Draft Day is almost here.
With the Hitmen gearing up for the WHL Bantam Draft tomorrow morning, Thursday May 2, at 8:30 am in Red Deer, it’s time to take a look back at some facts from past drafts that you may have not known.
Three players from the Hitmen 2018 WHL Bantam Draft class made their debut this past season as Sean Tschigerl (4th), Tyson Galloway (21st) and Zac Funk (43rd) combined for 15 games played. Tschigerl also appeared in four playoff games in the opening round seven-game series against the Lethbridge Hurricanes. All three left quite an impression at just 15-years-old settling into the lineups and showcasing a glimpse into the future with their skills.
Twice Is Nice
With one of the first round picks in this year’s draft being at #13, it’ll mark the third time in franchise history that the Hitmen will select at that spot. The previous two players taken 13th overall were Brett Sonne in 2004 and Brendan Rowinski the following year. Sonne played his entire WHL career with the Hitmen appearing in 232 games finishing with 171 points (89G, 82A) and 61 playoff games racking up 29 points (16G, 13A). The first-rounder was named the WHL Player of the Year in 2008-09 after a 100-point season (48G, 52A) in 62 tilts. Rowinski spent parts of three seasons with the club ending with 116 games played and accumulating 59 points (21G, 38A) before being dealt to Moose Jaw. The two-way centre had his best statistical year in 2009-10 with 61 points in 68 games with the Warriors.
In 2005, the Hitmen had two fourth round picks back-to-back and selected Michael Stone and Martin Jones with the 73rd and 74th picks. The two picks were massive for the franchise as both were key contributors throughout their career and helped lead the Hitmen to a WHL Championship in 2010. Jones went on to become the all-time leader in franchise history for Games Played (148), Wins (108), Minutes Played (8705) and Shutouts (16). Stone meanwhile appeared in 264 games with his 181 points (52G, 129A) ranking 14th all-time in franchise history and his assist mark is good for tenth all-time.
Follow The Leader
Four Hitmen who were selected in the second round of the WHL Bantam Draft went on to become captains of the franchise. Karl Alzner in 2007/08 was drafted in 2003, Ian Schultz in 2009/10 was selected in 2005, Matt Mackenzie in 2010/11 was taken in 2006 and current Hitmen captain Mark Kastelic was drafted in 2014.
Late Round Gems
The early picks aren’t the only ones that produce high end talent as the Hitmen have struck gold with late round picks on numerous occasions.
Brent Krahn Round 8 128 overall – 117 Games Played, 74-29-3, 3.03 GAA .899 SV%
Keith Seabrook Round 6 109 overall – 123 Games Played, 19 Goals, 53 Assists, 72 Points
Cody Sylvester Round 8 168 Overall – 315 Games Played, 97 Goals, 132 Assists, 229 Points
Jaynen Rissling Round 6 129 Overall – 273 Games Played, 23 Goals, 94 Assists, 117 Points
Alex Roach Round 11 224 Overall – 240 Games Played, 35 Goals, 92 Assists, 127 Points
Kenton Helgesen Round 6 132 Overall – 266 Games Played, 34 Goals, 96 Assists, 130 Points
Elliot Peterson Round 11 242 Overall – 166 Games Played, 27 Goals, 49 Assists, 76 Points
Travis Sanheim Round 9 177 Overall – 186 Games Played, 35 Goals, 127 Assists, 162 Points
Riley Fiddler-Schultz Round 7 148 Overall – 53 Games Played, 4 Goals, 7 Assists, 11 Points