|Voice of the Pats Phil Andrews|
It's NHL draft week and for the 6 Regina Pats who are ranked by Central Scouting the excitement is certainly mounting. Friday night the draft will start with the first round and on Saturday it gets started again at 8 AM Regina time. The six Pats ranked are Austin Wagner (35), Connor Hobbs (72), Jesse Gabrielle (73), Sergey Zborovskiy (103), Adam Brooks (176) and Adam Berg (200).
Calgary native Austin Wagner who will likely be a second round pick this weekend could follow in the footsteps of his former teammate Morgan Klimchuk in being drafted by the hometown Calgary Flames. He says that would be pretty incredible. "It would be cool, just growing up in the city and getting to watch those guys growing up. But anywhere would be nice to get drafted, I would lucky to just get a look from a team and I'm lucky enough to have some teams that are interested so anywhere is fine with me for sure. I am not going to complain but Calgary would be pretty special." The Flames hold the 45th overall pick in the second round so anything is possible but Wagner interviewed with 22 of the 30 teams at the Draft Combine so he very well be off the board by then.
Saskatoon product Connor Hobbs is the 72nd ranked played by the Central Scouting Service ahead of the draft and he says he is very excited. "100 percent excited. It wasn't for sure that I was going down to Florida but I am going down now after the Combine went well. I am going down there and hopefully getting drafted."
Gabrielle, the Moosomin product is one spot back in the CSS rankings at 73. He says he just wants to get picked and get the opportunity with an organization. "For me just getting drafted to a team would be awesome and that would become my favorite team after. Just giving me the opportunity to go a try out for a team is all I need. I just want to get drafted and hopefully drafted high."
Sergey Zborovskiy is a guy who is a slam dunk to get picked in my opinion after the strong last few months of the season and into the playoffs. He attended a prospect camp with the Chicago Blackhawks after the combine and has a number of teams taking a look at him.
Adam Brooks as a 19-year-old is a long shot but you never know. I had lunch with a certain NHL scout who told me a team may decide to take him in the later rounds and what a day that would be for Brooks considering how far he has come in his three years in the WHL. 8 goals in his first two seasons to 30 last year. He says it would be an incredible thing to get picked but it's not the be all end all. "For me to hear my name called this weekend would be a huge honor and very uplifting. Every kids dream is to go to an NHL camp and play in the NHL and this would be the first step in that dream of mine. After my first two years in the league I didn't know which way my career was going to go, but John (Paddock) Strucher (Dave Struch) and kecks (Darrin McKechnie) showed that they believed in me and I couldn't thank them enough for that. Without our coaching staff and my teammates I don't think I would have had the season I had and even be in the talk of having a chance to be drafted . On the flip side of things, if my name doesn't get called well it won't be the first time and I won't let it bother me. I feel like I made big strides in my game this year and hope to do the same again this upcoming season."
For Adam Berg it's hard to say whether or not he will get picked. He didn't spend a lot of the season with the Pats but did have some NHL exposure playing Junior A. He has speed, size and the smarts and I believe he will play pro hockey one day.
- Four younger Regina Pats got some good news on Tuesday. Regina will be well represented at Hockey Canada’s inaugural National Teams’ Summer Showcase with Sam Steel (U18), Jordan Hollett (U17), Erik Gardiner (U17) and Jake Leschyshyn (U17) attending the camp. Steel looking to play the the U18 Championships and the rest at the U17 World Hockey Challenge. A total of 194 players invited to attend the showcase from July 29-Aug. 6 at the Markin MacPhail Centre at WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.
- The WHL released it's pre-season schedule on Tuesday morning. The Pats will host a pre-season tournament for a second straight year from September 3rd to 5th. The Moose Jaw Warriors, Calgary Hitmen and Prince Albert Raiders will be in attendance. The Pats will play four more games after that, two against Brandon and two against Prince Albert for a total of 7.
- The Kelly McCrimmon wait is over. The Wheat Kings Owner, GM and Head Coach is sticking with the WHL club instead of heading to the NHL and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Must have been a tough job to turn down but it makes sense considering where the Wheat Kings are heading into this season, plus getting to be an assistant coach for Team Canada at the World Juniors is another perk of sticking around.
- The Swift Current Broncos announced they have released three veteran players on Tuesday. Forwards Tanner LeSann and Linden Penner as well as defencemen Ayrton Nikkel have all cleared waivers and are free agents. All three are heading into their overage seasons.
- The Riders open the 2015 season on Saturday at home to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. I still think that sounds weird, the two clubs aren't supposed to play until Labour Day but bring em on. You have to think the game is going to be better than the last pre-season one against Calgary which was thoroughly entertaining. The big question is whether or not Weston Dressler and Tyron Brackenridge will play in the game. Both missed day one of practice Tuesday. They would be missed but I still have confidence in a Rider win to open the year at home.
- Why is the opening game of the CFL season Thursday featuring the Ottawa RedBlacks? It does not make much sense to me that you would start the season with the worst team in the league. Why not a Grey Cup rematch or even a Conference rematch of some kind. That makes way more sense to me.
- As for the other two match ups, I am taking the Edmonton Eskimos over the Toronto Argonauts and the Stampeders to beat the Ti-Cats.
That's it from me today. Have a great week!