May 22nd, 2024

Hurricanes land some top-end talent in Prospects Draft

By Dale Woodard on December 10, 2021.

A highly-touted pick that was still available when it was their turn to select and a name that will be very familiar to their fans.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Lethbridge Hurricanes have stepped away from the draft table.

As the Western Hockey League held its Prospects Draft Thursday, the Canes stocked the cupboards for the future with nine players, including seven forwards and two defencemen.

Picking 10th and 17th in the first round, the Hurricanes snagged forward Miguel Marques 10th overall from the Delta Hockey Academy U17 AAA and then selected defenceman Tristen Doyle of the Northern Alberta Xtreme U18 Prep team.

A little later in the draft, the Canes picked from a family tree that has already been good to them, selecting forward Luke Cozens – the younger brother of former Hurricanes captain and current Buffalo Sabre Dylan – in the seventh round and 140th overall.

“I think every team at this point of the day would be really excited for their draft picks and the list of players they’ve been able to pick and we’re no different from that,” said Hurricanes general manager Peter Anholt. “Especially the top-30 players, it seemed to me, were really strong this year and the top-10, I thought, was a really special group. I think anybody picking there was really feeling that it was a strong group. So we were really pleased.”

Marques, who hails from Prince George, B.C., brings some eye-popping stats, having scored 27 goals and 64 points in 16 games with the Delta Hockey Academy U17 AAA this season.

He also has one goal and one assist in one game with the Delta Hockey Academy U18 Prep.

In the shortened 2020-21 season, Marques had seven goals and 15 points in six games with the St. George’s School U15 Prep.

“Where we were picking, we knew we were going to get a good player, it was just a matter of who,” said Anholt.

“I’ve always said drafts have become an animal on their own in a sense. They have their own personality and there’s always a surprise here and there. We had two teams that had two picks in the top-10. So they really dictated how that top-10 was going to go. We were really pleased where we got Miguel. He’s a special player, as is the (Jordan) Gavin kid (selected second overall by the Tri City Americans) and many of the kids who are on that list. We’re lucky to get him where we got him and we’re looking forward to getting him into the lineup whenever we possibly can.”

As for their 17th overall pick, Anholt said there will be some work to be done to recruit Doyle.

“He’s a skilled defenceman and for us having had Calen Addison, Brennan Menell and we have (Logan) McCutcheon on our team, we feel we have the ability to play the way that will really help Tristen sign with us and develop into a pro. That’s what our thinking is, we just have to prove to him that playing here in Lethbridge is the path for him.”

The Winnipeg product has posted six goals and 23 points in 18 games with the Northern Alberta Xtreme U18 Prep team.

Last year, Doyle had seven points (two goals and five assists) in four games with Northern Alberta U15 Prep.

Picking in the second round and 29th overall, the Canes selected forward Trae Wilke from the Saskatoon Blazers U18 AAA. This season, the five-foot-11, 168-pound forward has seven goals and 17 points in 20 games.

In four games with the Saskatoon Stallions U15 AA last season, Wilke tallied a staggering 13 goals and 27 points.

“For us to pick Trae Wilke from Saskatoon where we did, we’re excited about that, too, and right on down the line,” said Anholt. “We’re just as excited as can be about the group we’ve added to our organization.”

The Hurricanes picked Landen Ward with their fourth round pick at 83rd overall.

The six-foot-two, 190-pound forward has played in 21 games this season with the Lloydminster Bobcats U18 AAA team where he has seven points (four goals and three assists). Ward is the son of former NHLer Lance Ward and the brother of Brandon Wheat Kings defenceman Mason.

Picking twice in the sixth round, the Hurricanes picked forward Coy Pighin 118th overall and defenceman Kale Tipler 122nd overall.

Pighin, from nearby Nanton, has four goals and 12 points in 14 games with Yale Hockey Academy U18 Prep.

Tipler has two goals and four assists in 19 games with the Lloydminster Bobcats U18 AAA.

With the seventh round and 140th overall pick, the Hurricanes went with a familiar name, grabbing Cozens from the Yale Hockey Academy U17 Prep, where he has two goals and eight points in 14 games.

“I think he’s certainly a later developing player than Dylan was, obviously,” said Anholt. “But there’s a lot of room for growth there. He plays the game at a high level as far as intelligence goes. It sounds like he’s going to grow some more. It’s a bit of a shot in the dark, in a sense, because it’s projection on our part. But because we know the family so well and have the relationship there it was an easy pick for us where we picked him. So we’re excited about seeing how he can possibly develop and where he’s going to end up as a player.”

The Hurricanes picked forward Lucas Minard with their eighth-round pick at 162nd overall.

The five-foot-four, 120-pound forward has 13 goals and 26 points in 39 games this season with the Dallas Stars Elite 16U AAA.

In 2020-21 with the Stars Elite 14U team he had 17 points (nine goals and eight assists) in 20 games.

With their final pick in the draft, the Hurricanes selected forward Josh Evaschesen in the ninth round and 184th overall. The Medicine Hat native has six goals and 19 points in 14 games with the Edge School U16 Prep this season.

With the hockey season quickly heading toward the 2022 portion, Anholt said there’s a possibility some of the players selected may see some playing time in Lethbridge this season.

“I think there’s a really good chance, so we’ll get on it right away and see how that all plays out,” he said.

“But we’re excited about the prospects of getting at least Marques into our lineup as quickly as possible.”

Selecting first overall after winning the lottery draft back in June, the Spokane Chiefs chose Berkly Catton of the Saskatoon Contacts U18.

After the Americans selected Gavin, the Brandon Wheat Kings held the third and fourth picks, taking Charlie Elick of Edge School U18 Prep and Roger McQueen of the Saskatoon Blazers U18, respectively.

Selecting fifth, the Red Deer Rebels picked up Ollie Josephson of the South Island Royals U18.

Some local players were also selected in this year’s Prospects Draft.

The Brandon Wheat Kings picked Lethbridge U18 forward Carter Klippenstein 64th overall, while the Prince George Cougars selected forward Terik Parascak 78th. Parascak is playing for Edge School U16 Prep this season.

Defenceman Chase Bambrick, who is originally from Nelson B.C., but plays for the U18 Hurricanes, went 156th overall to the Winnipeg Ice.

Medicine Hat goaltender Beck Boiteau, also with the U18 Canes, was chosen 163rd overall by the Everett Silvertips.

Taber’s Deegan Kinniburgh, who suits up at forward with the U16 Headwater Hurricanes, was chosen 197th overall by the Victoria Royals, while Coaldale forward Bowman Klippenstein, playing for the Notre Dame Hounds U16 Prep this season, was chosen 243rd by the Edmonton Oil Kings.

The Hurricanes return to league play tonight when they host the Red Deer Rebels at the Enmax Centre at 7 p.m.

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