May 4, 2018
Red Deer, AB
The Prince George Cougars Hockey Club selected forward Craig Armstrong (9thoverall) and goaltender Tyler Brennan (21stoverall) in the first round of the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft, in Red Deer Alberta.
“They were our top two players we targeted at their positions, so as a scouting staff we’re thrilled to get both of them in the first round,” said Director of Scouting Bob Simmonds.
Armstrong, who was the Cougars first pick of the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft (9thoverall), had a standout season in the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League (AMBHL) with his hometown Airdrie Xtreme. Armstrong led the Xtreme in scoring in both the regular and in the playoffs. Armstrong amassed 23 goals and 54 points in 34 regular season games and followed that up with 14 goals and 24 points in 13 playoff games to lead the Xtreme to the 2018 AMBHL championship.
At the 2018 Western Canada Bantam AAA Championship, Armstrong had seven points (3-4-7) in five games, leading the Xtreme in scoring, as they fell 2-1 in double-overtime in the gold medal game against the Seafair Islanders.
“Craig is smaller in stature, but he plays a large game. He’s dynamic, he’s skilled, he drove the offense for his team and he’s strong on the puck. One thing we really like is his compete level,” said Simmonds. “He battles to win every puck, every game and he’s well respected by his teammates and more importantly by the opposition.”
Armstrong collected more hardware recently, as he won gold at the 2018 Alberta Cup in Spruce Grove, Alberta. Armstrong had four goals and 11 points in five games with Team Central.
The Cougars nabbed the top goaltending prospect in the draft with their second pick of the first round, 21st-Ty Brennan was considered the top ranked goaltender in the Bantam Draft according to publications such as DraftGeek and Western Elite Hockey Prospects.
“We strongly believed Tyler was the best goalie available in this draft and it’s obvious you need strong goaltending to win in this league, commented Simmonds. “He’s a big goalie, approaching 6’4 and he covers a lot of the net but he’s also very athletic for his size. We feel we have a goaltender for the future.”
Brennan posted a 11-3-1 record with the Rink Hockey Academy in the Bantam Prep Division in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL). He led all Bantam Prep goaltenders in goals-against average (1.53) and save percentage (.947) in the regular season; he also had five shutouts. In four playoff games, Brennan had a .917 save percentage, leading the RHA Nationals to the Bantam Prep Championship Final against OHA Edmonton.
Simmonds believes drafting Brennan adds considerable depth to the Cougars crease, “We needed to have a succession plan in place for when our goalies move on. We drafted Taylor Gauthier in 2016 to carry the load after Ty Edmonds and we feel drafting Brennan today gives us a bright future in goal once again.”
Previous first round selections for the Cougars include: Tyson Phare (18thoverall, 2017), Taylor Gauthier (9thoverall, 2016) and Jackson Leppard (8thoverall, 2015).