37 WHL'ers were taken in the draft, 13 of them coming from the WHL's Eastern division - a great showing to say the least.
I had a chance to get some comments from most of the parties involved. We will start from the top and work our way down.
ZACK SMITH: 3rd round, 79th overall - Ottawa Senators.
Senators Western Regional Scout Bobby Lowes talked about what the like in Smith's game:
" Just before midterm rankings he came on our radar screen. People in Swift Current know he was kind of a 5'11 player in a checking role. Then he came back this year and was close to 6'2 and over 200 pounds. He's always been a competitor. He had a great year, captain of his team, leading scorer, led his team in points on the road and plus/minus. We did a lot of follow up on him. The thing that made everyone else more aware of him is when he went to the Manitoba Moose at the end of the year.
We were aware of him, we thought maybe we could get him in the 4th round eventually. But when he went to Manitoba we knew we would have to step up. Vancouver and a few other teams were trying to jostle for picks before us to get him and we knew that but we hung in there and we're excited, I'm ecstatic
We can put him in Binghamton (AHL) right away and if he keeps developing who knows.
When he proved he can play in the AHL in the playoffs and that proves to us he's probably ready to go."
Zack Smith on being selected by the Sens in round 3:
"I was surprised to say the least. I never expected to go that early and have someone take a chance on me. It's hard to put into words right now.
I heard (Ottawa) was talking to my agent, I never talked to them. I wasn't too sure they had the most interest.
I know the role they will want me to play. If I want play at the next level I will have to be a checker... a guy who can go out there and bump some bodies. I couldn't be happier with that."
Geordie Wudrick - 3rd round, 88th overall - L.A. Kings
"We just got to get him to mature... he's a classic example to me that if you have the right development program you have a real good shot of making a player.
There's a lot to like about this kid but he was to come to play every night and he needs to find and identity out figure out what (type of player) he is. But there's a lot there to work with
He's an interesting kid... his interview was great because he was like an auctioneer (laughs), he goes a 100 miles an hour... we were like "calm down kid" (laughs). My guys were wondering if they should put a bid in or what they should do.
LA Kings Western Regional Scout Brent Mcewen on Wudrick:
We were pleased to get him. I'm surprised we got him (at 88th overall). We had him a little higher but couldn't seem to get to him. When he was there with our pick we were really happy. I think he's a good player now but I think there's an awful lot to him and that he will develop into even a much better player.
Geordie on being drafted in the 3rd round:
"Greatest feeling in my life. I've been through a lot this last year with my best friend passing away it was a bit of a low point in my life... but today is absolutely the greatest day of my life"
The jersey feels great, I'm loving the purple and silver (laughs). I could get use to this pretty easily.
But I have lots to prove. There were 87 players drafted before me. I want to go in July to L.A. and have a really good prospects camp and prove to them that they made a great pick."
I'll have a Dale Wiese and Matt Tassone piece hopefully later today....