Saskatoon Blade draft overview
-We really felt that the Saskatoon Blades had one of the top drafts. They had five draft picks in the first two rounds and added solid future core pieces. They really targeted skill and speed and all the players they added can bring it when it comes to adapting to pace of play and skating abilities. With pieces like Kirby Dach in their lineup already, they are set up well for the future and bode well against the other WHL teams’ prospect pools. They really added picks and trusted their eyes and scouting crew to make the proper decisions.
First Round Selections
-Aiden De La Gorgendiere (5th Overall) – A complete two-way defender who can munch minutes and play a versatile role on any team. He is ,quite possibly, one of the most well rounded defenders in his age group, anywhere in the world. He transitions well and has smart decision making and awareness on both ends of the rink. He is a future star in the WHL who will be heavily relied upon in all situations someday.
Kyle Crnkovic (10th Overall) – One of the top dynamic forwards in the draft. Crnkovic is under-sized but makes up for it with his quickness and skill. He loves to utilize his cross overs and quick feet to pick up speed making him dangerous with the puck. He has the ability to create offense and is a guy who the Blades can build their top line around with Kirby Dach. This pick bodes well for their future scoring.
–Braden Plaschewsky (31st Overall) – A real big, skilled kid who moves well for his size. Braden has decent skating abilities and is able to get shots off in dead spots on the ice. He plays the game with emotion and has a really competitive nature. He has been able to consistently impress even when put into an offensive catalyst role. I love this pick up at 31. I think he could be a solid top-six forward who can score and bring a physical presence.
Kurtis Smythe (42nd Overall) – A guy I really liked as the season progressed. He plays a smart and simple two-way game. He’s a real versatile defender who can make reliable plays out of his zone and is strong in the transitional game. He does lack strength and power but I really like how he thinks the game. He possesses an effective shot from the point and it gets through consistently. He is all around, a guy who will progress in his late teens into an effective defender.
Kalen Szeto (102nd Overall) – Szeto was a guy who came on at the end of the season. He had a real strong start but was most present on my list after the Westerns and BC Cup where he was a standout player. He is really under-sized but makes up for it with his skill and his ability to think the game steps ahead of other players. I don’t see him as a quick player but someone who loves to slow down the play, read the ice well and create offense. I have heard NCAA rumours that aren’t confirmed but if he comes to the WHL, it would be a big plus for this already stacked Saskatoon Blades draft class.
Davis Frank (137th Overall) – I liked this pick in the sense that Frank should be a solid depth player in the WHL. He’s a guy who can play on the edge but a lot adapt well to the WHL speed. He is athletic and has good vision off the rush. Moves the puck well at high speeds and has a physical side to his game. I like this pick.
-Overall just a really solid draft for the Saskatoon Blades who had an abundance of picks and made the most of them. They stuck with their Canadian players and added both top-end guys and depth. I love the two players they added in the first round and think that this class along with their 2016 draft class is a good core group that will make Saskatoon a dominant team in the future.