By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
The Everett Silvertips were all set to move on down.
Tyson Jost compelled them to stay put.
Everett turned down an opportunity to wheel and deal in favor of selecting Jost with their first-round pick in Thursday’s WHL bantam draft.
The Tips selected Jost, a hard-working and skilled winger from Leduc, Alberta, seventh overall in Thursday’s draft, which took place in Calgary, Alberta, and distributed 1998-born players from western Canada and the western United States to the WHL’s 22 teams.
Everett general manager Garry Davidson said he tried unsuccessfully to move up into the top three, and when that didn’t come to fruition, he worked out a deal to move down if his player wasn’t available at No. 7. But with Jost still on the board, Davidson nixed the deal.
“There was a lot of talk and discussion about what was going to happen ahead of us,” Davidson said. “We tried to position ourselves to move up to two or three, but it didn’t happen. Then teams reached out to us, and we said we would do it if our guy wasn’t there. But Tyson was there, so we declined to move back. We’re very excited about him.”
Jost was universally regarded as a top-10 talent going into the draft. The 5-foot-9, 169-pounder played the past season for the Kelowna, B.C.-based Pursuit of Excellence program, where in 49 games he piled up 77 goals, 79 assists and 71 penalty minutes. Jost’s all-around package was too much for the Tips to pass up.
“He’s a player who competed very hard and is hard to play against,” Everett head scout Bil La Forge said. “But in saying that, he has some special skills. We identified him at the beginning of the year and followed his progression. He’s going to look good in a Silvertips jersey with his sped and skill and compete level.
“I was really surprised he was there when we got him,” La Forge added. “It was a pleasant surprise. Taking him was a no-brainer, a slam dunk”
Jost was one of nine players the Tips selected Thursday: five forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender. The nine selections were the fewest Everett has made in its 11 bantam drafts. The players selected Thursday are not eligible to join the Tips full-time until the 2014-15 season.
Jost was not the only elite talent the Tips selected. Everett swung for the fences with its second-round pick, selecting skilled center Patrick Khodorenko 26th overall. The Tips believe Khodorenko, the first American selected, was one of the top talents available in the draft. However, the 5-foot-10, 161-pound resident of Walnut Creek, Calif., who played his bantam hockey in Detroit, has yet to commit to playing in the WHL.
It’s a nearly identical situation as last year, when the Tips selected Arizona forward Auston Matthews in the third round with their second pick of the draft. Matthews, a first-round talent, landed a spot with the U.S. National Team Development Program, meaning he won’t play for Everett until 2015-16 at the earliest.
So, Davidson and company have some work to do to land Khodorenko.
“I spoke to his father last week and they’re very interested in the league,” Davidson said. “We’re looking forward to the opportunity to recruit him. We also spoke with his advisor and that’s been pretty positive. It’s not a slam dunk, but hopefully picking him in the second round will show him how committed we are to getting him here.”
The most notable of Everett’s remaining picks came when the Tips selected Stanwood native Connor Nobach in the fifth round, 91st overall. Nobach, a defenseman, was just the third Snohomish County resident ever selected in the bantam draft, and he was the highest county resident ever picked.
Davidson was pleased with the way the draft unfolded for the Tips.
“We’re pretty excited,” said Davidson, who added that there was no particular theme to Everett’s draft beyond taking the best players available. “We did a lot of work as an organization and we’re quite excited about the nine players we took. With five forwards, three defensemen and one goalie we covered all the positions. I think we added some real good people to our list.”
The Vancouver Giants selected winger Tyler Benson from Edmonton, Alberta, with the first-overall pick. Benson, who broke the Alberta bantam scoring record set by current Portland Winterhawks star Ty Rattie, was widely projected to be the top selection.
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter @NickHPatterson.