Kamloops Blazers Draft Review

5th Overall: Logan Stankoven – Yale Lions

Arguably one of the best all-around offensive threats available in the draft. Stankoven was our consensus top ranked forward in our year end draft guide. A slick playmaking forward who blends outstanding vision and skill with the puck, along with the threat of being able to score from anywhere into a deceptive highly productive forward. A bit diminutive in size but he makes up for it with his strength on the puck and his ability to roll of checks. A powerful skater who can be evasive with the puck on his stick. Loves to play with creativity. Has the potential to be a Trey Fix-Wolansky style of player, could be a top five scorer one day in the WHL.

27th Overall: Logan Bairos – Saskatoon Stallions

Had a great second half of the season with the Stallions, playing with more confidence and precision with the puck. A two-way defender with heads up puck moving abilities and a productive transitional game. Able to locate and hit targets in the neutral zone with his passes. Evasive under pressure and knows how to create space for himself with simple edgework plays. Stays calm in all areas of the game, self-aware in all three zones. Likely moulds into a well-rounded 2/3 defender on a WHL blue line.

49th Overall: Caedan Bankier – BWC Academy

One of the more consistent players on the BWC Academy team, Bankier’s stock took off after a showcase in Edmonton in late November. A dependable two-way pivot who exhibits similar tools and pace to a player like Davis Koch. He has slick puck handling abilities and has shown that he can create offense on his own. A long controlled stride that is efficient. Bankier has the potential to be that middle six center who plays a versatile role.

93rd Overall: Matthew Seminoff – BWC Academy

One of the hardest working combatants in this year’s draft class, Seminoff may lacks size but makes up for it with his compete and strength. His birthday is less than a week from making him a prospect in this year’s WHL draft. He attacks defenders with deceptive footwork and compacts puck controls. Hard to knock off the puck as he protects it well and plays heavy on his feet. Shifty and crafty in open ice and has an accurate shot that he can get off under pressure. He has a tonne of upside to his game and could a similar style of game to a player like Ty Ronning.

137th Overall: Luke Rybinski – St. Georges Academy

A big physical defender who is hard to play against. He has strong physical abilities in corners that allow him to shutdown speedy opposition. His skating lacks a bit but he loves to step up on players in between the blue lines and has excellent body positioning in his defensive zone. Simple/purposeful with the puck on his stick, looks to utilize a simple d to d play in transition. Has all the physical and defensive tools to be an effective defensive defender.

139th Overall: Brayden Ross – Campbell River

Had a strong BC Cup performance in April that really caught our scout’s eyes. A gritty stay at home defender who is tough to play against in corners and loves to throw his weight around. He relies in the d to d option when he has the puck. Boxes out well in front and can tie up sticks. A hard-nosed style of game that could turn him into a gritty defensive defender.

151st Overall: Karter McNarland – Saskatoon Generals

Was one of the top scoring players in the SBAAHL last season, posting 65 points in 23 games with the Saskatoon Generals. A diminutive creative forward who blends precision skating with slick puck handling abilities. He can create offense on his own and make players around him better. Should play at the highest Midget level this next season.

159th Overall: Josh Wessels – Seafair Islanders

Winning the Western Canadian Bantam Championships this past season, Wessels played a crucial role on that team. A bigger defender with a stay at home style of game. Plays fairly simplistic and can assert himself physically when he wants to. A project player who has upside to his game.

176th Overall: Benjamin Palmersheim – Anaheim Jr. Ducks Bantam AAA

The only American selected by Kamloops this past season, Palmersheim posted 11 points in 12 games with the Anaheim Jr Duck u14 team.

181st Overall: Oliver Gabrielson – St. Georges Varsity

A heavy defender who makes up for lack of size with strong physical play and awareness with the puck on his stick. Loves to be mobile on the blue line and possesses a bomb. Can impact the game with a big hit every now and then. Assertive defensively and closes in on guys quickly. A compact skater who isn’t overly quick but keeps his feet moving in all three zones. Likely an Elite 15s kid this next season.

Prospects:

C:

Logan Stankoven (2003)

Josh Pillar (2002)

Caedan Bankier (2003)

Reese Belton (2002)

Colby Feist (2002)

RW:

Jarrod Semchuk (2002)

Matthew Seminoff (2003)

Josh Doan (2002)

John Evans (2002)

Riley Ginnell (2002)

Nate Hinds (2002)

Karter McNarland (2002)

Jerzy Orchard (2001)

Zack Smith (2001)

LW:

Kalen Ukrainetz (2002)

Ethan Ironside (2002)

Daylan Kuefler (2002)

Kyrell Sopotyk (2001)

RD:

Logan Bairos (2003)

Jimmy Darby (2001)

Oliver Gabrielson (2003)

Brayden Ross (2003)

LD:

Quin Schmiemann (2001)

Trevor Thurston (2002)

Ethan Brandwood (2002)

Noah Kuntz (2002)

Josh Wessels (2003)

Luke Rybinski (2003)

G:

Dylan Garand (2002)

Blake Wood (2001)

Rayce Ramsay (2001)

2018-2019 Thoughts

The Kamloops Blazers were a team with a lot of turnover last season, moving Ondrej Vala and Garrett Pilon to Everett while also making a move that sent Quinn Benjafield to Edmonton at the draft. They will likely be a younger team this year, relying on a strong over age group and youth in there line up to contend for a playoff spot. Dylan Ferguson and Jermaine Loewen are expect to return as two of the 20 year olds in the line-up with Luc Smith expected to fill the final spot. 2017 1st round pick Josh Pillar impressed last year in his opportunities with the team, he is expected to make the opening day roster and fill a top six forward spot by Christmas. Connor Zary is coming off of a strong rookie campaign, his production this season will be crucial for the team’s overall success. They are expected to be a fast skilled team overall with players like Luke Zazula, Connor Zary, Brodi Stuart, Sean Strange, Jackson Shepard, Orrin Centazzo… they are likely going to be a fast team. I’m excited to see who can fill some of the roster voids this year. Players like Zack Smith and Josh Doan will likely contend for spots down the wing, Kalen Ukrainetz is the sleeper for me… I think he could step in as an energy guy as early as next season. Kamloops’s d-core is going to be something to watch. I really liked the pairing of Onyebuchi and Harrison late last season… and with guys like Strange and Zazula taking up minutes, they should be a much improved team on the back end. Dylan Garand is likely the back up this year, he was impressive as an 02 last year with the team and had a great season in Midget Prep. Kamloops will likely milk games out of 2018 first round selection Logan Stankoven, a player who could emerge as the most productive player in the draft with his ability to create offense and make players around him better. Loved the import selectin in Martin Lang who is currently emerging as a top 62 ranked player in the 2018 NHL draft, Lang will likely make an impact as a top six winger who will probably play down Zary’s left side. Overall I would expect the team to likely be in contention for a playoff spot late in the year, they should definitely do damage with their skill up front and divers defensive group.

*Image taken by Allen Douglas of KamloopsThisWeek.com*