Brandon Wheat Kings Select Picks at the 2013 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft

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May 2, 2013, Calgary, Alberta (ISN) – The 2013 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft was underway today and the Brandon Wheat Kings, with the fourth overall selection, opted for a power forward with some excellent bloodlines, in 6’1″ 170 lb center Nolan Patrick of the Winnipeg Hawks.

Son of former Brandon Wheat King Steve Patrick, Nolan led Division 1 of the Winnipeg AAA Bantam Hockey League with 75 points, despite playing only nineteen of the team’s 30 games this season.

Landing a player of Patrick’s calibre made Wheat Kings’ general manager Kelly McCrimmon a happy man this morning.

“Nolan is a tremendous player,” McCrimmon says. “He does posess a lot of room for development…but we think he’s going to continue to improve and be a great junior and certainly a successful pro.”

According to Hockey Prospects founder Tyler Neisz, the Wheat Kings have landed a player with outstanding upside.

“He has very high-end offensive skill for a big player and his skating is improving all the time,” says Neisz. “He has the best pro potential of any player in this draft according to many in the scouting world.”

Patrick becomes the highest drafted Wheat King since Brandon chose Edmonton’s Darren Van Oene second overall in 1993. Nolan’s father Steve played three years with the Wheat Kings – from 1978 to ’81. A former first round draft choice of the National Hockey League’s Buffalo Sabres, Patrick played six years in the NHL. In addition to the Sabres, he saw duty with both the New York Rangers and Quebec Nordiques.

In 250 career NHL games, Patrick scored 40 goals and 108 points. As a Wheat King, he had 179 points including 80 goals in 157 career games.

The Wheat Kings will be busy this morning as they have one more first round pick, three of the first 25 and five of the first 59 selections.

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Moments after announcing the selection of Winnipeg’s Nolan Patrick with the fourth overall selection, which represented their highest pick since 1993, the Wheat Kings returned to the podium and announced that they had acquired the sixth overall pick from the Lethbridge Hurricanes in exchange for the 17th overall choice and veteran netminder Corbin Boes.

With the pick, Brandon opted for highly touted blueliner Kale Clague from the Lloydminster Heat.

At 5’11”, 173 lbs., Clague set an Alberta scoring record in 2012-13 when he scored 77 points in 33 games, shattering the previous record of 65 set by current Toronto Maple Leafs’ captain Dion Phaneuf.

Brandon general manager Kelly McCrimmon could not have been happier with his first round moves that saw the Wheat Kings land what many believe will be a future all star blueliner.

“What was interesting at this year’s draft was how many guys at the top of the draft had the abilities to be a franchise player. With Kale, you get a tremendous offensive talent…he’s been a superstar for two years in bantam.”

Clague’s father Jason is a former goalie who was listed by Regina at age thirteen and spent five seasons with the organization.

“The maturity and the humility he has shown throughout this whole process, we’re very proud of him,” Kale’s father recently told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader Post. “As a parent, all you can hope for is your kid finds something they love to do and hopefully they’re good at it and enjoy it. That’s certainly the case with Kale.”

For his part, Clague is looking forward to the challenge of playing in the WHL.

“Ever since I found out about the league I always thought it was one of the best leagues if not the best for junior hockey,” Kale told the Leader Post. “My uncle played in the league…my dad played in the league. It was kind of a dream of mine to play there.”

How would he describe his game?

“I’m an offensive defenceman,” he recently told The Hockey News. “I like to rush the puck and score goals, but defence is always first.”

“Kale has the best complete set of tools of any defenceman in the draft,” says Hockey Prospects founder Tyler Neisz. “He has a very hard shot, skates very well and remains composed.”

A 20-year old native of Saskatoon, Boes has spent the past three seasons with the Wheat Kings and is coming off a season that saw him post a 13-23-2-3 record, a 3.76 goals against average and an .897 save percentage in 43 games.

During his WHL career in Brandon, the former Portland Winterhawks’ draft choice has appeared in 116 games, compiling a 3.37 goals against average, a .900 save percentage and two shutouts.

Brandon had acquired the 17th overall selection from the Saskatoon Blades in the Michael Ferland trade last January.

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The Brandon Wheat Kings used their second round pick (25th overall) to select 15-year old local product Tanner Kaspick.

Kaspick, who had 38 points in 42 games with the Brandon AAA Midget Wheat Kings this past season, entered the draft as the highest ranked western Manitoba product and became only the third Manitoban to be chosen.

A 5’11” 183 lb center, Kaspick joins Winnipeg’s Nolan Patrick and Lloydminster defenceman Kale Clague as Brandon’s top three picks in today’s draft.

Kaspick made the rare jump to the AAA Midget ranks as an underage player this past season and added seven points in 7 playoff contests.

“Playing midget, you play at a pretty high level of hockey and it’s a pretty high level of practicing and I think it played a big role in my improvement this year,” Kaspick told CKLQ’s Bruce Luebke earlier this week. “I think when scouts see it, they know that you’re playing against the older and bigger guys and I think they’ll take that into account, for sure.”

A member of the Winnipeg Hawks, the Wheat Kings took Patrick with the fourth overall selection while Clague was chosen sixth after Brandon traded veteran netminder Corbin Boes and the 17th overall pick to Lethbridge.

Patrick led the Manitoba Division 1 Bantam League this season with 33 goals and 75 points in only nineteen games, while Clague set a league record in Alberta this past season by scoring 35 goals and 77 points. The previous record had been held by current Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf.

The Wheat Kings next selection will come in the third round (47th overall). The draft will continue throughout the day.

Western Manitoba hockey fans can follow the draft online at wheatkings.com or by Facebook and Twitter.

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After choosing four players with the first 47 picks of Thursday’s Western Hockey League Bantam Draft, the Brandon Wheat Kings have announced a draft day deal has been completed with the Regina Pats.

In exchange for draft day considerations, the Wheat Kings sent their second 3rd round pick (60th overall) as well as second year forward Geordie Maguire to Regina.

Brandon had acquired the pick at January’s WHL Trade Deadline in the deal that saw Alessio Bertaggia go to the Spokane Chiefs.

In 64 games with the Wheat Kings in 2012-13, the Winnipeg born Maguire had four goals and 9 points.

Meanwhile the Wheat Kings used their other third round pick (47th overall) to select Brandon’s Ty Lewis. He becomes the second local product and third Manitoban to be chosen by the Wheat Kings today. This marks the first time in five years that Brandon has chosen two local products. Lewis, who missed a number of games this past winter due to injury, scored five goals and 15 points in just eight games with the Brandon AAA Bantams.

In round one, Brandon used the 4th overall selection to grab Winnipeg center Nolan Patrick and in the second (25th overall), the Wheat Kings chose Tanner Kaspick of the Brandon AAA Midget Wheat Kings.

Brandon’s other selection came in the first round (6th overall), following another draft day deal with Lethbridge. In exchange for netminder Corbin Boes and the 17th overall pick in the draft, the Wheat Kings opted for highly touted defenceman Kale Clague from the Lloydminster Heat.

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