Defenseman Tarin Smith of the Saskatoon Blazers U18 team was selected by the Everett Silvertips in the first round of the WHL draft on Thursday. (Photo provided by Everett Silvertips)

Defenseman Tarin Smith of the Saskatoon Blazers U18 team was selected by the Everett Silvertips in the first round of the WHL draft on Thursday. (Photo provided by Everett Silvertips)

Silvertips build for the future in pair of drafts

Capsules of Everett’s picks from this week’s U.S. priority and WHL drafts.

It took an extra seven months, but the Everett Silvertips finally have a new crop of players.

The delayed 2021 WHL prospects draft and U.S. priority draft took place Thursday and Wednesday, respectively, and between the two the Tips added nine 2006-born players to the organization.

The drafts, which distribute the rights to players from western Canada and the western United States among the WHL’s 22 teams, usually take place in early May. However, because the coronavirus pandemic wiped out the 2020-21 minor hockey season in Canada, the drafts were pushed back to give the players more time to be viewed by scouts.

“I thought our scouts did a real good job of covering as much as we could in the short amount of time we had,” Everett director of player personnel Mike Fraser said. “It helped that there were a lot of good summer camps and tournaments going on in western Canada to give us some extra viewing before the regular season started in the fall. And honestly, I’ve probably watched more video on kids than I ever have in 17 years of scouting, because I had to.”

Everett selected seven players in Thursday’s WHL prospects draft — the fewest the Tips have taken in a single draft in franchise history, with Fraser saying that was largely because they haven’t had enough opportunity to evaluate their 2005-born class yet — along with two in Wednesday’s U.S. priority draft. Everett also had a first-round pick in the WHL draft for the first time since 2017. Players drafted this week are eligible to join the Tips full-time beginning in the 2022-23 season.

Here’s a glance at Everett’s selections, along with a quote from Fraser about each player:

WHL draft

First round (20th overall): Tarin Smith, defenseman, 6-foot-1, 174 pounds, Porcupine Plain, Saskatchewan

Stats: Has one goal and 14 assists in 20 games with Saskatoon Blazers U18

Fraser: He’s a player we had our eyes on for a couple years. He’s an offensive guy who also shuts things down well. We feel he’s pretty close to the total package as a defenseman and we’re excited to have him in our lineup sooner rather than later.

Third round (66th overall): Jesse Heslop, forward, 5-foot-9, 142 pounds, Nanaimo, B.C.

Stats: Has 17 goals and 18 assists in 14 games for Yale Hockey Academy U17

Fraser: He’s got a real good offensive knack for the game. He’s quick, he’s good in tight areas, he’s good with his stick, he has good puck skills and he creates a lot of offense for his team.

Sixth round (131st overall): Cameron Sytsma, defenseman, 6-foot, 160 pounds, Surrey, B.C.

Stats: Has two assists in nine games for Burnaby Winter Club U18

Fraser: He’s one of the better B.C. defensemen. We like how he moves the puck, keeps the game simple and doesn’t panic when under pressure.

Sixth round (132nd overall): Carter Bear, forward, 5-foot-10, 147 pounds, West St. Paul, Manitoba

Stats: Has 12 goals and six assists in 19 games with Winnipeg Thrashers U18

Fraser: We really like how he’s developed even from the summer. He has very good hockey sense, good offensive vision and makes good plays.

Eighth round (158th overall): Lynden Donald-Gorman, forward, 5-foot-11, 150 pounds, Edmonton, Alberta

Stats: Has 15 goals and 15 assists in 15 games with CAC Canadians U16

Fraser: He works hard and uses his frame well to get into dirty areas, and he’s found some offense and been able to put the puck in the net.

Eighth round (163rd overall): Beck Boiteau, goaltender, 6-foot, 156 pounds, Medicine Hat, Alberta

Stats: Is 3-2-2 with a 2.36 goals-against average and .894 save percentage in seven games with Lethbridge Hurricanes U18

Fraser: What stands out is how smooth he is technically. Everett’s had some good technical goalies over the years and he’s in the same mould.

Ninth round (187th overall): Kenyon McIsaac, defenseman, 5-foot-7, 145 pounds, Prince George, B.C.

Stats: Has two goals and 10 assists in 12 games with Burnaby Winter Club U16

Fraser: He’s a good undersized puck-moving player who’s very smart, sees the ice well and makes the right play.

— — — — — —

U.S. priority draft

First round (14th overall): Aidan Yi, forward, 5-foot-7, 135 pounds, Lake Forest, California

Stats: Has six goals and four assists in 15 games with Culver Academy Eagles 16U

Fraser: He’s a playmaking guy and his family seems very excited to come check out Everett and see what we’re all about.

Second round (31st overall): Cody Polumbus, forward, 5-foot-8, 153 pounds, Whitefish, Montana

Stats: Has 18 goals and 11 assists in 30 games with Sioux Falls Power 15U

Fraser: I think he describes himself as a goal-scorer, and what we saw when we watched video of him is that he likes to shoot the puck.

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