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Farwell sticks to his guns for Bantam Draft selections

I'm not feeling creative at all, so we're just going to do this bullet point style.

- The big buzz heading into the draft was whether Seattle would use their #4 overall selection on American phenom Brian Williams. Obviously, Seattle and the rest of the U.S. Division teams (and WHL teams) were pretty scared that Williams would not report or may not report immediately and Williams fell all the way to Tri-City in the 8th round where the Americans took the gamble that Williams might eventually come to the WHL. In a perfect world, I would love to think that Seattle would have been able to convince Williams to report to the Tbirds next season (2011) and selected him with the 4th overall pick but it usually doesn't work that way. I'm totally fine with the Tbirds not taking him with the selection given he obvious risk involved.

- Instead of Williams, Seattle selects another defensemen out of Calgary and this year it is 6'4" Jared Hauf. I don't like the selection, here's why.... Just like every Bantam Draft that has come before this one, none of us really know how these kids will turn out. You're drafting 14 year old kids who haven't finished developing physically or mentally in any way, shape or form. By my estimation, drafting Bantam players is probably 25% skill and 75% luck. The 4th overall selection probably won't make or break your franchise for the next 5 seasons but it can go a long way towards building a solid foundation. Hauf was rated as the 18th best skater available by and 31st by ISS. The top 3 selections were Centers, so if Seattle went into the draft leaning towards taking a defensemen they literally had the pick of the litter and with that selection they selected a kid that was projected to possibly be a 2nd round pick.

Hauf might turn out to be the next Jared Cowen, I have no idea and neither does anyone else... and if Hauf does turn out to be a great player I'll be the first person to congratulate Russ Farwell for making an excellent selection. The problem is that Farwell has now left the door wide open for criticism if this kid doesn't succeed. Just like none of us know whether Hauf will be any good, we also don't know if Joshua Morrissey, Jesse Lees, Kayle Doetzel, Tyler King-Cunningham, Madison Bowey, Keegan Kanzig or Joel Topping will be any good. The problem is that all of those players were rated higher on one or both of the scouting lists going into the draft. So if Hauf doesn't become a very good player and any of these players becomes a star it will be easy for fans to second guess the selection.

- So how did this happen? How did Seattle select the 18th/31st rated skater with the 4th overall selection? Here is my guess... We heard all week that Seattle might have been shopping the 4th overall selection. Farwell must have decided that Hauf was the guy he wanted, the guy he liked and the guy Seattle was going to select no matter what. Knowing that, he knows that he can probably trade down as far as 15th and still have Hauf available to select. When Farwell doesn't get what he wants out of any of the teams below them he decides to just take the guy they like at #4 even if they would have also taken him later in the first round. The fact that Hauf wasn't the top rated defensemen didn't matter to him because that is the player they liked and they weren't going to change the selection just because they had the #4 pick instead of the #15 pick.

Based on this "best guess" I have to give a lot of credit to Farwell for sticking to his guns. They obviously targeted the guy they liked and the guy they wanted and they didn't care one bit whether he was ranked 18th, 31st or 150th. That takes guts... it takes a lot of guts. Let's all hope that it works out. You'll have to excuse me for being just a little bit skeptical given our past track record of draft selections.

- Seattle continued their emphasis on defense by selecting two more defensemen in the 2nd and 3rd rounds to go with a forward in the 3rd round as well. I talked a lot on draft day about the size of the players that Seattle selected and there has been a lot of "fan talk" about how Seattle must be trying to "copy" the Portland model after getting pushed around by the Winterhawks this past season. I wouldn't look too much into the draft selections and think they are trying to "copy" Portland. The fact of the matter is, it really doesn't matter whether you draft tall players or short, fast skaters... they just need to be good hockey players and the size of the player is only one factor in evaluation. I would probably lean more towards the theory that when you draft guys that have already grown into their bodies a little bit you don't have to worry about whether they will grow additionally over the next 3-4 years. So instead of looking at it like Seattle is drafting "size" I would look at it more like they are drafting "established size". Either way... we have to hope they turn into good hockey players. Portland isn't good because they are big, they are good because they are good and they are a tough matchup for Seattle because they are good AND they are big.

- Farwell makes a nice little trade at the end of the draft, giving up their 8th, 9th and 10th round selections to Brandon for their 7th round selection next season. 7th round selections can often come in handy where Seattle really didn't have room on their list for any more draft picks this season and your 8th-10th round picks are less valuable. Brandon needed extra selections this year. Nice trade by Russ.

- Nice to see the Tbirds take a local kid with their second selection in the 7th round, taking Brad LeLievre from Mill Creek. Seattle hasn't had a 7th rounder make the team since Yashar Farmanara, who was drafted in 2002. Wouldn't it be nice to see a local kid playing for the 'Birds. In case you forgot, Tyler Alos was a 6th round selection... so sleep on the possibility that this kid might be pretty darn good.

That's all for now. It will probably get pretty quiet around here for the next few months. Hope everyone has a great summer... Rookie Camp is less than 4 months away.


Anonymous said...

Before you go back into hibernation do you happen to know when the Euro draft is? Yes, I'm just trying to find something hockey related to look forward too!!

Thunnex said...

Tuesday, June 29th is the date of the CHL Import Draft. I will be back by then to see what we get. In some ways the Import Draft will be more interesting because it will have an immediate impact on next season.

Jim said...

Nice commentary, Tyler. Thanks for keeping the hockey fires stoked. Have a great summer yourself.

Anonymous said...

I say this objectively and am neither praising or denegrating the T-birds scouting but perhaps they saw Hauf and some of the other "top" d-men more than this scouting "service" and had Hauf was the #1 guy or best fit for their system. If I recall Hickey was drafted much higher than his "ranking" in his bantam draft year. Tyler Myers was the 5th d-man taken his draft year but is the only one of those d-man in the pros and outside Teubert is probably the only one of the 1st rd d-man picks that year that will be in the NHL long term. I think for that reason you have to go with your gut and not what some "service" says.

Kevin said...

Jacob DeSerres was not signed to an entry level contract and will be eligible for the 2010 draft.

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