Sherwood Park Flyers forward Ethan Browne was selected by the Silvertips in the first round of the WHL bantam draft Thursday.

Silvertips focus on offense in WHL draft

Some could make a five-game cameo at Xfinity Arena as early as next year. Others may never come to Everett.

Still, the excitement was palpable over the internet, social media and the telephone after the Everett Silvertips joined the Western Hockey League’s 21 other franchises for Thursday’s bantam draft in Calgary, Alberta.

Everett took a dozen players in the annual event that dispersed the rights to 2001-born players in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and the Western United States.

The Tips chose six players from Alberta, three from Manitoba, one from Saskatchewan and two from the United States. The group includes nine forwards, two goalies and one defenseman.

“The whole Silvertips staff did a great job this year,” said Tips head scout Bil La Forge. “We had our guys in order and we think we were very fortunate to grab the players we did in the positions we did, for sure.”

A year after sitting out the first round, the Tips chose forward Ethan Browne, a Sherwood Park, Alberta, native with their first pick at No. 14 overall.

“He’s the offensive player that we’ve needed for a while,” La Forge said. “He’s a true offensive talent. He plays the game really hard. He’s a physical kid who isn’t afraid to engage a little bit. We love the fact that he can run a power play. He can be the trigger man or the setup guy, and he skates very well.”

Browne scored 39 goals with 38 assists in 36 regular-season games, and added another 10 goals and 13 assists in 10 playoff games with the Sherwood Park Flyers bantam AAA team.

“I just thought it was crazy — it was a dream come true,” Browne said of being drafted. “The (Silvertips) contacted me quite a bit. They told me what they liked about my game and told me what I need to work on and stuff like that.”

Browne had been ranked as the No. 17 overall prospect by Western Elite Hockey Prospects scouting website.

“You always go into these things and you have your guys rated in your order, which is obviously different that anyone else has it,” La Forge said. “We were extremely nervous and actually got some comments from teams afterward that they were surprised he was still there and surprised we got him when we did.”

Everett took Dauphin, Manitoba, native Mark Liwiski in the third round and Winnipeg native Reece Vitelli in the fourth. Both are considered strong offensive talents.

“(Liwiski) wants the puck and when he has it he has the ability to make plays with it,” La Forge said. “He was one of those guys where we went in thinking, ‘If we can get this guy then we’re having a really good day.’

“(Vitelli) has got the puck a lot, he can really skate and he can make plays,” La Forge continued. “We feel that his skating is pretty special. He’s got speed and he knows how to use it. He can beat guys one-on-one, but he also can find the guys next to him.”

Everett took Saskatchewan forward Alex Moar in the fifth round and added L.A. Junior Kings goalie Dustin Wolf in the same round two picks later. The Tips selected Dylan Holloway in the sixth round before taking their only defenseman — Aaron Hladiuk, who happens to be Holloway’s teammate on the Calgary Flames bantam AAA team.

Alberta forwards Conrad Mitchell (seventh round), Alex Young (eighth round) and Michael Horon (ninth round) joined Texas forward Ryan Robinson (seventh round) and Manitoba goalie Danton Belluk (10th round) to conclude Everett’s dozen picks.

The Kootenay Ice selected Alberta forward Peyton Krebs with the top pick. Krebs, a forward, was the top-ranked player in the draft according to the Western Elite Hockey Prospects scouting service.

Everett native Hunter Campbell was selected in the third round by the Calgary Hitmen. Campbell played this past season with the Los Angeles Junior Kings and was the only Snohomish County native selected. Lukas Svejkovsky, a Point Roberts native who played for the Delta Hockey Academy, was picked by Vancouver.

The selections

The Everett Silvertips added 12 players to their fold Thursday during the WHL bantam draft held in Calgary, Alberta:

Ethan Browne, F, Sherwood Park, Alberta, first round, No. 13 overall

Browne scored 39 goals with 38 assists in 36 regular season games, and added another 10 goals and 13 assists in 10 playoff games with the Sherwood Park Flyers bantam AAA team.

Mark Liwiski, F, Dauphin, Manitoba, third round, No. 58 overall

Liwiski scored 39 goals with 52 assists in 35 regular-season games for the Parkland Rangers bantam AAA team.

Reece Vitelli, F, Winnipeg, Manitoba, fourth round, No. 83 overall

Vitelli scored 32 goals with 37 assists in 34 regular season games and added three goals and five assists in nine postseason games for the Winnipeg Warriors bantam AAA team.

Alex Moar, F, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, fifth round, No. 102 overall

Moar had eight goals and 10 assists in 27 games with the Prince Albert Raiders bantam AA team.

Dustin Wolf, G, Tustin, Calif., fifth round, No. 104 overall

Wolf had a 2-3-2 record with a 2.99 GAA and a .905 save percentage in seven games with the L.A. Junior Kings 14-U team.

Dylan Holloway, F, Bragg Creek, Alberta, sixth round, No. 121 overall

Scored 17 goals with 14 assists in 33 regular-season games with the Calgary NWCAA Flames bantam AAA team.

Aaron Hladiuk, D, Calgary, Alberta, sixth round, No. 124 overall

Scored eight goals with 14 assists in 36 regular-season games with the Calgary NWCAA Flames bantam AAA team.

Conrad Mitchell, F, Thorsby Alberta, seventh round, No. 139 overall

Scored 11 goals with 13 assists in 36 game for Leduc Oil Kings bantam AAA team.

Ryan Robinson, F, Plano, Texas, seventh round, No. 146 overall

Scored 14 goals with three assists in20 games with Team Illinois 14-U.

Alex Young, F, Calgary, Alberta, eighth round, No. 168 overall

Scored 18 goals with nine assists in 34 regular-season games for the Calgary CRAA Royals bantam team.

Michael Horon, F, Lethbridge, Alberta, ninth round, No. 190 overall

Scored 12 goals with 16 assists in 19 games with the Lethbridge Golden Hawks.

Danton Belluk, G, Lorette, Manitoba, 10th round, No. 212 overall

Had a 13-5-0 mark with a 3.02 GAA for the Eastman Selects bantam AAA team.

For the latest Silvertips news follow Jesse Geleynse on Twitter @jessegeleynse.

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