May 2, 2013 – The WHL Bantam draft was held on Thursday. There were eight players from BC teams drafted in the first round. Let’s take a look at them:
At #3, the Prince George Cougars selected Josh Anderson from Cowichan T1. The 6’2, 190lb defender will hopefully help shore up a spotty blue line that put up disastrous numbers last season. With a defence corps that had a plus/minus of -12 -18, -20, -26 and -43 respectively, it is little surprise that the Cougars selected Anderson.
“I feel pretty good going third overall, coming from the small town of Duncan,” said Anderson. “Getting picked by Prince George is such a good feeling.”
Anderson lists some of his own strengths as his vision, moving the puck and using his size to his advantage. Some of his other talents, according to scouts, are his hard shot and good mobility on the ice.
With the #7 pick, the Everett Silvertips chose right winger Tyson Jost from Pursuit of Excellence in Kelowna. Jost, who is originally from Leduc, AB, is 5’9 and 169 lbs. While certainly smaller than some of the other forwards available, Jost oozes skill and is a natural goal scorer. At the John Reid Memorial tournament in St. Albert, Jost produced 10 goals and added four assists in only 6 games. Those kind of results were typical for Jost, who notched 77 goals and 79 assists in total of 49 games this season.
In an interview posted on the team’s website, the Silvertips Head Scout, Bil La Forge, had this to say about Jost: “He has excellent ability with and without the puck, and his greatest strength is his hockey sense.”
If he can add some size and weight next year in major midget, he could soon become a force on the wing for the Silvertips.
At #8, the Seattle Thunderbirds selected defenseman Dante Fabbro, captain of the Burnaby Winter Club Bantam A1 team. At 170 lbs, the Coquitlam native still needs to grow into his 6’0 frame, but his hockey sense is already full grown.
“We really like him as a player,” said T-Birds Director of Player Personnel Colin Alexander. “He’s a impact defenseman who is very competitive and when you combine skill and competitiveness you get a special player.”
Dante is not a common name, but it was today in the first round, as Dante Hannoun, captain of the North Shore Winter Club Bantam A1 was selected at #11 by the Victoria Royals. Hannoun was the smallest player taken in the first round (5’5, 140lbs), but he often plays like the biggest skater on the ice. He led the Winterhawks to a Bantam Tier 1 provincial title earlier this spring.
Hannoun can be very effective offensively – he tallied 63 goals and 88 assists in 63 games this season – but his best attribute may be his leadership. Hannoun is always the first player on Twitter pumping his team’s tires after a win and can be seen constantly encouraging his teammates both on and off the ice.
At #13, the Prince Albert Raiders called on Burnaby Winter Club centre Jake Kryski. In a press release, Raiders director of player development Dale Derkatch described what he likes about Kryski, who he had not expected to still be available with the thirteenth pick. “He is a skilled centreman and a great skater,” said Derkatch. “His best attributes are his hockey sense and skill mixed with his great work ethic.”
Kryski was a goal-a-game and an assist-a-game player for the BWC Bruins, with 59G and 59A in 58GP. Even as a first round pick, there is certainly no roster spot simply waiting for him in PA once he’s sixteen. Kryski will in fact have to work hard just to carve out a spot at the midget level with the BCMML champions, the North West Giants, who are already gifted down the middle.
Calgary stepped up with the #18 pick and selected Penticton’s Beck Malenstyn out of the Okanagan Hockey Academy. The 6’0 forward brings a nice balance of skill and toughness, combining 107 points with 108 PIMs in 53 games last season.
The Hitmen’s head scout Dan Bonar added that he was impressed with Malenstyn’s versatility in being able to play any of the forward positions.
Right after Malenstyn was chosen, Kamloops picked the second member of the NSWC Provincial champions squad to be chosen; North Vancouver forward Quinn Benjafield at #19.
We often talk about points per game or points per power play minute, but Benjafield came close a fun metric that I call points per pound. With 132 points scored and only 155 lbs on his frame, Benjafield is a wiry winger who has a knack for scoring. He’ll likely join some of the above names competing for a spot on the NW Giants midget team next season.
Closing out the first round picks from BC was Surrey’s Matt Barberis, who played bantam with the Burnaby Winter Club.
On the same day that the Vancouver Giants landed Tyler Benson with the #1 pick, Barberis risks becoming ‘the other player’ selected in the first round by the Giants (at #20). Someone will need to feed Benson those long stretch passes, and Barberis seems like the perfect candidate. He has a strong sense of when to play set up man and when to make the play himself. He finished last season with 18 goals and 30 assists from the blueline.