News broke earlier this week that three Broncos made the final NHL Central Scouting rankings for this year’s draft. Reece Scarlett and Adam Lowry have been mainstays on that list and we’ve discussed it with them many times. This week was the first time that import defenceman Richard Nedomlel found himself ranked. Golden West Radio’s Ken Audette caught up with Nedomlel, while I was able to chat with Broncos Assistant Coach Darren Evjen.
Nedomlel on being ranked
Evjen on the Central Scouting rankings
I also decided to check out Game 3 of the Medicine Hat/Red Deer series on Tuesday. While there I had a quick chat with Shaunavon native Kale Kessy of the Tigers. He was ranked 101rst by Central Scouting.
Kessy on Game 3 and ranking
Game 3 of that series was a heck of a hockey game. Medicine Hat is really playing playoff style hockey right now. You can tell it’s frustrating the top guns for Red Deer. That win for the Rebels in Game 4 could be the spark they need to get back into things. I wouldn’t bet on it though. They need an outburst of goals in Game 5 to get their confidence back.
KOOTENAY DULLS BLADES
It has absolutely been a wild second round in the Eastern Conference. I’ve maintained that I felt any team in the top 5 could beat any other team in the top 5. That being said, there is no way I would ever have predicted such a dominant victory by the Ice. A sweep over the top ranked Blades? I’d have never bet on that in a million years. Huge credit to Kootenay for getting the job done against maybe the deepest team in the league.
What happened to Saskatoon? It’s hard to say. The Ice have a terrific top 4 on the back end and a forward group that plays you really tight at both ends of the ice. It seems like the Blades top guys weren’t able to fight through it. The towering Nathan Lieuwen was also a huge factor for the Ice. I always felt that Saskatoon might have been prone to lose a goaltending duel. I just didn’t think it would happen so quickly.
Does this mean the Eakin vs. Schenn trade debate is settled and that Eakin was the better pick up? It’s easy to say yes based on who won and who lost. However, it would be hard to call either guy the deciding factor in the series. The bottom line appears to be that the top guys got it done for Kootenay and Saskatoon’s didn’t.
Does that mean the Schenn trade was a bad move? I don’t think so. If you have a chance to win a Memorial Cup I totally understand the desire to go for it. The Blades have a lot of good young pieces on their roster who could carry the team for the next few years. Down the road they absolutely could feel the pain of the missing top picks. It’ll be up to Saskatoon’s scouts to make up for that.
For now the Blades remain the Vancouver Canucks of the WHL. Some great teams with a lot of potential… but no rings.
I imagine that will only light an even bigger fire under them. I’m sure they will tough as ever next year, but this loss has really got to sting.
As for Eakin, he isn’t ripping the league up in terms of goals and points. He’s producing at a solid near point per game level. That in and of itself is a strong contribution. Beyond that we know how many little things he does to make a difference in a hockey game and give his teammates more room to operate. I’m sure most Broncos fans are happy to see him have this success in the playoffs and wouldn’t mind seeing Cody and the Ice hoisting the Ed Chynoweth Cup.
If Medicine Hat does get through it should make for a terrific conference final. I know I’ll be making the quick drive to the Hat to check out a couple of games if that’s the case.
I hope you’ve been following us on the radio, Facebook and on Swift Current Online for your flood watch updates. Here are some sports links for stories we’ve had over the last few days.
- Locals and former Broncos lead Sharks into playoffs
- Canada U18 team wraps up exhibition play with a win
- Baseball clinic this weekend
- La Ronge gets some local help in winning the SJHL
Check Swift Current Online every day for the latest in local sports. I’ll have an interview with Justin Dowling up here either later today or tomorrow.
Have a good one tonight.