had about trading pick #17 in our deal to acquire pick #6, we were afraid it might cost us Tanner Kaspick, a player we really hold in high regard.  As good as it started for us, Tanner Kaspick being available at #25 was just a great turn of events for our organization."

"In Ty Lewis, we think we got a guy that's got tremendous instinct and hockey IQ and a real high skill level," added McCrimmon, "He'll compliment some of the other players that we took today."

Here's my full interview with Kelly McCrimmon at the conclusion of Thursday's WHL Bantam Draft.

Brandon Wheat Kings' Selections
First Round
4. F Nolan Patrick (Winnipeg, Manitoba)
6. D Kale Clague (Lloydminster, Alberta)
Second Round
25. F Tanner Kaspick (Brandon, Manitoba)
Third Round
37. F Ty Lewis (Brandon, Manitoba)
Fourth Round
69. D T.J. Brown (Lacombe, Alberta)
Fifth Round
91. Dylan Thiessen (Winnipeg, Manitoba)
Sixth Round
No Pick
Seventh Round
135. F Linden McCorrister (Winnipeg, Manitoba)
Eighth Round
157. D Ryan Lindgren (Lakeville, Minnesota)
Ninth Round
179. F Joey Anderson (Maplewood, Minnesota)
Tenth Round
201. D Branden Story (Grandview, Manitoba)
213. F Ben Dalke (La Salle, Manitoba)
11th Round
221. F Braden Billarney (Boissevain, Manitoba)

Western Manitoba Selections
Second Round
25. F Tanner Kaspick (Brandon, by Brandon Wheat Kings)
Third Round
37. F Ty Lewis (Brandon, by Brandon Wheat Kings)
Fourth Round
75. D Blake Jameson (Brandon, by Victoria Royals)
Fifth Round
90. F Morgan Geekie (Strathclair, by Tri-City Americans)
Ninth Round
190. F Tyler Kirkup (Virden, by Red Deer Rebels)
194. D Riley Shamray (Oak River, by Calgary Hitmen)
Tenth Round
201. D Brenden Story (Grandview, by Brandon Wheat Kings)
11th Round
237. Brett Evans (Grandview, by Saskatoon Blades)
240. Brenden Kokorudz (Brandon, by Edmonton Oil Kings)

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