May 28th, 2024

Canes seek more forwards in Prospects Draft

By Lethbridge Herald on May 7, 2024.

Herald File photo Lethbridge Hurricanes assistant coach Matt Anholt is seen here coaching against the Brandon Wheat Kings in this October 2023 file photo. Anholt thinks the team will look for more forwards in the Prospects Draft on Thursday.

By Justin Seward

Lethbridge Herald

The Lethbridge Hurricanes are preparing for a busy week with the US Priority Draft today and the WHL Prospects Draft on Thursday.

“There’s some really high-end D-men [defencemen]that are going to go early in the draft,” said Matt Anholt, Canes assistant general manager and assistant coach, when asked about his thoughts on the WHL Prospects Draft.

“Obviously starting with Landon Dupont, (exceptional player status 14-year-old defenceman), he’s an exceptional player for a reason, and there’s some really good guys on the backend that are going to follow him early. I think there could be an early run on defenders in the top 15.”

Anholt  said there’s lots of really good players up front that are offensively dynamic.

“Lots of … undersized guys as of today,” said Anholt.

“But lots of those guys are still going to grow as they’re young kids.  But lots of offence coming from the top end of the draft for forwards and defence.”

The Hurricanes will begin Thursday with the 13th overall selection.

“With Dayne [Beuker, last year’s 14th overall pick) accepting a position with the National Development Program down  in the States, we feel like we could use another forward to add to our prospect pool,” said Anholt.

“When we look down in the depth charts and  the four-year windows, we could definitely use some more offensive punch probably in the next two, three years. So, in a perfect world, a forward would be nice, but junior hockey is really hard to predict and if the best player available was a defenceman on our list then we’d definitely have to consider that.”

The Hurricanes have a pick in each round.

“It just means that you can maybe be a little aggressive at times,” he said.

“Like you know you’re going to be picking pretty soon again.”

The Canes will also pick  32nd, 58th , 80th , 102nd , 113th  124th, 132nd, 146th, 168th, 190th, 234th, 256th, 278th, 300th and 322nd overall in the Prospects Draft.

Lethbridge  will pick 13th and 35th overall in today’s US Priority Draft.

“It’s a tough one,” said Anholt.

“You’re constantly trying to manage who’s going to come, and who has interest in the league and what players have upside because you want to pick Americans that are going to possibly be impactful players if they do come.”

There has been no picks come play with the Hurricanes to date in the five years of the US draft.

The US Priority Draft begins at 10 a.m. today and the Prospects Draft starts at 10 a.m. on Thursday.

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