19th Overall: Gabe Klassen – Prince Albert Pirates
Portland’s first selection in the 2018 WHL Draft, Klassen led the SBAAHL in scoring with 89 points in 31 games. An instinctive offensive center, Klassen is a catalyst for smart plays with the puck and makes players around him better. Plays a perimeter style of game, but is willing to make complicated passes through traffic. Lacks in size but is elusive with the puck and fearless in corners. Above average skating abilities, his intelligence with the puck on his stick make him a threat every time he is on the ice. A Cole Fonstad like player.
57th Overall: Lochlan Gordan – NAX Academy
Came into the season ranked in our first round, although Gordon veered off a bit at times season and didn’t end up being a first round pick he was still one of the top goalies in his draft class. A composed athletic net minder with above average reflexes and quickness. He needs to be more consistent, at times he could steal games and it looked like nothing would get by him. Had his best games at the Chilliwack tournament and in the John Reid finals. Potential to be a number one if he develops properly.
63rd Overall: Ty Murchison – LA Jr. Kings
One of the most highly touted American born players coming into the draft, Murchison was regarded as a potential first round prospect if he were to fully commit to the WHL. A smooth skating two-way defender who is explosive in his first three steps. Hones the tools of a great puck moving rear end and competes at the high level. Has great mobility and the potential to be a top two defender in the WHL with power play quarterback capabilities.
74th Overall: Chaz Lucius – MNBEL Blackhawks
Arguably the best American born forward in the draft, Lucius played on a team with his younger brother Cruz all season long. He led his team in scoring and was a catalyst for their offensive game. A puck possession based forward who has pro style abilities. Makes smart plays with the puck and manages the play well. Not an explosive player but he can beat you with both playmaking and scoring. Could be a top line WHL player if he commits.
85th Overall: Dawson Pasternak – Winnipeg Hawks
Portland’s first and only selection out of Manitoba. Pasternak played on the WBAAA winning Winnipeg Hawks team last season, posting 45 points in 31 games played. A scoring winger who makes good shooting selection. He adheres to the offensive game, explosive down the wings and sees the ice well.
107th Overall: Ryan McCleary – Swift Current Kabo Broncos
The first Canadian defender that Portland took, McCleary is a talent offensive style defender. He loves to transport the puck on his own, utilizing his speed and skill with the puck. Isn’t a liability defensively as he retreats well defensively and keeps the play to the outside. Lots of upside to his game, potential to be a Will Warm like defender.
109th Overall: Jonah Bevington – OHA Edmonton
A possessive center, Bevington’s impact on the game improved as the season progressed last year. He controls the play down low, utilizes his vision and skill with the puck. Lanky physique and slippery with the puck on his stick. Deceptive and creative as it gets. Felt he deserved to go higher in the draft. A bit of a project pick but Bevington’s upside is through the roof at this age, needs to get bigger and strong as well as developing his defensive game.
129th Overall: Aidan Litke – RHA Academy
Litke’s game flourish in last year’s CSSHL Championships, he posted seven goals in five game and was arguably RHA’s most consistent forward. Litke is a scoring winger who has the physical tools and instinctive ability to score at the next level. Locates ice well in the offensive zone, has excellent body positioning to get quick effective shots off. Heavy on his feet, plays a bigger game and can control the puck well along the perimeter.
173rd Overall: Brody Tallman – Lethbridge Goldenhawks
A physical two-way defender, Tallman’s a player who loves to step up and make big hits to change the momentum of the game. His offensive tools have been there at times last year, transporting the puck well and getting effective shots off from the blue line. Suffocates forwards in his defensive zone and plays that hard-nosed style of game. Needs to work on his consistency.
213th Overall: Parker Murray – LA Jr. Kings
Parker played on a strong LA Jr Kings team last season but his game was overshadowed at times by a line of highly offensive prospects. Murray for me was still someone who I felt could be a great WHL player. He’s a versatile physical winger who can put the puck in the back of the net. Has great physical tools at this age and a late birthday. Would think has a top six to middle six winger if he commits to the WHL.
218th Overall: Max Burkholder – Minnesota
A diminutive defender who plays a bigger game. Fearless when it comes to competing against bigger opposition. Two-way defender with puck moving abilities. A lot of upside to his game, smooth skating really helps his lack of size. Could develop into a top four defender.
Robbie Fromm-Delorme (2002)
Ethan Leyer (2002)
Aidan Litke (2003)
Dawson Pasternak (2003)
Justin Strathopoulos (2002)
Jonah Bevington (2003)
Jackson Nieuwendyk (2002)
James Stefan (2003)
Jaydon Dureau (2001)
Seth Jarvis (2002)
Gabe Klassen (2003)
Matthew Knies (2002)
Tyson Kozak (2002)
Chaz Lucius (2003)
Max Burkholder (2003)
Ethan Edwards (2002)
Ryan Johnson (2001)
Ryan McCleary (2003)
Ryan Miley (2000)
Kade Nolan (2001)
Kurtis Smythe (2002)
Brody Tallman (2003)
Trey Taylor (2002)
Ryan Helliwell (2003)
Dante Giannuzzi (2002)
Evan Fradette (2001)
Lochlan Gordon (2003)
Portland is usually a very strong Western conference team, consistently making playoffs and threating a championship run every year… that is not different with this upcoming season. They lose a lot from there line up last year, Dennis Cholowski, Kieffer Bellows, Skyler McKenzie, Joachim Blichfeld move up to the pro levels while Keoni Texeira, Alex Overhardt and Cole Kehler age out. Being left without there starting goalie, there top defenseman and losing two of its top three scorers from last year… With that being said they still have leading scorer Cody Glass returning hopefully Henri Jokiharju is also likely to return. Ryan Hughes is coming in healthy and looking to return to that 70+ scoring page. John Ludvig is expected to break out this upcoming season as well, he is looked to replace a lot of those minutes lost. Clay Hanus, Jake Gricius, and Ty Kolle are all a year older and expected to being a lot more impactful then they were last year. I’d expect Hanus to be a 20-point defender. The 1998 group seems like it will be Jared Freadrich, Brendan De Jong, and Conor McEachern. Freadrich will be a big minute defender in all areas of the game… The rookie situation as well will be interesting. Kurtis Smythe and Nick Perna should make the team as rookies on the blue line, both will play a smaller role and earn their ice time. One of Evan Fradette or Dante Giannuzzi are expected to be the back-up net minder to Shane Farkas. Upfront 2017 first round pick Seth Jarvis and Cross Hanas headline there 16year old situation. Jayden Dureau is also expected to make the team. My player to watch is Robbie Fromm-Delorme, he has grown a lot physically and as a player, could crack the day 1 roster… The import situation is also interesting, Henri Jokiharju should take up one of the two spots with one of Dean Schwenninger or Michal Kvasnica taking the other spot. I’d bet Kvasnica gets the nod… There 2018 WHL Draft class is something to watch. They added a lot of skilled offensive players. Gabe Klassen has the potential to be an 80-point player in his 18/19-year-old seasons, much like Cole Fonstad. Lochlan Gordon is a great grab, he’s quite raw and has room to be a number 1 net minder. If Chaz Lucius, Ty Murchison, Max Burkholder and Parker Murray commit the class would be arguably best in this draft. All four of those players could be great WHL players. Lucius and Murchison have cornerstone player potential. Pasternak, Tallman, Bevington, McCleary and Litke are likely depth players at the WHL level, all have the potential to make the team in a supporting cast as 17 year olds. I’d expect Portland to be a top three team in their division this year.