Interview with Broncos Coach/GM Mark Lamb on Import Draft (Download)
The Swift Current Broncos added two potential players in the CHL Import Draft this week. They picked St. Louis Blues second round NHL draft selection Maxim Letunov in the first round and big Swedish winger Andreas Schumacher in the second round. Despite the rumours you hear that doesn’t mean Julius Honka isn’t coming back. Teams are allowed to make two import picks when their returning import is a first round draft pick or going into their overage year. This allows the Broncos to maybe take a bit of a flier on a guy like Letunov who has committed to play in the USHL again this year and at Boston University the year after… while still having the opportunity to add a player like Schumacher in the second round if Letunov doesn’t change his mind and make the jump to the CHL.
Want the scoop on Letunov? Click here for a breakdown of his scouting reports. He’s a lanky forward will a ton of skill. Supposedly has great hands, vision and an excellent shot. Not surprisingly he needs to work on his strength and his two-way game.
So why take a guy who is committed to the NCAA? The Broncos haven’t exaclty had a rep of luring those types of players away. I think in this case it’s a situation where Mark Lamb has heard some inside information that Letunov is at least considering making the jump and had two picks so he could take the risk on him. Letunov played midget hockey in Dallas and certainly Lamb still has lots of contacts there who could give him some insight into this young man. That may have opened the door. He went higher in the draft than was expected and perhaps that will make him and his representation realize that he’s closer to being a pro than he thought he would. The WHL is a quicker path to the NHL with a more NHL like schedule and style of play. That could be attractive for this skilled Russian as he looks to prepare his game for one of the elite franchises in the NHL now.
Whether Letunov comes to camp or he doesn’t he could face some competition for a spot from big winger Andreas Schumacher. He had 28 points in 32 games of U18 hockey in Sweden last season. Schumacher is listed at 6’2 and 187lbs so he certainly has some size to him and a history for his family in North America. His brother Michael put up close to a point per game in two seasons with the Soo Greyounds of the Ontario Hockey League before turning pro. He was also a draft pick of the LA Kings.
There frankly isn’t nearly as much information about Schumacher as there is about Letunov. That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be a big impact player here. How much did we know about Eetu Laurikainen before he showed up?
Either way Lamb made it clear he sees one hole remaining in their top six forwards and would be happy if he could fill it with an import. There’s also a chance someone from the other lines could slide up or maybe even a rookie? If no one else fills the gap there is always the option of making a trade later on. For now it looks like the Broncos are happy to stand pat and see where things go at training camp. Don’t expect much more movement after they make their coaching announcement this week.