The first big day of Everett’s offseason arrives Thursday as the bantam draft take place. This year’s draft will distribute the rights to 1999-born players from western Canada and the western United States among the WHL’s 22 teams.
Everett picks 15th overall in the first round. That contrasts to the previous three years, when the Tips held the seventh-overall pick all three years as they had the worst record among teams that made the playoffs. Everett does not have a second rounder this year as that was sent to Portland as part of the agreement for hiring Garry Davidson as general manager. By my count, Everett has two third rounders, no fourth rounder, two fifth rounders, two sixth rounders and three seventh rounders, though those totals are all unofficial.
The scuttlebutt surrounding this year’s draft is that it’s not a particularly strong one. I’m told there’s no sure-fire top overall player like Tyler Benson was last year, not a lot of can’t-miss types, and not a lot of depth.
However, I’m also told this could be a banner year for Snohomish County. There have been local players taken in three of the past four bantam drafts — Seattle took Mill Creek forward Brad LeLievre in 2010, while Everett selected Mill Creek defenseman Daniel Woolfenden in 2012 and Stanwood defenseman Connor Nobach last year. So local products have started getting a foot in the door, and this year could be the first where multiple local products get picked. Everett Youth Hockey general manager Jerry Weir said there were several locals who could be picked Thursday:
– There’s two who played for Everett Youth Hockey this season who are on the radar. Defenseman Wyatte Wylie from Lake Stevens and forward Brendan Studioso from Mukilteo both took part in the the WHL’s U.S. Prospects Camp in Anaheim earlier this month.
– A pair of goaltenders from Snohomish are also in the mix. Ben Colvin played this season for Compete Academy in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, while Dominick Vlaha played for the San Jose Jr. Sharks.
– Finally, there’s forward Luke Ormsby from Monroe, who played for the L.A. Jr. Kings. I was first given the heads up on Ormsby last year, when he was still a year away from his draft.