After more than three months of delay, the National Hockey League held round one of its draft on Tuesday evening. As expected, the New York Rangers chose Alexis Lafreniere with the first-overall pick.
17 picks later, the Rangers were back on the clock and they went to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, to make their next choice as they selected Braden Schneider of the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Schneider went into the draft as the ninth-ranked skater amongst North Americans.
The first round rolled on and with the 28th overall pick, the Ottawa Senators selected Ridly Greig of Lethbridge, Alberta. 31 selections in all were made and the Wheat Kings had two players picked.
Known as Mr. Rliable on the back end for the Wheat Kings, there’s no surprise that Schneider was selected 19th overall. Including playoff action, Braden has played in 199 games with Brandon and his offensive production continues to improve each year.
Back in the 2017-2018 season, Schneider scored his first WHL goal and he added 22 assists in the regular season. That was before he chalked up six playoff points in 11 games.
As an assistant captain in the 2018-2019 season, Braden would score eight goals and add 16 goals as he improved his production by two points before he skyrocketed last year.
In 60 games, Schneider notched 42 points, seven of which were goals. In a prior interview with Darnell Duff before draft day, Braden had this to say.
“I think that every one that is draft-eligible circles the days on their calendar. No one is sure when it will take place right now, but it’s going to be a pretty surreal moment when I hear my name called,”
So clearly, a surreal moment with his family and friends was had on Tuesday evening.
Braden will return to Wheat City this season which is expected to begin in December and when he does, he’s expecting big things.
“I think it’s going to be a big year for us,” concluded. “I think we have a really good squad and I can’t wait to get things going. We have things to prove and we’ll be ready to do so.”
The now 18-year-old was ranked 14th among North American skaters heading into the draft and for good reason. Outfitted with a seemingly bottomless gas tank, Greig’s energy impacts all three zones.
Ridly is used to getting drafted in the first round. He was selected 8th overall by Brandon in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft.
“It was a rush with a bunch of different emotions when they called my name,” said Greig. “I’m still taking it in. It just makes me think about all of the sacrifices and what my family has done for me along this journey.”
The 2018-2019 season was Ridly’s first with Brandon where he notched 14 goals and 21 assists. With 67 WHL games now under his belt, he drastically became more productive offensively last year as he was more comfortable with his surroundings and role, playing in one of the best major junior leagues in the country.
Greig tickled the twine 26 times last season and he added 34 assists for 60 points in 56 games. Ridly also helped Team Canada earn a silver medal at the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup which was hosted in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.