Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Winterhawks Again With No Early Bantam Picks Thursday

Ty Kolle-Portland's Top Pick from the 2015 Bantam Draft
The Portland Winterhawks again find themselves without any picks in the first three rounds in tomorrow's WHL Bantam Draft, which starts at 7:30 am PST.

Last season, Portland did not pick until the 70th overall pick in the fourth round, when they took Ty Kolle (still has not signed with Portland). This year, their first pick is again in the fourth round. This time it is the 73rd overall selection.

Here is the full list of Portland's selections and where they went or where they came from.

Of note is the fact that I strongly believe that Portland's third round pick belongs to Brandon as Igor Larionov Jr. reported, but was never deemed healthy enough to play after dealing with illness and concussion concerns. Garrett Wait has also not reported to Saskatoon, nor is he expected to. Brandon should own that pick in the trade for Rihards Bukarts then, as they have the rights to it, if Saskatoon does not. If the Blades somehow get the pick, Portland owes Brandon their 2017 third round pick.

Another note is that this is the last year of both the sanctions that take away Portland's first round picks and the trio of second round picks that were traded for Matt Dumba.

I would guess that Matt Bardsley, Portland's assistant general manager will be making the picks tomorrow, as Portland has yet to hire a head coach or general manager.

I would not be surprised if Portland offers up Keegan Iverson to try and acquire some picks as the 2016/17 overage forward could very well get the Winterhawks something as high as a second or third round pick. Adin Hill would have been another interesting trade chip, but since he signed with the Arizona Coyotes, he will likely not return to the WHL next season. The only other returning overage player for next season would be Latvian import Rodrigo Abols. It is very likely that if he is not drafted in this June's NHL draft, he will go and find a professional deal in the KHL or somewhere else in Europe. Even if he commits to return to Portland, he is not a big trade chip, as he is what is referred to as a "two-spotter" (an import and overage player).

Portland does have 11 total picks and due to there being a lot of gaps in the projected depth, I would expect them to use them all. The last time Portland had this many picks was 2012, when the draft had 14 rounds.

Here is Portland's projected roster for the 2016/17 season, along with their birth years

  • Keegan Iverson-1996
  • Rodrigo Abols-1996
  • Evan Weinger-1997
  • Alex Overhardt-1997
  • Colton Veloso-1997
  • Skyler McKenzie-1998
  • Brett Clayton-1998
  • Tanner Nagel-1998
  • Cody Glass-1999
  • Ryan Hughes-1999
  • Bronson Sharp-1999
  • Ilijah Colina-2000*
  • Jones
  • Brad Ginnell-2000*
  • Caleb Jones-1997**
  • Keoni Texeira-1997
  • Brendan De Jong-1998
  • Carter Czaikowski-1998
  • Conor MacEachern-1998
  • Jackson Caller-1999
  • Jake Hobson-1999*
  • Matt Quigley-1999*
  • Michael Bullion-1997
  • Ethan Middendorf-1999*^
*=Have yet to play in a regular season WHL game.
**=Still looks possible that he could be AHL eligible as a signed Edmonton Oilers' draft pick.
^=Missed all of the 2015/16 season with an undisclosed injury.

Here is how the age groups break down:
-1996:2 F
-1997:3F, 2D, 1G
-1998:3F, 3D
-1999:3F, 3D, 1G

-Definitely a lot more signings needed over the summer by the new general manager, with goalie being the biggest area of need.
-If it is determined that Caleb Jones is AHL eligible and the Oilers decide to go that route, defense could be another area that needs a lot more depth.
-An intriguing option for Portland at forward is Carl Ericson, who got hurt and missed nearly the entire 2015/16 season. He would be a another two-spotter, so it would be pretty unlikely that Portland would choose not to draft a younger import player and stick with two overage forwards in Abols and Ericson.
-If import drafts are all about relationships, maybe Portland is able to draft 1998 born d-man and younger brother of former Hawk Anton Cederholm, Jacob Cederholm. The younger Cederholm sibling is expected to be drafted in the first round of this June's NHL draft. The outlook for next season would definitely change if he was added.

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