CALGARY, AB – The Edmonton Oil Kings continued to stockpile their prospect list with some future talent Thursday at the 2017 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft.
With the 4th overall pick in the draft, General Manager Randy Hansch and his Director of Scouting, Jamie Novakoski, selected forward Jake Neighbours from the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy Bantam Prep.
In 27 games this past season the 5-foot-11, 195-pound Airdrie native accumulated 68 points (27G, 41A) and 16 PIM. He also added five goals and six helpers in five playoff games.
“He is a kid that has a lot of intangibles to his game,” said Novakoski. “He is a guy that you want on the ice whether you are up a goal or need a goal. He plays a heavy 200 hundred foot game.”
The second round saw the Oil Kings take two players. With the 26th overall pick the team selected defenceman Logan Dowhaniuk from the Camrose Red Wings Bantam AAA team.
Dowhaniuk, who stands at 5-foot-10 and 172-pounds, was the captain for the Red Wings and put up a staggering 56 points (27G, 29A) in 36 games. The Camrose native also chipped in with two helpers in the Alberta Cup for Team Northeast.
“He is a leader and leads by example, “said Novakoski. “He has a great shot from the point that always seems to get through and it’s also a heavy shot.”
Their other second round pick (36th overall) was goaltender Sebastian Cossa. The 6-foot-4 Cossa hails from Fort McMurray, AB and led the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League (AMBHL) in GAA (1.80) and save percentage (.934%) as well as putting up a 15-4-0 record with five shutouts.
“He is a big goaltender that led his team to the provincial championship this year. He has a lot of upside for sure.”
Edmonton went just a few minutes north of Edmonton for their third round pick (48th overall) in taking centre Raphael Pelletier from the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers Bantam AAA squad.
Pelletier is a smaller skilled forward who put up some big numbers this past year with the Rangers. In 36 games the 5-foot-9, 140-pound St. Albert, AB native scored 23 goals and added 29 assists for 52 points. He also collected 15 points (11G, 4A) in 14 playoff games.
“He is a smaller guy but he sure brings a lot of energy and skill. I’ve seen him score some big goals this season. He is a very responsible player.”
Round four was forward Tyler Horstmann from the Delta Hockey Academy Wild Bantam Prep. Horstmann, who is 5-foot-10 and 149-pounds, played in 30 games collecting 28 points (16G, 12A). He also scored twice and added four assists in five playoff games.
“Tyler plays an honest two-way game and can contribute up front as well.”
Defenceman Chase Lacombe was Edmonton’s fifth round pick (101st overall). Lacombe is a 5-foot-11, 172-pound blueliner from Moose Jaw, SK and in 29 games he had 13 points (5G, 8A).
“Chase is a two-way guy that can make a good first pass and he takes care of his end first.”
The Oil Kings rounded out their 2017 draft selecting forward Brendan Kuny (7th round, 136th overall); defenceman Logan Holm (8th round, 158th overall) and forward Jalen Luypen (9th round, 180th overall).
Novakoski said all these players could not have been selected if it hadn’t been for the tireless effort of his scouting team.
“I think we added some depth at every position so we are very happy. You cant say enough about the scouts. The amount of hours they spend in rinks, on the road, in their cars is certainly greatly appreciated. It is one thing to watch the kids on the ice, but in the background and all the stuff we do to prepare goes a long way.”