By Mike Benton
Silvertips radio play-by-play
The Everett Silvertips completed their 2020 WHL Draft run with exactly the same total crop as last season: a perfect dozen.
Yet, the ingredients are a tad different this time. Last year: 10 skaters, two goaltenders.
This year: all skaters, broken down to seven forwards and five defensemen.
The environment was also different, and for good reason. The spacious, lavish surroundings of a hotel ballroom tucked away in Alberta was put on the shelf because of mass gatherings restrictions related to COVID-19. This time, the entire show happened purely online at whl.ca, with picks distributed from all teams in a satellite format.
The Tips had to wait until a bit later to start rolling, with picks in the first three rounds dealt for impact players in present day leading the Tips to U.S. Division titles in three of the last four years, and this season with the second highest point total in the entire league.
Still, in what has been regarded as an extremely deep draft, the Tips had opportunity, and the homework of the hockey staff took care of it. Last year, in similar web space, we documented the emphatic success the Silvertips have pulled off in middle to late round picks, even going as far back as one time captain Jonathan Harty.
The updated total: 11 players drafted in those middle to late rounds have either made their NHL debut, been drafted by NHL teams, or signed a pro contract. Not too bad.
How players are evaluated for fit on a potential roster slot, like in the last few years, boils down to three important criteria: skill, speed, and “hockey sense.” Size is always welcome, but caution is exercised before jumping to conclusions on a prospect’s frame. There’s filling out that needs to happen, and we mentioned before that players hitting growth spurts are very commonplace. Take Jake Christiansen, who just finished his final season as a Silvertip and is headed to the Blue Jackets organization, for example. He was 5-foot-8, 150 pounds when drafted. He’s now 6-foot-1, 190 pounds.
Silvertips head scout Mike Fraser discussed each player selected:
POSITION: Defense (right shot)
DRAFTED: 4th round, 81st overall
OF NOTE: Competed for the St. George’s (CSSBHL) program and led their defensemen with 36 points in 29 games … averaged an assist per game … posted 10 multi point games during the season and had a season high four-point game (all assists) on Jan. 25 vs. Shawinigan Lake … grew up in West Vancouver, British Columbia, not too far away from Jake Christiansen.
MIKE FRASER SAYS: “Hoyt’s a guy who had a lot of viewings from our staff. Every time we watched him, he got better. He moves pucks really well and sees the ice really well. He has offense to his game, but takes care of his own zone. He has good range, is good with puck, and good without puck. I feel he’s a guy you can put in all situations, and I like what his future holds.”
DRAFTED: 4th round (87th overall)
OF NOTE: Led North East (SBAAHL) Wolfpack and was 5th in league with 100 points in 31 games … he didn’t have just one ten-point game, he had two of them during the season – his last regular season game, he had a ho-hum 11 points in one game – two goals and nine assists – on Mar. 1 … by the way, he also had a pair of five-goal games … for the season, he totaled 20 multi point games. Excuse us if you have to pick your jaw off the floor.
MIKE FRASER SAYS: “Roan’s a very exciting, dynamic player – one thing I like is how quick he plays. In tight spaces he can make creative, offensive opportunities and can also put the puck in the net. I have to give a lot of credit to Garry Ryhorchuk – he knows him very well and is very high on him. Without sounding cliché, the fact he was still available at that pick, we were really excited about that.”
POSITION: Right wing
DRAFTED: 7th round, 153rd overall
OF NOTE: Comes from the same Parkland program that produced 2018-19 Tips captain and 2017-18 Western Conference champion Connor Dewar … was third in WBAAA scoring, 88 points (36g-52) in 36 games … had a pair of shorthanded goals and led the Rangers with 10 power play goals … was second on the club in goals and points … had five hat tricks and a four goal game on Oct. 6 … at one point, had the fifth most points in the entire province of Manitoba … named to Team Army for the Bantam AAA All-Star Game at the MTS Iceplex … finished the season with 20 multi point games.
MIKE FRASER SAYS: “I’ve watched Kyan play the last two years and he’s very much a skilled, quick player, but also has a bulldog mentality. He competes hard. He wins battles. He creates opportunities and has ability to finish. Parkland is a very offensive-laden group. He was one of the leaders there putting the puck in the net and creating opportunities.”
“There have been comparisons to Connor Dewar. I hesitate comparing players who are five, six years older but I know in speaking with their coaching staff, Connor was one name who came up and that name in Everett is sacred. We had a lot of opportunities and Doug Sinclair (Manitoba scout – editor’s note: also scouted Connor Dewar) was high on him as well. I just got done speaking with (Kyan) and family, they’re very excited and are already looking forward to training camp.”
DRAFTED: 8th round, 173rd overall
OF NOTE: Led Calgary Flames (AMBHL), 50 points (23g-27a) in 33 games … in tournament play, was second on the club with five points in four games (second with three goals) … buried six power play goals, tied for second on the club.
MIKE FRASER SAYS: “Matthew is a guy we had a lot of chance to see. I really like his creativity, and their team had a good, long playoff run. He was their offensive spark. He’s undersized but not afraid of anything. He plays very quick down low and makes good plays at the front of the net. Has no troubles putting the puck in the net.”
POSITION: Defense (left shot)
DRAFTED: 8th round, 175th overall
OF NOTE: Led the Okanagan Rockets (BCBHL) defensemen 22 points in 30 games … tied for third on the club with five power play points and earned a shorthanded assist … to note: his head coach is a WHL alumnus and former pro level defenseman, Jason Beckett, who competed for the Seattle Thunderbirds (1997-00), was a second round pick by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, and skated for 13 seasons across the pro level throughout the AHL, ECHL, and Europe.
MIKE FRASER SAYS: “Luke’s a left shot defenseman we had opportunities to see a lot. The Rockets were at a lot of events we visited, and they’re a good BC major bantam team. What I like about Luke, his demeanor is very calm. He’s not afraid to go back, get the puck, and when he turns around he knows what to do with it. He doesn’t hesitate, freak out in traffic, and I think there’s a little more offense there even than he showed. There’s some growth potential there, and we like his upside going forward.”
POSITION: Defense (left shot)
DRAFTED: 9th round, 195th overall
OF NOTE: Was second among Edge School (CSSBHL) defensemen with 22 points in 30 games … earned five multi point games … had a season high three point game on Jan. 31.
MIKE FRASER SAYS: “That Edge Bantam Prep team was solid all around – they had a solid D core and he was a part of it. Where he was in September, to where he is now, he’s trending in the right direction. He improved a lot, showed a lot more confidence in his game. There’s a nice frame to him, he’s a rangy guy who takes care of his own end, but also showed more of the offense part of his game. I was a little surprised he was still there at this point, so to get him, we were ecstatic.”
POSITION: Right wing
DRAFTED: 9th round, 197th overall
OF NOTE: Led the Brandon Wheat Kings (WBAAA), 5th in league with 42 goals in 33 games … led the program with 62 points in 33 games … was 11th in points for the entire league, with 62 points in 33 games … had 3 hat tricks including a four goal and season high five point game in the regular season finale, a 13-1 victory over Central Plains.
MIKE FRASER SAYS: “The way things worked out, we were happy to get Carter. I’ve seen him play lots over the last couple years, know his family quite well, and know people who know of him. Doug Sinclair was a key with this pick –Carter’s improved with his hands and scoring ability last year and a half. When he gets the puck at the net, it’s quite often going to go in. He’s a very late birthday (December, 2005) – I think there’s a lot of upside and a lot of game growth.”
POSITION: Defense (left shot)
DRAFTED: 10th round, 210th overall
OF NOTE: Posted 19 points in 32 games with Calgary Flames (AMBHL) as a teammate of Tips draftee Matthew Paszkiewicz.
MIKE FRASER SAYS: “Just spoke to family, they’re ecstatic to be a part of the Silvertips – as a teammate of Paszkiewicz, they were a key part of their back end in the playoffs. There was a lot of game growth to him throughout the season. He’s right now an undersized guy and we think he’ll grow, but we’re not too worried about size – he already has good hockey sense, sees the ice well both with and without puck, makes a great first pass, and as the season went on he chipped in on offense well. Logan saw power play time and has a lot of game growth potential.”
POSITION: Left wing
DRAFTED: 10th round, 219th overall
OF NOTE: Racked up a lot of points on a wildly successful program – they went 36-0 during the regular season and won 44 of 46 games en route to the Bantam 1 championship: was fourth on the Winnipeg Warriors (WBAAA) with 67 points in 36 games … had two hat tricks and a four-goal game, in addition to three multi goal games in the playoffs … combining regular season and playoffs, had 40 goals in 46 games.
MIKE FRASER SAYS: “Came from a Winnipeg Warriors program that was extremely strong this year. As a key part of their offense, I almost wonder if he flew under radar. He’s similar to a lot of forwards we like – good down low, quick, fast, able to break away from guys. He’s got a second gear and makes key plays at front of net. We were happy he was still there.”
DRAFTED: 11th round, 241st overall
OF NOTE: Posted 18 points in 16 games, North Zone Kings (BCBAAL) … comes from same bantam program as Tips drafted and signed forward, Austin Roest (2019 draft class) … had three goals in three games at the Kamloops International Bantam Ice Hockey Tournament.
MIKE FRASER SAYS: “Alvin Backus (Silvertips director of player personnel) and Dylan Fran son (B.C. Scout) and other B.C. scouts have seen this kid play a lot. He’s a guy who stood out since the early going of season. He has a lot of skill, ability – and we were hoping he would still be there late. I think he’s going to surprise a lot of people because I’ve heard a lot of great things about him. I’m excited to see what he’ll bring in camp.”
POSITION: Left wing
DRAFTED: 12th round, 263rd overall
OF NOTE: Wyatt has been exposed to the NHL circle his whole life – his father, Patrik, was the first overall selection by the Atlanta Thrashers in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft and competed in 455 career NHL games with Atlanta and Dallas … his brother, James, just finished his first season as a forward with the Portland Winterhawks … as far as the NHL ancestry from a decorated program like the Detroit Little Caesars outfit, check out this alumni list: Mike Modano, Doug Weight, Bryan Smolinski, Kevin and Derian Hatcher, John Vanbiesbrouck, Brian Rafalski, Ryan Kesler, Zach Werenski, Vincent Trocheck, and more.
On official and available record, Wyatt had 7 assists in 12 games at the MAHA14 level … (MAHA14) … product as well of the Detroit Jr. Red Wings program.
MIKE FRASER SAYS: “Wyatt is a guy (Tips general manager) Garry Davidson knows well, and is a good winger with a straight line, ‘up and down’ approach who has offense to his game. Great genes with Patrik Stefan as his father – he’s a guy who we talked about taking in the U.S. Prospects Draft a few weeks ago and transferred him over to our WHL Draft list. The fact he was still there, we were happy.”
POSITION: Defense (right shot)
DRAFTED: 13th round, 285th overall
OF NOTE: Colorado native and the Tips finish line selection of the 2020 draft class … comes from the same program producing Tips left winger Brendan Lee and 2019 draft class signee Beau Courtney … suited up in 12 regular season games on the back end and chipped in with three points … buried a game winning goal on Feb. 14 against the Fox Motors 14U program.
MIKE FRASER SAYS: “Wurst is a lot like Hoyt Stanley, an ‘all-situations’ guy. He was on our list in U.S. Prospects Draft and was a no-brainer to put on our list in this draft. We like his pedigree, what he brings and we’re curious what he’ll bring in camp. I think he’ll be a guy useful in every situation – not just offense, but also late in a game when you’re up by a goal and trying to preserve the lead.”
More news coming soon at www.everettsilvertips.com.