The Spokane Chiefs will make the first selection when the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft opens in Calgary on May 7. The Saskatoon Blades won the draft lottery on Wednesday, but the Chiefs hold that pick as part of a January 2013 deal that had F Collin Valcourt join the Blades. . . . This will be the second time in franchise history that the Chiefs have held the first selection.
They took D Jared Cowen first overall in 2006. . . . Interestingly, the Blades also won the draft lottery a year ago, but had traded the first pick to the Brandon Wheat Kings, who used it to select F Stelio Mattheos of Winnipeg. . . . Still, the Blades do hold two first-round selections in the 2015 draft. The Blades will pick 12th and 18th, the former having been acquired from the Kamloops Blazers and the latter from the Everett Silvertips. The 12th pick originally belonged to the Kootenay Ice, but went to Kamloops as part of the deal in which F Tim Bozon went to the Ice. The Blades then used it in acquiring F Matt Revel from the Blades. The Everett pick went to Saskatoon in the deal for F Nikita Scherbak.
The first round:
1. Spokane (from Saskatoon); 2. Lethbridge; 3. Vancouver; 4. Moose Jaw (from Kamloops); 5. Prince Albert; 6. Moose Jaw; 7. Tri-City; 8. Prince George; 9. Spokane; 10. Swift Current; 11. Edmonton;
12. Saskatoon (from Kootenay); 13. Victoria; 14. Regina; 15. Seattle; 16. Red Deer; 17. Medicine Hat; 18. Saskatoon (from Everett); 19. Calgary; 20. Prince Albert (from Kelowna); 21. Brandon.
The Portland Winterhawks would have selected 17th, but forfeited that pick as part of the discipline meted out for those unpardonable sins committed in days of yore.
The second and all other rounds will follow the inverse order of the final regular-season standings:
1. Saskatoon; 2. Lethbridge; 3. Vancouver; 4. Kamloops; 5. Tri-City; 6. Prince Albert; 7. Prince George; 8. Moose Jaw; 9. 9. Spokane; 10. Swift Current; 11. Edmonton;
12. Kootenay; 13. Victoria; 14. Regina; 15. Seattle; 16. Red Deer; 17. Portland; 18, Medicine Hat; 19. Everett; 20. Calgary; 21. Kelowna; 22. Brandon. (The order here doesn’t include trades, of course. For more on that, visit the blog Small Thoughts at Large where Alan Caldwell has a spreadsheet that tracks all WHL trades that include bantam draft picks.)
From Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix: “Lloydminster’s Ty Smith, who captained the Delta Hockey Academy bantam prep team, is considered a front-runner to be selected No. 1 this year.
“The 5-foot-10, 155-pound defenceman had nine goals and 28 points in 16 games.”
Nugent-Bowman has more on the Blades and the draft right here.