2nd Overall: Carson Lambos – RHA Nationals
Our top ranked player coming in the draft class and I think the consensus top player year rounds. Lambos seemed to not only be able to produce this season with his own age group where he had 40 points in 30 games, but also did so when given the opportunity with older/stronger players. Last year he had 38 points at the Bantam Prep level and he also posted 6 points in 7 games with the Midget Preps this season. Even when talks started comparing him to USA top defender Aiden Hreschuk, Lambos elevated his game and put those doubts to rest. Lambos is an assertive two-way defender who does in all on both ends of the rink. Has that powerful wrist show with a deceptive release that he loves to utilize. Great skater who blends his elite mobility with aggressive physicality. Suffocating in his defensive zone. Has had comparisons to a guy like Brent Seabrook. Will be a number one defenseman in the WHL.
26th Overall: Karter Prosofsky – Pacific Coast Sea Devils
Another real solid pick by the Kootenay Ice in a kid who can make an impact on their blue line immediately at age 16. Prosofsky was a standout player on his Pacific Coast Sea Devils Bantam Prep team and really caught our eye early this year. Didn’t produce at the highest rate with only 18 points but his offensive upside is through the roof. Smart with the puck and has the turn and burn mentality. Elite skating abilities and transitional tools. His mobility on the blue line and ability to feed pucks through lanes gives him those power play quarterback upsides. Comes with a late birthday and upside through the roof. Would not be surprised to see him have a similar development path to a guy like Jake Bean.
29th Overall: Skylar Bruce – RHA Nationals
Posted 40 points this past season with the RHA Nationals of the CSSHL, Bruce was the second Winnipeg player Kootenay selected in this year’s draft. Isn’t a big player or powerful player but he impacts the game by just being smarter than other players and processing the game at that elite level. He was worked through on their top power play unit as he is deceptive with the puck but is also dependable with it. Both crafty and creative with the puck. Bruce is definitely a bit of a project as he will need to get bigger, quicker, stronger to play in our opinion, but with how the league is moving we don’t see why he can’t be an impactful top six player.
110th Overall: Nathan Airey – Airdrie Xtreme
Despite not making the Alberta Cup tournament, Airey was still highly regarded as one of the best goalies coming out of Alberta in the 2003 draft class. The relied on starter for the AMBHL champions Airdrie Xtreme, Airey seemed to be able to be that dependable net presence they needed to take the next step. Had no issues with higher competitions like CSSHL teams in tournament plays. An athletic goal keeper who has calmness in his crease and strong positioning. We love to upside to his game and think that he has all the tools to become a WHL goalie for Kootenay in his later teens.
127th Overall: Ethan Sundar – St. Albert Sabres
Led the AMBHL North champions in scoring this past season with 64 points in 36 games, Ethan Sundar was at times the driving force of St. Albert’s dynamic top line. A slick and skilled forward who loves to have the puck on his stick and drive the direction of attack. Crafty with the puck and has the high end skill that allows him to control the puck through lanes in traffic. He was a kid we think could be highly productive if all things work out for him. Could see him being a solid offensive third line player.
149th Overall: Hughie Hooker – Winnipeg Monarchs
In terms of defenders in this year’s draft class who are physically undeveloped but have the instinctive abilities and hockey IQ to be a late blooming impact player at the WHL level, Hughie Hooker might just be atop of that list. Hooker spent this past season with the Winnipeg Monarchs where he put up 35 points in 31 games as a defenseman. A two-way defender who plays with a blend of high end skating abilities and processing of developing plays. Loved the pick as he might be a kid who looks like a steal in 4-5 years.
158th Overall: Evan Waldie – OHA Edmonton
A player who slipped in the draft in our opinions, we had Waldie ranked much higher than where he actually went. Waldie is a scoring winger whose confident and mouth can agitate the other team’s top players. Has a powerful drive to the net and isn’t afraid to bump a goalie. He can play up and down a team’s line up, with top forwards or bottom six forwards and finds ways to impact the game. Loves to score the dirty goals around the net. Potentially a steal as he plays within his limitations and skating seems to be the biggest issue for him.
180th Overall: Kevin Anderson – Notre Dame Hounds
We liked this pick for the Kootenay Ice in the later rounds, Anderson is a dynamic player who doesn’t have the size or strength right now but could develop into a higher productive player in the next couple seasons. Played eight games with the Telus Cup winning Notre Dame Argos and produced well this past season in the CSSHL despite being on a struggling teams. Anderson has that blend of quickness and vision, he can create offense on the rush and improved his awareness to be more responsible defensively. A later round pick who could develop into a middle six winger at the WHL level or be a top scoring junior A player depending on the route he chooses.
202nd: Colby Ball – Sherwood Park Flyers
Despite being a late round selection Colby Ball is still a great prospect to watch for the Kootenay Ice. Ranked in our top 100 for most parts of the year before slipping slightly out on our final list. Colby Ball is a ‘toolsy’ two-way defender whose plays with precision and a confident calm approach. He has great offensive upside, can transport the puck well when he wants to and an under rated shot that gets through. Loves to get in on the offensive game when he sees the opportunity on the blue line. Has a lot of room to grow but we would not be surprised to see Colby play at the Midget AAA level next season.