The Swift Current Broncos are preparing for the NHL Entry Draft set for Los Angeles this weekend. CHL teams use the draft to try and help sort out the CHL Import Draft situation which falls next week.
Teams will talk to player agents and representatives to see who's willing to come over and play Canadian Major Junior Hockey.
As for the Broncos, G Joni Ortio continues to be their protected property. The Finnish goaltender who was drafted by the Calgary Flames didn't come over last year and honestly I don't know his status for the season ahead. This would be his 19 year-old season.
It's one of the questions I'll ask Broncos Head Coach / GM Mark Lamb as we do an Import draft preview later this week.
I'd expect the Broncos to be using both of their picks.
Can the streak continue?
The Swift Current Broncos are the only team in the WHL to have a player taken in the NHL draft every year since their return to the city in 1986.
There's been some close calls since I've been covering it. I remember in Ottawa where the Calgary Flames used their last pick in the final round to take D Myles Rumsey 221st overall.
Then in Vancouver in 2007 where D Paul Postma and D Ryan Molle where drafted in the final round 205th and 207th overall to Atlanta and New Jersey.
There's been some big years too. In 2008 Columbus the Broncos had four players taken when Zack Smith (OTT), Geordie Wudrick (LA), Dale Weise (NYR), and Matt Tassone (DAL) got the call.
So.... can the Broncos keep the streak alive this year?
Its going to be tight. Forwards Justin Dowling and Taylor Vause have received the most attention.
Dowling was passed over in his draft eligible year last summer but a productive season may have a team take him late. If that's the case expect a contract offer and for Dowling to play out his final WHL eligible season somewhere in the pro ranks.
I will have some of J.D.'s thoughts hopefully tomorrow on the upcoming draft.
F Taylor Vause has a shot too. He battled some health problems which hopefully are behind him for the most part moving forward. He could be a late round selection also.------------
Former Bronco Zack Smith will host a golf tournament next month in Maple Creek. The flood ravaged community has been dealt a pretty bad hand by mother nature.
The Maple Creek native will be the host for the tourney set for July 17th. I'll have more details on this when we speak again.
Zack is presently in Ottawa for a Senators conditioning camp.
I'm expecting the Broncos to release some sort of a tentative schedule later this week. When they do, I'll try and post the info.
Broncos PR/Media Relations Coordinator Keegan Goodrich has gone back to Vancouver for his wedding coming up this weekend. Congrats to Keegan and Amanda.