Western Hockey League teams will get a chance to re-stock their shelves Thursday with the annual Bantam Draft being held in Calgary.
The Wheat Kings will have the 21st and final pick of the first round, one year after selecting Stelio Mattheos first overall.
"Preparing for #21, you're at the mercy of 20 other teams or at least 20 other picks, so there's a lot of guessing and a lot of strategy into trying to think about who's going to take who," said Brandon Director of Scouting Wade Klippenstein this week, "It's been enjoyable for our group as we focus on our first round pick and we'll find out soon enough."
Brandon does have a pick in every round of the Bantam Draft except the eighth round, which was traded to Saskatoon for goaltender Alex Moodie in late November.
The Wheat Kings have also dealt their third round pick (to Prince George for Peter Quenneville's rights) and, possibly, their fifth round pick (to Spokane for Reid Gow).
However, the club acquired a third round pick from Tri-City in the Richard Nejezchleb deal and a fifth round pick from Moose Jaw in the Taylor Green trade.
It's those mid-round picks that, ultimately, could make or break an organization.
"That's really where the scouts make their money," said Klippenstein, "The scouts that can identify those late-bloomers or maybe those guys deeper in that draft really separate themselves and Brandon has, historically, done a very good job at that and we look to continue that."
Among the top picks this year is Brandon product Calen Addison, who is expected to be a Top-10 pick.
Addison is a 5-foot-9, 160 pound defenceman who had 45 goals and 76 points in 31 regular season games with the Brandon Bantam AAA Wheat Kings this past season.
Foxwarren product Dawson Barteaux, a 6-foot-0, 160 pound defenceman, and Grandview's Koby Morrisseau, a 6-foot-1 forward, are among the other top Westman prospects while top Winnipeg prospects include defenceman Jet Woo, forward Riley Stotts and forward Caiden Daley.
I have been the voice of the Brandon Wheat Kings and Sports Director at CKLQ Radio in Brandon since 1993.
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