***PLEASE NOTE, I FEEL NEGRIN WILL GO 1st OVERALL AND KERR 7th. I do believe there are four franchise type players in Negrin, Bowman, Leffler and goaltender Sexsmith. 2004 Bantam Draft Preview/Mock Draft 1. Prince George Cougars Ryan Kerr (D) 6’1 165 BCWC Winterhawks The Cougars opt to go with Ryan Kerr with the WHL’s first overall pick. In kerr, the Cougars get a cornerstone, franchise type defenseman who plays a similar style to former Cougar and now Edmonton Oiler defenseman Eric Brewer. Kerr can move the puck well and play rough if called upon to do so. The Cougars think with their great depth at forward that a franchise defenseman is needed. Along with forwards Drazenovic, Swystun and the other youngsters the Cougars possess, they think Kerr will give them the defenseman to complete the puzzle here. They do consider Sexsmith but feel Pogge is their man in the next couple seasons to solidify the goaltending. 2. Saskatoon Blades Brett Leffler (F) 6’0 170 Naicom Vikings The Blades ponder this pick for quite a while going back and forth between top forwards Brett Leffler of Naicom and Drayson Bowman of the North Shore Winter Club in BC. In the end the Blades decide to stay closer to home and select Leffler with the #2 overall pick. Leffler will give the Blades a boost in the offensive end of the rink and bring his European style of play to excite a rather calm Sask. Place crowd. Leffler finished 2nd in the top Bantam hockey league in Saskatchewan tallying a staggering 55 goals in a mere 20 games while added 40 assists. The Blades hope Leffler will fit in with Setoguchi, Barnes, Rabbit, McRae, VanLare and Leckovic along with last seasons 14th overall pick Justin McRae to form a lethal scoring attack. The Blades simply choose to go with the consensus top talent here. 3. Seattle Thunderbirds Tyson Sexsmith (G) 5’10 160 UFA Bisons(Midget AAA) The Birds being loaded with top end offensive talent with the likes of Chris Durand, Yashar Farmanara and young up and coming defenseman Scott Jackson and Bretton Stamler. In addition they have Bud Holloway and Cam Dion ready to crack the lineup next year decide to go with franchise goaltender Tyson Sexsmith. Tyson played this past season in the Alberta Midget AAA league this year as a 14 year old which is a very rare accomplishment. Tyson not only played but played extremely well by leading the league in GAA with a 2.37 GAA and also led in Wins(17) and Save percentage(.920) and even Minutes played. There is no doubt Sexsmith could go #1 or #2 in this draft and if that is the case, the Birds will likely go with Ryan kerr at this spot. 4. Lethbridge Hurricanes Drayson Bowman (F) 5’10 147 NSWC Winterhawks The Hurricanes get the player they want here at #4. Drayson Bowman in the Canes mind is the top offensive talent in the draft and decide they simply cannot pass up on this player. With the likes of Kenny Petkau, Michael Kaye on forward and ‘88’s Ricky Cey and Ben Wright, the Canes feel this gives them an extremely deep forward group to go along with Ben Wright on defense. Bowman has won MVP honors at a tournament this year in which he accumulated 19 goals in only 5 games. In another tournament the slick Bowman scored 10-2-12 and finished second only to 13 year old ’90 eligible Rogen. Currently at the KIBHT, Drayson has recorded 14-7-21 in only 5 games. Simply put, AN OFFENSIVE DYNAMO. 5. Regina Pats Dwight King (F) 6’1 170 Meadow Lake The Pats are really forming a nice young nucleus of players and young future stars. The Pats with Tanner Stockwell, a young bruising type defenseman and perhaps the steal of last seasons draft Logan Pyett who will be one of the WHL’s best PP defenseman in a few years decide to go with the top power forward in the draft with Dwight King. In King, the Pats get a player who scored 49-51-100 points in perhaps Saskatchewan’s top midget league this past season. Not only did King score but he also showed the power forward rough side he has with 84 Pims. The Pats are very excited about a future power play which could include: Pyett, Stockwell, Bernhardt, McDonald and King. 6. Brandon Wheatkings Colton Sceviour (F) 5’10 165 Red Deer Optomist Chiefs The Wheaties ponder this pick for a little while and haggle between taking Sceviour or John Negrin from BCWC. The decision is made that with Mike Cann being selected in the 1st round of last seasons draft that they decide to take the top scorer available at this spot. Colton has the ability to be perhaps the top scorer to come out of this draft as his 47-62-109 points would suggest. Colton lead a very good AMBHL by a whopping 13 points. He is a slick playmaker with a very accurate shot and is truly the top offensive talent for his age group in all of Alberta. The Wheatkings hope Sceviour can form with Burki and Cann to give Brandon a lethal power play in future years. 7. Kootaney Ice John Negrin (D) 6’0 169 NSWC Winterhawks The Ice select the 3rd member of the dominate powerhouse BCWC in the first 7 picks of the draft! Negrin is a 6’0 169 defenseman who can play a nice two-way game and isn’t afraid to rough it up either. Negrin won top defensive honors at the John Reid tournament in St.Albert and was named to the first all-star team ahead of teammate Ryan Kerr. The Ice feel they are stacked with very good offensive talent with the likes of Ben Maxwell, Bailey and Taylor and decide they need a stud defenseman and Negrin certainly fits the bill. Kootaney is pleasantly surprised to see Negrin at #7 and don’t hesitate one bit here. 8. Spokane Chiefs Justin Palazzo (D) 6’4 190 Kamloops Jardine Blazers The Chiefs are a little disappointed to see Negrin picked at #7 but decide to pick a defenseman regardless. Palazzo will develop into the bruising type defenseman they need in the future. At 6’4 190 pounds already Palazzo has something you can’t teach…SIZE! Palazzo had a successful St. Albert tournament in which he recorded 2-6-8 to go with 22 Pims. The Chiefs, already loaded with offensive future stars Hobson, Reich feel they need a bruising type defenseman in the mold of Dion Phaneuf. Spokane will be very happy with this selection down the road. 9. Tri City Americans Brandon Sutter (F) 6’1 160 Red Deer Optomist Chiefs With franchise players Jonathan Toews at forward, Beach at Defense coming in next year and ’87 born Carey Price solidifying the goaltending chores for years…. The Ams decide to go with feisty Sutter boy Brandon Sutter. Sutter is a 6’1 150 pound forward who is gritty and also has a scoring touch as well with 25-33-58 this season for the Red Deer Optimist Chiefs of the AMBHL. This will give the Ams a little bit of everything and should be the makings of a solid all around team in the future. If he’s anything like his Dad and uncles, the fans and franchise will not be disappointed to be sure! Picking Sutter this high could turn out to be a gamble with more talented player available but Tory has a hunch and selects the gritty Sutter boy. 10. Portland Winterhawks Travis Dunstall (F) 5’10 160 Fort Sask Rangers The Portland Winterhawks decide to go with pure sniper Travis Dunstall here. In Dunstall, the Hawks get a speedy player with a nice accurate shot. This past season Travis recorded a staggering 58 goals in only 35 games played leading all of the Alberta AAA Bantam league scorers in that department. Dunstall also added 4-2-6 in 4 games in the playoffs, although his team was eliminated in round 1. The Winterhawks hope that Travis can form with last season’s first round Sasha Golin to form a nice 1-2 punch in the future. 11. Kamloops Blazers Colton Gillies (F) 6’4 195 Semiahmoo Colton could go anywhere in the first round in this season’s draft. Some scouts like him early in the first round and some in the second round. The Blazers feel good about taking the big forward here though and feel he is the real deal. Colton is a big forward who has a lot of toughness however the verdict is still out on just how good he will be in the future. Whoever lands Colton will get a good player who could become a great player down the road. The Blazers simply take the top player available here at #11. 12. Swift Current Broncos Colton Grant (F) 5’10 165 Airdrie Xtreme The Broncos not being used to selecting so highly are very happy to see Grant at this spot. Colton is a pure sniper and a smooth skater. He recorded a South Division leading 49 goals and finished 2nd in points behind Sceviour in the AMBHL. During the playoffs, Colton scored 6-3-9 in just 7 games. Swift Current feels that with Ryan Sawka and Colton that they will form a Williams/Redenbach type line in the future. Grant is a little on the small side but his hard working style of play is a welcomed asset and a big decision in the selection here. 13. Everett Silvertips Keith Aulie (D) 6’5 185 Weyburn Jr. Redwings The Tips consider taking American born defenseman Cade Fairchild here but don’t want to have another American who may take the college route. Last season the Tips chose Peter Mueller in the 2nd round and choose to play it safe here with Keith Aulie. Aulie will give the Tips a big, strong defenseman who will either be a franchise type defenseman or a complete bust. However coach Constantine believes in Aulie and the Tips decide to take him at this spot. With Hamill, Mueller and Ellington the Tips feel they need an anchor defenseman and Aulie is their man here. 14. Vancouver Giants Ryan Holfeld (G) 5’9 140 Naicom Vikings Ryan becomes the 2nd franchise type goaltender selected in the first round. Ryan posted an outstanding 11-1-1 record and a 1.92 GAA this year with the Naicom Vikings of the Centre 4-hockey league in Saskatchewan. Ryan also recorded 4 shutouts as well. In addition, was named top goaltender at a tournament, which featured some of the top talent in the bantam draft this season. The Giants consider taking a defenseman at this spot but feel they simply can’t pass on the 2nd best goaltender in the draft this season. If either Justin Palazzo or Keith Aulie are available here they may consider one of them at this spot though. 15. Calgary Hitmen Lindsay Nielsen (F) 6’0 175 South Side Athletic Club The Hitmen ponder taking one of the Airdrie Extreme star players but in the end go with the AMBHL north scoring leader Lindsay Nielsen from the Edmonton South Side Athletic Club. Lindsay is a tremendous passer and a very non-selfish player. He has decent size at 6’0 175 and should continue to grow. The Hitmen are very excited to have Keegan Dansereau playing with Lindsay to form a one-two punch which should be feared for years to come. This past season he tied for the Northern league scoring race with Zach Dailey with 93 points in 39 games. He then carried his scoring rampage into the playoffs recording 11-12-23 in only 10 games. Solid pick who won’t disappoint. 16. Red Deer Rebels Matthew Wear (F) 5’11 170 South Side Athletic Club The Rebels continue to load up on young talented forwards after thinking of taking local product defenseman Paul-Edward Postma. However in Wear the Rebels get a sniper who fired in 52 goals in 34 games this past season in the AMBHL. However in the playoffs Wear showed that he can pass the puck too by going 5-11-16 in 10 games. Wear is a gifted scorer who the Rebs can see playing along side other pure scorers Jordan Knackstedt and Matthew Cline in years to come. 17. Prince Albert Raiders Jesse Craige (D) 5’10 165 South Side Athletic Club Craige joins teammates Nielsen and Wear as the 3rd member of the SSAC to be selected in the first round. In Craige, the Raiders feel they have found their future PP QB here and not many would disagree either. Craige has shown an ability to really rack up the points this season with 8-42-50 leading all Alberta defenseman in scoring. In the playoffs he added another 9 points in 10 games as well. The Raiders feel with last years 1st rounder Ryan Depape and fellow ’88 Brent Ottman that they are forming a nice core in which to build around. 18. Moose Jaw Warriors Daniel Nycholat (D) 6’2 165 Calgary Bronks The Warriors with their abundance of highly skilled forwards amongst its ‘88’s decide to pick standout defenseman Daniel Nycholat. In Nycholat the Warriors get a defenseman who can play all styles. The Warriors feel they need someone who they can rely upon to anchor their defense down the road and Daniel certainly will not disappoint here. He isn’t the best defenseman in the draft at this point but he does have very good size and certainly has great blood lines and a good complete package as well. 19. Medicine Hat Tigers Dion Knelsen (F) 5’9 155 Red Deer Optomist Chiefs Medicine Hat who has a near empty cupboard when it comes to ’87 and ’88 talent simply take the top offensive player available in Dion Knelsen. Knelsen is a small, speedy player with great vision and looks to pass before he shoots most of the team and is considered a great team player. He finished 3rd in league scoring and the Tigers hope he can develop into a top notch player at the WHL level who they can start to build their lacking prospects list around. In addition, Dion also had a fantastic playoff in leading his team to the league championship scoring 6-13-19. 20. Kelowna Rockets Kyle Turris (F) 5’8 145 NSWC Winterhawks With perhaps the surprise pick of the 1st round the Rockets take skill forward Kyle Turris. There is no doubt that Turris can score but the question is will he grow? Turris showed extremely well at the KIBHT leading the tournament in scoring with 9-16-25 playing against some of the better clubs in North America. Highly touted Drayson Bowman should give a lot of credit to Kyle in terms of his high selection as well. If Turris can grow to 6’0 or so he will be someone other teams in the first round kick themselves for missing out on to be sure!