With the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft coming tomorrow morning and all of us missing WHL hockey because of the current pandemic, we at DUBNetwork thought it would be fun to look at the past WHL Bantam Draft classes for all 22 teams and rank them. We will be posting these articles over the next month or so as we get into this unexpected, long offseason.
In 1990, the WHL instituted a draft of second-year Bantam players to help distribute the players in their large region to all of the different teams. In years past, teams held rights to players living in a specific region.
First up, we have the Brandon Wheat Kings. I looked over their 30 previous Bantam Drafts and picked what I thought were their five best. The criteria I used were weighed heavily by the individual accomplishments achieved by those players and what the team was able to win as well.
#1 – The 2013 draft for the Wheat Kings is far and away the best in franchise history. Along with the 2011 draft, players snagged in this draft were key to the 2016 Ed Chynoweth Cup.
In just a short span, Nolan Patrick had an incredible run. Tyler Benson (Vancouver), Sam Steel (Regina) and Josh Anderson (Prince George) were taken before Patrick and all had excellent WHL seasons. If a redraft was done, though, you could have a good argument about whether Patrick or Steel would be the top pick.
General manager Kelly McCrimmon flipped the 17th overall pick (ended up being Stuart Skinner) and goalie Corbin Boes for the sixth overall pick. They took Kale Clague, who would go on to win WHL defenseman of the year. Clague ended up being traded to an East Division rival but was one of the better WHL d-men in his era.
Just five of the 12 players selected played for the Wheat Kings, but all had an impact. Two of the players picked in later rounds — American players Ryan Lindgren and Joey Anderson — went the NCAA route. They proved to be well-scouted though as they have combined for 117 NHL games already.
1 (4th overall) Nolan Patrick – F – 205 points in 163 regular season games and 45 points in 40 playoff games.
2014-15: WHL Most Goals by a Rookie, WHL Rookie of the Year.
2015-16: Hlinka Memorial Gold Medal, WHL East Second All-Star Team, WHL Champion, WHL Playoffs Most Points, WHL Playoff MVP.
2016-17: CHL Top Draft Prospect Award, drafted in the first round, second overall by the Philadelphia Flyers.
1 (6th) Kale Clague – D – 143 points in 169 regular season games and 22 points in 37 playoff games.
2015-16: WHL Top Prospects Game, Hlinka Memorial Gold Medal, WHL Champion, drafted in the second round, 51st overall by the L.A. Kings.
2016-17: U20 WJC Most Assists by a Defenseman, U20 WJC Silver Medal, WHL East First All-Star Team.
2017-18 (played 26 games with Moose Jaw): U20 WJC Gold Medal, WHL East First All-Star Team, WHL Most Assists by a Defenseman, WHL Top Defenseman Award.
2 (25th) Tanner Kaspick – F – 132 points in 191 regular season games and 15 points in 41 playoff games.
2015-16: Hlinka Memorial Gold Medal, WHL Champion, WHL Scholastic Player of the Year, drafted by the St Louis Blues in the fourth round, 119th overall.
3 (47th) Ty Lewis – F – 191 points in 190 regular season games and 18 points in 39 playoff games.
2015-16: WHL Champion.
2017-18: signed by the Colorado Avalanche as a free agent.
7 (135th) Linden McCorrister – F – 86 points in 175 regular season games and 16 points in 38 playoff games.
2015-16: WHL Champion.
#2 – The 2011 draft was also huge for the 2016 title team. Further, it was pivotal in getting the team the first of two straight Eastern Conference titles. What ranks this above the 1992 group for me is the sheer number of players who went on to good WHL careers and a few that had excellent ones.
Kord Pankewicz, Brett Kitt and Ryley Lindgren were part of a big trade at the start of the 2014-15 season. This landed the Wheat Kings Reid Duke, Macoy Erkamps and Tak Anholt. Duke was taken fifth overall in the 2015 draft and would notch 184 points for Brandon before becoming the first ever Vegas Golden Knight.
Pankewicz and Lindgren had quality WHL careers the rest of the way with Lethbridge, helping turn the franchise around.
Papirny played in the most games of any goalie in franchise history and was key in backstopping the team during the 2015 and 2016 playoff runs. Papirny was traded to Swift Current during his overage season.
Jayce Hawryluk and John Quenneville were absolute steals in the draft. One had the most assists in the 2016 playoffs and the other had the most goals. They have two of the better WHL résumés of anyone from this draft and were taken in the second and third rounds respectively. Factor in Duke and that is three incredible forwards from one draft class.
1 (11th overall) Kord Pankewicz – D – 15 points in 88 regular season games and played in one playoff game.
1 (22nd) Jordan Papirny – G – 111-53-13-7 record in 188 regular season games and 33-15-1-0 record in 49 playoff games.
2012-13: U17 WHC Silver Medal.
2014-15: WHL East Second All-Star Team.
2015-16: WHL Champion.
2 (32nd) Jayce Hawryluk – F – 278 points in 232 regular season games and 60 points in 45 playoff games.
2013-14: Hlinka Memorial Gold Medal, U17 WJC Bronze Medal, drafted in the second round, 32nd overall by the Florida Panthers.
2015-16: WHL East Second All-Star Team, WHL Champion, WHL Playoffs Most Assists.
3 (54th) John Quenneville – F – 197 points in 222 regular season games and 59 points in 47 playoff games.
2012-13: U17 WHC Silver Medal.
2013-14: U18 WJC Bronze Medal, drafted in the first round, 30th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks.
2015-16: WHL Champion, WHL Playoffs Most Goals.
5 (94th) Brett Kitt – F – 10 points in 41 regular season games.
5 (96th) Ryley Lindgren – F – 19 points in 75 regular season games and three points in seven playoff games.
5 (99th) Riley Van Horne – D – three points in 24 regular season games.
9 (187th) Dominic Thom – D – one point in two regular season games.
#3 – The 1992 WHL Bantam Draft only had three players who went on to excellent WHL careers, but one of them is one of the best players to ever lace up their skates for the What Kings. Red Deer took defenseman Mike McBain first overall, leaving Wade Redden to the Wheat Kings. They gladly scooped up the future longtime NHLer and he helped get them their first WHL title in the WHL Bantam Draft era.
Redden, Justin Kurtz, Kelly Smart, Daryl Stockham and the Wheat Kings lost 4-3 to Peterborough in the Memorial Cup semi-final.
1 (2nd overall) Wade Redden – D – 153 points in 178 regular season games. 36 points in 51 playoff games.
1993-94: WHL Rookie of the Year
1994-95: East Second All-Star Team, World Juniors Gold for Canada. Second overall pick in NHL Draft by N.Y. Islanders.
1995-96: CHL Memorial Cup all-star team, World Juniors Gold with Canada, East first all star team, WHL champion.
1 (6th) Justin Kurtz – D – 202 points in 243 regular season games. 23 points in 56 playoff games.
1994-95: Drafted in the fourth round, 84th overall by the Winnipeg Jets.
1995-96: WHL East Second All-Star Team, WHL champion.
1996-97: CHL Third All-Star Team, Most Goals by a Defenseman in the WHL.
1 (7th) Joel Korenko – F – three points in 66 regular season games and zero points in 13 playoff games.
3 (34th) Kelly Smart – F – 283 points in 286 regular season games and 38 points in 61 playoff games.
1995-96: WHL champion.
1996-97: CHL Sportsman of the Year, WHL Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year.
4 (50th) Daryl Stockham – F – 28 points in 75 regular season games and five points in 30 playoff games.
1995-96: WHL champion.
#4 – The 2000 Bantam Draft boasts the Wheat Kings’ only Player of the Year winner of the years that I picked. Eric Fehr snagged it in 2005, but Peter Schaefer won it in 1997 and Mart Murray hoisted it in 1995 during the Bantam Draft era.
While Portland grabbed a future star in Braydon Coburn with the first pick in this draft, Fehr was a really good get with the fifth pick.
Stone was a steal in the second round as he was more than a point-per-game player and gave the Wheat Kings two future All-Stars from this draft class. In 2005, the Stone and Fehr-led Wheaties fell in five games to the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL Final. In that regular season, Fehr and Stone went one-two in scoring in the league with a combined
1 (5th overall) Eric Fehr – F – 277 points in 279 regular season games and 51 points in 60 playoff games.
2002-03: CHL Top Prospects Game. Drafted by the Washington Capitals in the first round, 18th overall.
2004-05: CHL Second All-Star Team, WHL East First All-Star Team, most goals in the WHL, most points in the WHL, WHL Player of the Year, most points in the WHL playoffs.
2 (23rd) Ryan Stone – F – 240 points in 239 regular season games and 40 points in 66 playoffs games.
2002-03: CHL Top Prospects Game. Drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round, 32nd overall.
2004-05: WHL East First All-Star Team, Most Assists in the WHL and Most Playoff Assists in the WHL.
6 (95th) Jonathan Webb – D – 12 points in 160 regular season games and five points in 45 playoff games.
#5 – The 2006 Bantam Draft just edges out the 2009 draft for me because of Brayden Schenn. Just look at all of those accomplishments in just over three seasons in Brandon. He may have not gotten higher than second All-Star Team in the East, but he won Rookie of the Year and was on the CHL Rookie of the Year team. The Wheat Kings then moved him for a first-round pick in 2011 (Papirny), a first-round pick in 2012, a second-round pick in 2011, an import pick and two prospects in Tim McGauley and Ayrton Nikkel. McGauley was a key player on the 2016 title team and was a First Team East All-Star.
Glennie was a good grab on 29th overall and, along with Schenn, was an NHL lottery pick.
1 (9th overall) Brayden Schenn – F – 262 points in 197 regular season games and 40 points in 33 playoff games.
2007-08: CHL All-Rookie Team, U17 WHC All-Star Team, U17 WHC Bronze Medal, U17 WHC most goals, U17 WHC Most Points, U17 WJC Gold Medal, WHL most points by a rookie, WHL Rookie of the Year.
2008-09: CHL Top Prospects Games, drafted by the L.A. Kings in the first round, 5th overall.
2009-10: U20 WJC Silver Medal, WHL East first all star team.
2010-11: U20 WJC All-Star Team, U20 WJC Best Forward, U20 WJC Best Plus/Minus, U20 WJC Most Assists, U20 WJC Most Goals, U20 WJC Most Points, U20 WJC MVP, U20 WJC Silver Medal, WHL East Second All-Star Team.
2 (29th) Scott Glennie – F – 308 points in 252 regular season games and 38 points in 39 playoff games.
2007-08: U17 WHC Bronze Medal.
2008-09: CHL Top Prospects Game, drafted in the first round, eighth overall by the Dallas Stars.
7 (138th) Jesse Hall – F – six points in 46 games.
11 (218th) Stephane Robidoux – D – three points in 37 games.
Honorable Mention: The 2009 Bantam Draft was certainly successful in the number of players who laced up their skates in at least some games for Brandon. Seven of the 11 players selected played for them.
Leading the way for this draft class are Roy, who played the second most games for Brandon in franchise history, and Pulock, who was a two time All-Star.
Pulock was an absolute steal in the seventh round as well.
1 (18th overall) Eric Roy – D – 200 points in 322 regular season games and 24 points in 42 playoff games.
2012-13: CHL Top Prospects Game, drafted by the Calgary Flames in the fifth round, 135th overall.
2 (40th) Dylan Kuczek – D – two points in 34 regular season games.
3 (49th) Dakota Conroy – F – eight points in 40 regular season games.
4 (73rd) Tyrel Seaman – F – 35 points in 108 regular season games and four points in 15 playoff games.
5 (106th) Carter Proft – F – one point in 15 regular season games.
2012-13: WHL Most Penalized Player.
7 (136th) Ryan Pulock – D – 210 points in 261 regular season games and 15 points in 24 playoff games.
2011-12: U18 WJC Bronze Medal, WHL East First All-Star Team.
2012-13: Drafted by the N.Y. Islanders in the first round, 15th overall.
2013-14: WHL East First All-Star Team.
8 (136th) Daniel Asham – F – 15 points in 71 regular season games.
Next up, we will tackle the Calgary Hitmen.