Earlier this week the Portland Winterhawks announced that they have signed their top two picks from the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft.
Gabe Klassen, who Portland drafted with the 19th overall pick in the draft was one of the players signed. Klassen is a forward from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and he has been lighting the lamp for teams there. Klassen potted 21 goals and added 20 assists for 41 points in his first year in Bantam AA in 2016-17.
He then led his team in scoring in 2017-18, scoring 52 goals and adding 37 assists for 89 points in 31 games.
He also added six points in six playoff games. The five-foot-seven Klassen then played three regular season and two playoff games with the P.A. Mintos. He had one assist playing in the SMHL against players a year or more older than him. Klassen had the most goals and most points in Bantam AA (Saskatchewan only has AA for Bantam and Midget – so that is the highest level).
The signing of Klassen gives Portland three of their first round picks signed (with Seth Jarvis and Cody Glass) for the first time since 2012-13 when Nic Petan, Derrick Pouliot and Ty Rattie were on the team.
Portland also announced the signing of 2003-born goalie Lochlan Gordon. He was drafted by Portland in the third round last month and was the highest goalie the Winterhawks have drafted since Brendan Burke in 2010. Gordon is from Edmonton and played last year for the Northern Alberta Bantam Prep team in the CSSBHL. He put up a 2.68 GAA and 0.891 save percentage in the regular season and 2.97 GAA and 0.922 save percentage in the playoffs.
He impressed at the John Reid Bantam tournament posting a 2.45 GAA and 0.910 save percentage in four games. He has also played for the Western Canada Selects as a 14 and 13-year-old. This year the Western Canada Selects fell in the semi-final at the U15 World Selects Invitational in Philadelphia. Gordon was on that team and was one of the 16 players taken in the Bantam Draft off of that team.
16-of-17 members from the @WstrnCanSelects U-15 team at the #WSI18 were chosen in @TheWHL 2018 Bantam Draft (under-ager and ineligible '04-birth year @msavoie_97 the lone member undrafted). Keep an eye on these boys from WCAN as the #OnesToWatch pic.twitter.com/9DEpFTCDDa
— World Selects Invite (@WorldSelectsInv) May 20, 2018
— CSSHL (@CSSHL) May 7, 2018
Gordon also played for Team Edmonton Yellow at the Alberta Cup. He posted a 2.02 GAA and 0.933 save percentage.
Gordon is the fourth goalie Portland has signed and like Klassen cannot play more than five games in the 2018-19 season, unless given a special exception from the WHL.
Here is how I have the current depth chart for the 2018-19 season:
|Ryan Hughes (99)||Cody Glass (99)||Skyler McKenzie (98)^|
|Ty Kolle (00)||Jake Gricius (99)||Mason Mannek (00)|
|Lukus MacKenzie (99)||Reece Newkirk (01)||Lane Gilliss (99)|
|Jaydon Dureau (01)||Seth Jarvis (02)||Conor MacEachern (98)^|
|Cross Hanas (02)*||Gabe Klassen (03)*||Connor Barley (98)^|
An import player will likely be added and only three of the 1998-born players are allowed per league rules.
|Left Defense||Right Defense|
|Brendan De Jong (98)^||Henri Jokiharju (99)#|
|Matthew Quigley (99)||Jared Freadrich (98)^|
|Clay Hanus (01)||John Ludvig (00)|
|Nick Perna (01)*||Nick Cicek (00)|
|Ryan Miley (00)*||Kade Nolan (01)*|
|Shane Farkas (99)|
|Evan Fradette (01)*|
|Dante Giannuzzi (02)*|
|Lochlan Gordon (03)*|
*=has not played a regular season or playoff game in the WHL.
-Former Winter Hawks center Terry Jones was given the Montrose, B.C. Community Service Award. He said in this article that his first times volunteering were when he came back to Trail, B.C. after playing his 16-year-old year with Portland. That was in 1983 when Jones won the Memorial Cup with the Hawks. He potted 13 goals and added 17 assists for 30 points as a rookie. He then scored two goals and an assist in 13 playoff games. Jones played just 28 games in 1983-84, netting 24 points. That was his last year in Portland. He moved on to the University of Calgary where he played three seasons.
-The MJHL’s Waywayseecappo Wolverines dealt former Portland Winterhawks defenseman Darren Gisti to the Portage Terriers. Gisti played two preseason games for Portland last year before going to the MJHL, where he played the rest of the year.