Aleksi Heponiemi & Glenn Gawdin (photo by Darwin Knelsen for scbroncos.com)
Any player who has played high level hockey has likely at some point imagined hearing their name called at the NHL Draft.
That could become a reality for members of the Swift Current Broncos this weekeend.
Three players on their current roster are ranked by NHL Central Scouting ahead of the draft and at least a couple others could also find themselves in the picture.
WHL Rookie of the Year Aleksi Heponiemi comes in at 26th among North American Skaters and is the only Bronco projected to be close to first round pick. He is ranked 50th by TSN’s Bob McKenzie, 52nd by The Hockey News and 58th by SportsNet.
Defenceman Artyom Minulin sits 58th among North American skaters on the NHL Central Scouting rankigns. He’s 68th on The Hockeey News list and 70th on the SportsNet list.
50-goal scorer abd WHL Sportsmanship Award winner Tyler Steenberge is ranked 70th by NHL Central Scouting in his second draft. The skilled forward was passed over in his first year of eligibility, but improved his goal totals from 20 in 2015-16 to a league leading 51 in 2016-17.
Other Broncos that could get the nod this weekend include captain Glenn Gawdin who re-enters the draft after being picked by St. Louis in 2015. The Blues didn’t sign Gawdin to a contract by June 1st and he is now eligible for the draft again.
Defenceman Sahvan Khaira has also had some draft buzz after a very strong second half and playoff in his 18-year-old season. His brother Jujhar Khaira plays for Edmonton in the NHL.
Max Lajoie was the lone Bronco drafted in 2016, but Colby Sissons and Lane Pederson both signed with NHL teams as undrafted free agents in the fall.
Swift Current had Julius Honka picked in the first round in 2014 and Jake DeBrusk in 2015.
The first round of the NHL Draft is lated for tonight in Chicago. The teams then pick rounds 2-7 on Saturday.
Broncos Director of Hockey Operations Jamie Porter:
The Swift Current Broncos took care of business quickly with first round pick Ben King. The Vernon, BC product has signed his WHL standard player’s agreement and is set for life as a Bronco. I had the chance to chat with Jamie Porter about that and what to expect from King. It sounds like things are progressing nicely with the other players and families from the draft. Getting King officially on board is a great start.
What an honour for the Elmwood Golf and Country Club! First a note that they are a sponsor of this blog and I always appreciate them making hosting the audio and all that kind of stuff possible with their support.
They are big Broncos fans over there too.
One thing Elmwood does better than almost any other place in Canada is run an active and fun junior program. I know it because my kids are in it. They’ve gone from never swinging a golf club a month ago to asking about it all the time. They’ve even now been given the honour as Future Links Facility of the Year. So what has caused this success? I asked Jeff Chambers from Elmwood about the history of their program, why it is so strong now and how to keep it growing.
Interview with Jeff Chambers:
The season is well underway at Elmwood and it’s exciting how close their renovations are to complete. This is already a great course but is going to be top notch. I can’t wait for the MNP Broncos Alumni Golf Tournament at Elmwood again this year on July 29th.
Draft day in the WHL saw the Broncos select eight players including two in the first round. Here is a collection of links and audio from the draft today. We are hoping to talk to more of the players in the coming days and weeks to give you an introduction to the future of the team.
After countless days and hours on the road the Swift Current Broncos scouting team will come together this week hoping to secure another big part of the organization’s future. Fo the second straight season the Broncos have two picks in the first round of the WHL Bantam Draft. That gives them a big opportunity to set the table for a very promising future in an organization that took a significant step forward on the ice this season. What does this year’s draft look like? How important will it be to nail the first two picks with no selections in the 2nd, 4th or 5th rounds? I put those questions to Jamie Porter today.
Interview with Director of Hockey Operations Jamie Porter:
Picking in the middle of the draft with both selections you aren’t likely to find another prospect with the immediate pedigree of a Logan Barlage in that spot. Of course the Broncos got players like Tyler Steenbergen and Dillon Heatherington in the middle of the first round so you can still get elite talent there.
Porter is one of the longest serving head scouts in the WHL and his been down this road a number of times. It will be interesting to see if a new style of play under Manny Viveiros and his influence in the process will at all alter the type of player the Broncos target going forward. The draft is set for Thursday in Calgary and we will do our best to have it covered for you well on the radio and at Swift Current Online.
It was an awesome season for the Swift Current Broncos with as much excitement around this hockey team as I’ve seen in the last seven years. As the season developed you could tell the fanbase was growing fonder and fonder of the man guiding the ship. New Coach/Director of Player Personnel Manny Viveiros implement a faster, puck possession style and brought the Broncos to within a game of the Eastern Conference Final in the process. So how did he feel about his first year behind the bench in Swift Current? Here is our chat from last week…
Interview with Manny Viveiros:
I certainly enjoyed watching a Manny Viveiros coached team this year and he was first class to deal with all year. I can tell just talking to fans that people are confident and excited with him and the rest of the hockey operations team the Broncos have in place. Hopefully this year is just the start of something.
The work never stops in the WHL. Next up? Thursday’s WHL Bantam Draft and the Broncos have two more first round picks. It’s another opportunity to shape the future of this franchise. We’ll talk more about that here and at Swift Current Online before and on Thursday itself.