Monday, April 26, 2010

Some draft notes . . .

The pre-bantam draft buzz among WHL scouts is that Matt Needham, who totalled 253 points in 64 games with a bantam team in Penticton this season, has let it be known that he wants to play for the Kamloops Blazers and that his family wants him to play in Kamloops.
If that, indeed, is happening, it should come as no surprise. After all, his father, Mike, spent three seasons (1987-90) with the Blazers. Mike had 125 points, including 59 goals, in 60 games in his final season.
So while the Blazers, who hold the eighth overall pick in Thursday’s draft, aren’t about to tip their hand, it won’t be a surprise if they take Needham in the first round.
However, there also is word that Needham has said he won’t commit to the WHL — or to college — until he plays his 16-year-old season.
Meanwhile, there is a whisper out there that the Seattle Thunderbirds, who went young, young, young this season, are shopping the fourth overall selection, wanting an impact 18- or 19-year-old in return.
The Lethbridge Hurricanes, with three second-round picks, would love to move up to the four hole. They already hold the third selection, so a deal with Seattle might allow them to take Morgan Klimchuk and Jay Merkley, a pair of scorers from the Calgary Bisons, with back-to-back picks.
Merkley had a tournament-high 11 points at the Alberta Cup on the weekend, while Klimchuk had nine, including five goals.
You have to think that GM Doug Soetaert of the Everett Silvertips will be trying to add a draft pick or two.
The Silvertips only have five selections through seven rounds.
As of now, the Silvertips hold the 18th, 40th, 106th, 133rd and 150th picks.
The Kootenay Ice, meanwhile, hold seven picks in the first four rounds — one first, two seconds, two thirds and two fourths.
Mr. Chynoweth. A call for you, sir. A Mr. Soetaert is calling.
The Regina Pats, who hold the fifth overall pick, are also believed to have been chatting with the Seattle Thunderbirds about that No. 4 selection.
The Pats don’t have a second-round pick — it went to Lethbridge in the Carter Ashton deal in January. Neither does Regina have a fourth-round pick — the Swift Current Broncos got it for D Jesse Dudas in January 2009.
The Pats, at present, hold the fifth, 47th, 49th, 91st, 115th, 137th, 159th, 181st and 203rd selections through 10 rounds.
The draft is scheduled for Thursday and will be held in the Fantasyland Hotel in the West Edmonton Mall.

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