By Bill Burfoot
Image courtesy of the MJHL
Before the Manitoba Junior Hockey League draft even got underway June 9th, General Managers across the league were busy vying for position and making moves with the hopes of securing the player they wanted.
When all was said and done, four of the top seven picks had changed hands, and many talented bantam players from around the province were able to get a glimpse into where their hockey future may end up heading.
The Neepawa Natives held the first overall pick, but the Waywayseecappo Wolverines struck a deal with the Natives, sending their fourth-overall pick along with 02-born Graeme Patrick to Neepawa in exchange for the first-overall selection, which they used to acquire Luke Robson from the AAA Bantam Southwest Cougars. The 14-year-old from from Carberry was a point-per-game player for the Cougars last season tallying 17 goals and 32 points in 32 games.
The Virden Oil Capitals also made a trade to move up in the draft, acquiring the second overall pick from the OCN Blizzard to select 15-year-old Carson Buydens from Gladstone. The Oil Capitals traded the list rights to Riley Zimmerman and future considerations to move up in the draft. Buydens amassed 46 points in 34 games for the Central Plains Capitals as the highly-skilled center lit the lamp 25 times during the regular season, and finished the year with 19 power play points and could prove to be a huge pickup for Virden.
The Winkler Flyers selected highly-skilled center Brody Beauchemin from the Eastmen Selects with the third overall pick. The 15-year-old from Ile des Chenes finished second on the Selects in scoring last season, putting up 43 points (18G, 25A) in 36 games. Six of his 18 goals last season were game-winners.
After their trade with Waywayseecappo for their first round pick, the Neepawa Natives selected Nicholas Guberman with their fourth-overall pick. The 15-year-old from Winnipeg had is coming off a great season with the Winnipeg Monarchs where he averaged just over a point-per-game, finishing with 20 goals and 35 points in 32 games. Guberman continued that pace into the playoffs where he collected 12 points in 11 games.
Dauphin held the fifth overall pick where the club selected forward Ethan Williment. Williment is coming off an impressive season with the Bantam Winnipeg Warriors, notching 16 goals and 38 points in 34 regular season contests.
For the third consecutive year, the Winnipeg Blues held the sixth overall pick and they selected forward Kyle Grysiuk. Grysiuk suited up with RHA Bantam Prep of the CSSHL last season, where the Winnipeg native tallied 13 goals and added 11 assists for 24 points in those 29 games.
Grysiuk is a 2019 seventh round draft pick of the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds.
After an earlier trade with the Oil Capitals moved the Blizzard down to seventh in the draft, OCN selected forward Karson King from the Interlake Lightning. The high-scoring forward has a mix of skill and grit, finishing last season with 41 points and 42 penalty minutes the Lightning.
With the eighth overall selection, the Selkirk Steelers picked Jason Ruff from the Winnipeg Monarchs. The 6’0, 180 pound defenseman from Winnipeg – who was the first defenseman to go in the draft -- had 24 points in 32 games for the Monarchs. Six of his 11 goals last season were tallied on the power play.
Steinbach followed in the Steelers direction, selecting a defenseman with their ninth overall selection. The Pistons picked up Sam Court from the Winnipeg Monarchs. The 5’5, 131 pounder had 28 points in 33 games for the Monarchs last season, and can quarterback the power play for the Pistons for years to come.
After finishing one win shy of the MJHL championship last season, the Swan Valley Stampeders continued to build toward another run at the cup by selecting forward Keefe Gruener with the 10th overall pick. The 5’6, 152 pound forward from Winnipeg put up 37 points, including 16 goals in 42 games for the Monarchs last season.
With the final selection of the first round, the defending MJHL champion Portage Terriers selected 5’8 defenseman Tyler Dodgson. The 15-year-old Winnipeg product was not only solid defensively last season, but was able to produce offensively as well, tallying 17 goals and 31 points in 34 games.
For a full list of 2019 draft results visit mjhlhockey.ca