Draft Week Preview
Lethbridge, AB – The Lethbridge Hurricanes Hockey Club, following a first-round exit to the hands of the Moose Jaw Warriors last month in the WHL Playoffs, are set for a very critical week as the team prepares for the 2023 US Priority Draft on Wednesday followed by the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft on Thursday.
Draft day – or draft week – is always an important time for hockey clubs to add to their future while equally an important day for the players selected in the drafts. The Hurricanes will hold the 14th overall selection in both drafts this week. The ‘Canes will pick 14th and 36th in the US Draft while holding three picks – 14, 23 and 36 – in the top-40 of the WHL Draft.
In 2022, the Hurricanes selected goaltender Harrison Boettiger (1/4) and defenceman Clarke Nehmens (2/41) in the US Draft. Lethbridge selected defenceman Will Sharpe with the 11th overall pick while adding forward Kash Andresen (2/33), goaltender Koen Cleaver (3/48) and defenceman Carsen Adair (3/55) in the top-60 selections.
The 2023 US Priority Draft will be the fourth edition of the US Draft which began in 2020 while the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft will be the 34th year of the draft which held it’s first draft in 1990. This year it will mark the third consecutive draft that the Hurricanes will select three-or-more players in the top-55 picks while it will be the eighth time in team history that the ‘Canes will select three-or-more times in the top two rounds of the draft – the last time was in 2021 when Lethbridge selected Miguel Marques (1/10), Tristen Doyle (1/17) and Trae Wilke (2/29).
It will also mark the first time in franchise history that the Hurricanes will select 14th overall, a selection that has seen some high-end elite talent taken in the history of the draft, including recently. In the 2021 draft, the Prince Albert Raiders picked 2022-2023 WHL Rookie of the Year Ryder Ritchie 14th overall while the Winnipeg ICE selected projected top-10 NHL Draft pick Zach Benson at 14th overall.
Other notable 14th overall selections in WHL Draft history include:
Mathew Ward – Swift Current Broncos (2019)
Jaret Anderson-Dolan – Spokane Chiefs (2014)
Brayden Point – Moose Jaw Warriors (2011)
Hunter Shinkaruk – Medicine Hat Tigers (2009)
Kyle Brodziak – Moose Jaw Warriors (1999)
Josh Holden – Regina Pats (1993)
Hurricanes Head Scout Rob MacLachlan – who enters his eighth draft with the ‘Canes – was the head scout of the Warriors when they selected Brayden Point in 2011 with the 14th overall pick. The Hurricanes also hold the first pick in the second-round of this year’s draft, which was acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings. It will be the fourth time in team history that the ‘Canes will pick with the 23rd pick; the previous three times the Hurricanes chose 23rd overall they took Ethan King (2014), Jason Hegberg (1994) and Jeff Wagner (1993). Other notable players taken at 23 include:
Hunter Mayo – Red Deer Rebels (2019)
Josh Thrower – Calgary Hitmen (2011)
Madison Bowey – Kelowna Rockets (2010)
Graham Hood – Regina Pats (2007)
Eric Gryba – Portland Winterhawks (2003)
The other second-round draft pick that the Hurricanes hold will be their own pick at 36th overall, also marking the first time the team has selected in that spot. The ‘Canes enter the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft with a total of 16 selections, including:
1st round – 14th overall
2nd round – 23rd overall (from EDM)
2nd round – 36th overall
4th round – 74th overall (from VAN)
4th round – 88th overall (from WPG)
5th round – 102nd overall
6th round – 116th overall (from SC)
7th round – 146th overall
8th round – 168th overall
9th round – 190th overall
10th round – 212th overall
11th round – 234th overall
12th round – 256th overall
13th round – 278th overall
14th round – 300th overall
15th round – 322nd overall
Acquired 2023 draft picks:
2nd round – 23rd overall (acquired from Edmonton in Cole Miller trade – Nov. 2/21)
4th round – 74th overall (acquired from Vancouver in Alex Cotton trade – Nov. 5/21)
4th round – 88th overall (acquired from Winnipeg in Chase Wheatcroft trade – Jan. 17/22)
6th round – 116th overall (acquired from Swift Current in Kayden Sadhra-Kang trade – Oct. 8/21)
Hurricanes 2023 draft picks previously traded:
3rd round – 58th overall (traded to Vancouver in Cole Shepard trade – Sept. 19/22)
4th round – 80th overall (traded to Portland in Kade Nolan trade – Nov. 8/21)
6th round – 124th overall (traded to Prince Albert in Tyson Laventure trade – Dec. 31/21)
The WHL Prospects Draft includes players eligible from Western Canada and the United States. The 2008-born players eligible include prospects who reside in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Yukon, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
The 2023 US Priority Draft will take place beginning at 10:00am on Wednesday, May 10th while the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft will commence at 10:00am on Thursday, May 11th with a live WHL Draft Show for the opening round. You can follow the two drafts online at www.whl.ca/draft.