The 2019 Bantam Draft has come and gone.
Draft day in Red Deer got off to a bizarre start that included multiple trades that left just three teams picking in the first six picks and six teams in the top ten.
The Western Conference champion Vancouver Giants walked away with 11 new prospects to add to their pool that included two sons of former NHLers, an NCAA commit and a few American players.
Vancouver did not own a first round pick (21st overall) in this year’s draft as it was traded to Swift Current for 2017 ninth overall pick Joel Sexsmith.
The Giants drafted seven forwards and four defencemen on Thursday and here’s a run down of all 11 picks:
All scouting reports of the prospects are courtesy of DraftGeek (@DraftGeekHockey on Twitter).
The Giants started their day in the second round, selecting defenceman Joshua Niedermayer from the Okanagan Hockey Academy Bantam Prep team. The five-foot-eleven 197 pound blueliner had 22 points (10G, 12A) in 29 games this season. He is also the son of Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Scott Niedermayer.
“He already possesses the necessary frame work to play in the WHL. A two-way defenseman with a high hockey IQ and naturally gifted physical assets, Niedermayer has all the capabilities of a top 15 selection. Engaged defensively, Niedermayer is able to picking up on developing chances between the dots and boxing players away from effective scoring areas. Playing super tight to his defensive assignment and lifting his stick, Niedermayer is able to quick adjust his position with high level anticipation abilities and awareness. A suffocating defensive pressure who punishes players below the goal line with bone crushing checks and out muscling in his defensive end. Niedermayer is deceptively agile despite his thick and strong frame, utilizes direct angles to the puck in order to win foot races and an intimidating presence to get involved with in a footrace.”
Ranked – 26
Their other second round pick was used to select Bowden Singleton off the Northern Alberta Xtreme Bantam Prep team. The five-foot-seven 140 pound centreman came into the draft as a top 10-15 talent but his stock took a big drop after announcing he verbally committed to the University of North Dakota just prior to draft day. In 29 games this season, the Calgary native had 42 goals and 24 assists for 66 points.
“Singleton is a natural goal scorer, he’s got an elite shooting abilities and skilled offensive attack. A diminutive player that is strong on his feet, capable of controlling the puck along the perimeter and fending off contact pressure. Singleton likes to slow down the pace of the game and attack at his speed, he’s got lightning quick agility but only uses it when pressure is force on his and not when he forces himself to use it. Uber-skilled Singletons lightning quick hands and craftiness allow him to maneuver around defenseman with ease.”
Ranked – 10
Vancouver traded their 2019 third round pick to Lethbridge for a 2021 third round pick so the Giants did not pick until the fourth round. They went local by selecting defenceman Damian Palmieri from the Delta Hockey Academy Bantam Prep team. The native of Delta BC stands at six feet, 180 pounds and had 22 points (7G, 15A) in 29 games this season.
“Palmieri plays a flexible and robust style of game where he values making an impact every time he touches the ice and punishes opposing players every chance he gets. At 6’0 180lbs, it’s not hard to see the physically appealing qualities with taking a player like Damian Palmieri. With that he’s also a player who recognizes this strength and plays to them, asserting himself physically with crushing hits and agitating opposing players after whistle. A wide sturdy based stance, powerful skating style along quick four-way mobility. Staying square to the puck carrier with open body positioning, Palmieri’s focus is to land a big hit before his own blue line and does so at an effective rate. Displaying nastiness in front of his own net, Palmieri is the reason why its referred to as “The Dirty Areas” as he will put players through a physical beating if they try to screen his own goalie or bang pucks in around the net.”
Ranked – 64
The Giants used their first of two fifth round picks on their first true American draft pick (Niedermayer dual citizen) in Colton Langkow out of the Phoenix Jr. Coyotes Bantam AAA program. Another son of a former NHLer (Daymond Langkow), he only got into 12 recorded games this season collecting nine points (7G, 2A). He stands at five-foot-ten and 168 pounds and was born in Scottsdale, Arizona.
“Limited viewing, but a player who showed promise to play at the WHL level. While playing for the Coyotes, Colton never looked over matched. However, in the limited viewing seen of him, he was prone to taking penalties as a result of physical play. Langkow should be able to produce at the next level based upon the games watched, but didn’t show tremendous upside in being able to elevate his linemates play. When played in the right situation, Langkow brings a tremendous amount of compete level to a team. Impressed with his tenacity on the forecheck.”
Ranked – NR
With their second fifth round pick, the Giants went back to BC, with the selection of forward Julian Cull from the Pacific Coast Hockey Academy Bantam Prep team. The five-foot-eleven 176 pound right-handed shot was his team’s leading scorer this season with 36 points (22G, 14A) in 29 games.
“Cull is a tall rangy right handed center who plays a one-dimension offensive game. A shot first mentality, Cull will put himself in position offensive to release one time shots off and has a heavy snap shot that throws off goalies timing. Upon puck retrieval he can quickly make a skilled play with the puck to create space for himself to work with. Provides prowess in the face-off circle, baring down and winning face offs at key times. Cull’s skating is smooth, his movement is fluid, and he can find spots in the offense end that go uncovered by defenseman.”
Ranked – 149
The Giants made their first and only pick out of Saskatchewan, selecting forward Mesele Klassen from the Warman Wildcats of the SBAAHL in the sixth round. The five-ten 156 pound prospect led his team in goal scoring, having almost a goal-per-game average with 28 goals to go along with 18 assists in 29 games.
“Klassen is a physically mature two-way winger with projectable skill and naturally gifted abilities. Blessed with Natural skill with the puck, slashes down the wing with his body facing the net and can handle pressure well with quick thinking with his hands to create space. Plays with a certain composure in all area’s and doesn’t really push a second gear very often. Has a grab and go mentality with the puck. Likely to pick up speed in corners off the cycle and explode out of the top into a shooting lane.”
Ranked – 128
Vancouver drafted their second Calgary kid, using their seventh round pick on big six-foot-three, 182 pound defenceman Adam Hamilton from Edge School Bantam Prep. The young right-handed blueliner recorded eight points (4G, 4A) in 20 games along with 72 penalty minutes.
“A big menacing defensive defenseman that plays with such nastiness and physical play that he’s likely the most intimidating defenseman in this draft. Hamilton’s hard-nosed defensive game is his trademark. Physical along the wall and always getting involved in altercations after whistles. Imposing his 6’3 frame in front of his own net and in puck battles, muscling guys away from where they want to be and driving away traffic around the net. Not a bad skater for his size, with long legs and a fairly technical stride he gets around the ice alright. Obviously has a cannon from the blue line, ripping shots that find their way on net. Hamilton is a big mean defenseman; he needs to round out some polish on his game but shouldn’t have issues translating that physical game to a depth defenseman position.”
Ranked – 155
In the eighth round, the Giants snagged their second homegrown pick by selecting six-foot 155 pound centreman Jaeger Murdock from the Burnaby Winter Club Hockey Academy Bantam Prep team. The West Vancouver native collected 43 points (21G, 22A) in 30 games this year in midget.
“Murdock is very strong skater and is blessed with a long, powerful stride. Great stride mechanics and a knack for keeping his head up while accelerating with the puck. Not overly quick but has absolutely no issues keeping attackers in containment defensively with his long limbs and stick or protecting the puck along the boards offensively using his well-developed frame. Possesses a top notch release and heavy velocity on his shots. Like to launch shots from the circles and up, very nice load up to his snapshot, bearing down and trying to utilize it from distance to catch goalies unaware. Murdock is very effective in the offensive zone from below the blue line with an ability to survey the ice and spot open lanes while maintaining puck possession from defenders. Is equally comfortable distributing from the backhand or forehand.”
Ranked – 101
The Giants went back to the United States for their first of two draft picks from Minnesota. The team selected forward Jack Seaverson who played this past season for Chaska/Chanhassen Stormhawks 14UAA and MNBEL Penguins, recording six points (3G, 3A) in 14 games with the Penguins. The Chaska, Minnesota native checks in at five-foot-ten and 145 pounds.
“Only one viewing of Seaverson, but he was noticeable throughout. He wasn’t afraid to take a hit to make a play. His play off the rush is above average for this level, and as he fills out his five-foot-ten inch frame, look for him to be even more dangerous. His shot could continue to develop, but has the right work ethic to reach the next level. Granted, there was limited viewing, but his shot was on par with many of his fellow 2004-born forwards. Jack’s hockey IQ though will help him based upon what was seen.”
Ranked – NR
In the 10th round, Vancouver went back to OHA to select their first pick’s, Joshua Niedermayer, teammate Lynden Hanvold. The left-handed defenceman recorded 15 points (4G, 11A) in 29 games this season, to go with just ten penalty minutes. The Kelowna native measures at five-foot-ten and 145 pounds.
“On a team where players sort of blended in, Hanvold found ways to separate himself throughout the season by improving the versatility of his skating and quickening up his timing of his offensive transitions. An enthusiastic two-way defenseman that keeps his head up in all three zones and fluidly transitions from offense to defense and defense to offense without any issue. Smooth skating style along with fluid four-way mobility. Hanvold maintains good spacing his defensive end, can quickly close the distance along the wall and land light but effective checks to separate the man from the puck. Uses his defensive partner to relieve pressure in his defensive end. Quick snap pass in transition, doesn’t hesitate to execute on his read’s. Keeps it simple with the puck, dependable in all situations. Blends into a depth role on the back end, his passive aggressive defensive game allows him to be effective in all defensive situations. See him being a potential bottom pairing defenseman at the WHL level.”
Ranked – 139
The Giants’ 11th round and final draft pick was their second kid from Minnesota, selecting left wing Jimmy Clark from the Edina Hornets 14UAA and the MNBEL Great Plains. The American forward stands at five-foot-eleven and 160 pounds and had 37 points (17G, 20A) in 23 games with Great Plains.
“Jimmy is a strong-bodied, power forward who can contribute offensively as well as play the body. Clark has shown he has a nose for the net and isn’t afraid to go to the “dirty areas” to make a play. His size allows him to out-muscle smaller defensemen in front of the goal. Jimmy uses his size on the defensive side of the puck as well, often times collapsing below the circles to help out his defense. He wins the majority of the puck battles along the wall. Over the course of the games I’ve watched him, he has the tendency to slide up the wall using his feet when an opponent has his stick tied up. Jimmy waits for support before relinquishing control of the puck and then rejoins the play. He isn’t afraid to use his body to check an opponent off the puck and will continue to develop when the right time is to make this type of play. Being a bigger body, he has to be careful as he could be more susceptible to getting called for a penalty. Jimmy’s vision on the rush gives him a distinct advantage over other players in his age group.”
Ranked – NR
Picks By Province/State
BC – 5
Alberta – 2
Saskatchewan – 1
Arizona – 1
Minnesota – 2