Prospect update: new names; and Lotz getting a look

It’s 80 degrees and sunny outside, and I’m stuck inside with stomach flu. Ugh. But the news doesn’t stop for me, so here we go.

The indispensable Alan Caldwell has begun his annual offseason postings of every WHL team’s prospects. Caldwell has access to every team’s protected list, which I don’t, so when he posts Everett’s list, as he did Sunday, there’s always a few changes worth noting.

Here are the new names to Everett’s protected list, along with their birth year and position:

Alex Gillies, 95, LW

Tommy Nixon, 95, G

Linden Penner, 95, LW

Matthew Saharchuk, 95, C

Tye Ausmus, 97, D

Ben Newhouse, 97, D

John Schuldt, 97, D

Tanner Tweten, 97, RW

Let’s break these players into two groups.

Gillies, Ausmus, Newhouse, Schuldt and Tweten are examples of the Tips taking flyers on likely NCAA players. Gillies had a good season in the BCHL as a 17-year-old, but is committed to Michigan Tech. Ausmus, Newhouse, Schuldt and Tweten are all Minnesota high school products — Tweten is the big name from that group, as he was a candidate for the U.S. National Team Development Program. These guys are all probably longshots to ever play in Everett.

That leaves Nixon, Penner and Saharchuk. The most interesting of these three by far is Penner. First, he’s huge at 6-foot-4 and 218 pounds. Second, he had a solid season playing junior A as a 17-year-old. Third, he was invited to development camp with the NHL’s Calgary Flames. Fourth, he was a 10th-round bantam draft pick by Saskatoon in 2010 and went to camp with the Blades each of the past three seasons, meaning he has interest in the WHL. Everett is short both of size up front and 95-born forwards. Could this guy solve both issues?

Nixon and Saharchuk are also 1995-born players, but have less pedigree than Penner. Saharchuk is coming off a very good season, but it was a level lower at junior B. Nixon also had a good season, but he was playing at the midget level. As 18-year-olds they would be expected to contribute immediately.

As for who’s no longer on Everett’s list, here’s the players who attended training camp last year and were known to be protected by Everett at some point, but are no longer on the list:

Tre Potskin, 95, RW

Jan Tesarek, 95, F

Nicholas Pouliot, 96, F

Carson Richards, 97, RW

Michael Wirth, 97, RW

Desmond Nevin, 97, D

Arsh Shergill, 97 D

Lastly, Tips goaltender Austin Lotz surprisingly may not have been taken in the NHL draft, but it appears he’s going to get a look anyway:

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