Friday, May 6, 2016

Rockets/Rebels deal to get 11th overall selection

Rockets goalie prospect Roman Basran
  • The Kelowna Rockets made a bold move at the Western Hockey League bantam draft, one the team believes will pay off in the not so distant future. The Rockets, with an abundance of third round picks heading into Thurday's draft (4 in total), used one of them to move from 20th overall to 11th in the opening round. By trading a third round pick to Red Deer, who held the 11th overall pick, and giving the Rebels the 20th overall selection, the Rockets were able to move nine spots before drafting Yorkton, Saskatchewan born Kaedan Korczak. The 15 year-old (turned 15 in January) didn't play bantam hockey, but was a defenceman with the Yorkton Maulers of the Saskatchewan Midget Hockey League this past season. Korczak is the first Saskatchewan born defenceman taken in the opening round of the bantam draft since Luke Schenn (Saskatoon) was taken in 2004. 
  • As bold of a move as plucking Korczak with the 11th overall pick, I sure liked Director of Player Personnel Lorne Frey using a third rounder on a goalie. This may seem like a no brainer, but the Rockets traditionally do not take a goaltender this high in the draft. In fact they never have, outside of choosing Josh Lepp 4th overall in 2000. That pick didn't exactly go as planned as Lepp struggled throughout his career and was eventually traded to the Moose Jaw Warriors. Since then, Frey has been very apprehensive at taking a goalie early in the draft. But even an old dog can learn new tricks. Frey elected to take 14 year-old Delta, BC born goalie Roman Basran in the third round. Jackson Whistle was a third round pick, but he was chosen by the Vancouver Giants. The last significant goalie taken in that range of the bantam draft was Jordon Cooke, who was selected in the 4th round in 2008 and Kris Westblom, who was also taken in the 4th round in 2002. While 17 year-old Brodan Salmond is next in line after Michael Herringer to take over the number one goaltending duties with the Rockets, look for Basran to push Salmond for significant ice time in two years time.  

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