The Seattle Thunderbirds made 13 selections in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft today.
The T-Birds also traded goalie Roddy Ross during the Draft to the Regina Pats for three draft picks, including a second round pick in today’s Draft.
The T-Birds selected center Sam Oremba in the first round with the seventh overall pick.
Oremba, from Regina, Saskatchewan, played for the Regina Monarchs Bantam AA team last year and had 75 goals and 58 assists for 133 points in 31 games.
“Sam’s skating, playmaking, and scoring abilities are elite”, said T-Birds Director of Player Personnel Cal Filson. “Sam is most dangerous off the rush. He can fire the puck, blow by the defenseman or look for a teammate.”
In the second round with the 29th overall pick the team selected right wing Brayden Dube from Roblin, Manitoba.
Last season Dube played for the Parkland Rangers Bantam 1AAA team and had 74 goals and 56 assists for 130 points in 36 games.
“Brayden is a perfect combination of speed, skill, grit, and determination,” said Filson. “He will shoot, deke, drive the net for rebounds and do whatever it takes to score.”
After the selection of Dube the T-Birds made a trade to acquire the Regina Pats second round pick in the draft, 43rd overall, a fourth round pick in 2022, and a conditional second round pick in 2024 for goalie Roddy Ross and an eighth round pick in 2020.
With the second round pick acquired from Regina the T-Birds selected goalie Scott Ratzlaff from the Lloydminster Bobcats BAAA team.
Last year Ratzlaff had nine wins and five losses with two shutouts, a goals against average of .899 and a save percentage of 2.41.
“Scott is a very good technical goalie,” said Filson. “He battles hard, he has great lateral movement, great rebound control and he gobbles up rebounds.”
In the third round the T-Birds selected defenseman Sawyer Mynio with the 63rd overall selection.
Mynio, from Kamloops, British Columbia, played for the Yale Hockey Academy Bantam Prep team last year and had four goals and 19 assists for 23 points in 23 games.
“Sawyer is a mobile puck moving defenseman,” said Filson. “He makes a good first pass and keeps things simple.”
The T-Birds selected right wing Karson Blanchette in the fourth round with the 69th overall selection.
Blanchette, from Unity, Saskatchewan, played for the West Central Wheat Kings Bantam AA team last season and had 20 goals and 28 assists for 48 points.
“Karson is good sized, honest player that plays the game fast and hard,” said Filson.
The T-Birds had two fifth round picks and with first one, 95th overall, took defenseman Ethan Mittelsteadt from the Victoria Admirals Bantam team.
“Ethan is a nice skating defenseman that moves the puck efficiently from the blue line. He’s gritty, feisty, and hard to play against,” said Filson.
With the second fifth round pick, 99th overall, the T-Birds selected right wing Reeve Sukut from the Winnipeg Warriors Bantam AAA team.
Last season Sukut had 40 goals and 35 assists for 75 points in 35 games.
“Reeve can really skate and really shoot the puck. He was voted hardest working player on his team this year,” said Filson.
In the sixth round with the 117th overall selection the T-Birds selected defenseman Niko Tsakumis from Richmond, British Columbia.
Tsakumis played for the Delta Hockey Academy Bantam Prep Green team last season and had eight goals and 24 assists for 32 points in 29 games.
“Niko is a smart, solid, two-way defenseman. He makes a good first pass, defends well and can score,” said Filson.
The T-Birds selected forward Coster Dunn from the Saints Pro Hockey Academy U14 team in the seventh round with the 139th overall selection.
Dunn, from Spruce Grove, Alberta, appeared in 28 games for the Saints last year and had 23 goals and 34 assists for 57 points.
“Coster is a very skilled player that can put the puck in the net,” said Filson.
In the ninth round with the 183rd overall selection the T-Birds took right wing Cade Meiklejohn from Leduc, Alberta.
Last season Meiklejohn has 54 goals and 31 assists for 85 points in 27 games for the Saints Pro Hockey Academy U14 team.
“Cade is a big, strong forward that puts up points and plays a good 200-foot game,” said Filson.
The T-Birds selected left wing Ethan Kronewitt in the 10th round with the 205th overall selection.
Last season Kronewitt, who is from Spruce Grove, Alberta, played for the Saints Pro Hockey Academy U14 team and had 13 goals and 44 assists in 57 games.
“Ethan is skilled, has very good work ethic, and once he gets a little bit stronger, he could have some real upside,” said Filson.
In the 11th round the T-Birds selected defenseman Daymiene Peel from the Saints Pro Hockey Academy U14 team.
Peel, who is from Spruce Grove, Alberta, played in 28 games last season and had two goals and 14 assists for 16 points with 24 penalty minutes.
“Daymiene is a big, physical, stay at home defenseman with lots of upside,” said Filson.
The T-Birds selected goalie Luke Roberts from the St. Albert Sabres Bantam AAA team in the 12th round.
Last season Roberts, who is from St. Albert, Alberta, had 12 wins and 3 losses with one shutout and a .912 save percentage and 2.43 goals against average.
“Luke is very quick, smart and good positional goalie that moves very well,” said Filson.
Overall the T-Birds selected seven forwards, four defenseman and two goalies.
Former T-Birds selected in the Bantam Draft that played at least one game in the NHL during the 2019-20 season include: Mathew Barzal, Ethan Bear, Keegan Kolesar, Shea Theodore, and Calvin Pickard.
The WHL drafts bantam players from Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Players from non-North American countries are allowed to be added to rosters via the CHL Import Draft held in June.
Any player that signs a WHL Standard Player Agreement is guaranteed a WHL Scholarship for every year he plays in the WHL. A player is able to attend any career enhancing institution of his choice, including universities, colleges, technical institutes, trade schools, or any other institution which will help the player achieve his academic and career goals. For each season played in the WHL, a player receives a one year post-secondary scholarship, which includes: Tuition, Compulsory Fees and Required Textbooks.
The WHL provides the top young hockey talent in western Canada and the United States with the opportunity to develop their skills on the ice at the highest possible level, without compromising their academic goals. The WHL is committed to recognizing academic excellence.