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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Fabbro chooses Penticton, for now. Why that might be ok for Seattle but not for him.

The Penticton Vees just announced that they have signed Seattle's 1st round pick Dante Fabbro for the upcoming 2014-15 season.

This, of course, is unfortunate news for Seattle fans but it isn't necessarily the end of the world. Fabbro could still wind up in Seattle in the same way that Ryan Gropp did who bailed on Penticton after one season and 10 games and came to Seattle for 59 games this year and registered a very respectable 42 points.

For Seattle, this could turn out just fine. Their defensive core will be pretty deep in the 14-15 season and even though Fabbro would have likely slotted into a top 6 role as a 16 year old, he may not have seen the kind of ice time that he may see playing for Pentiction (although that remains to be seen). If he winds up coming to Seattle for his 17 year old season, Shea Theodore will be gone and it would be uncertain whether Jarret Smith and/or Jared Hauf would still be around as 20 year olds.

However, the situation isn't exactly the same for Fabbro and I'm afraid he may have just made a costly career mistake.  I understand that there are players these days (parents in particular) that want to keep the college route open as an option but I've been pretty consistent with my opinion that it just doesn't make any sense for high draft picks. If you are a 7th round bantam choice and you have no guarantees of even making a WHL club, keep your options open and go hit Junior "A". Hit the weight room, grow another 2-6" and you can always jump to the WHL or accept a college scholarship and go that route. I have no problem with NCAA College hockey but it makes a lot more sense for late developing hockey players.

Two things make his situation very different from that of Ryan Gropp's.

In the case of Gropp, he had a late birthday and isn't eligible for the NHL draft until 2015. He played half of his 17 year old season and will play all of his 18 year old season before he will get drafted. His year in Penticton seemed to stall his growth and it took him a natural adjustment period to get acclimated to the higher quality WHL game.

Even if Fabbro comes to Seattle next season he will likely have to endure the same adjustment period that a player like Gropp went through (and most players). Fabbro will have to make the league adjustment very quickly and thrive in only one year before becoming draft eligible. Impossible? No. Difficult? Yes.

Yes, I realize players can go to Junior "A" and still wind up being high draft picks. In the 2013 draft, 22 of the 30 1st round picks were from the CHL. In the 2nd round, 19 of 31 (and in full disclosure, more NCAA and lower level league picks). 7 players were drafted out of the BCHL with the highest being Adam Tambellini towards the front of the 3rd round. Tambellini, of course, wound up in the WHL this year after leaving the University of North Dakota after playing in 16 games.

Again, if I was an undersized and a lower drafted player out of Bantam's I would absolutely consider the Junior "A" and NCAA route but if I'm a high pick who has the potential to be one of the top picks in the 2016 NHL Draft, I'm going to the WHL as soon as I possibly can and I wouldn't even consider any other route.

I hope it works out for him and I hope he winds up in Seattle. Who knows... perhaps he dominates in Penticton, raises his draft stock and keeps it there either in Seattle or Penticton. I just think the risk is massive.


Bantam Draft 2014 Updates

I will update this throughout the day as the picks happen.

Seattle kicked off their 2014 Bantam Draft by selecting Defenseman Jarret Tyszka from Langley, BC.

I can't say I'm terribly surprised. Seattle has a well documented history of drafting players with "size" and Tyszka certainly fits that mold at 6'1" and 165 lbs.

Also not surprising that Portland selected a 5'9" 138 lb Center.

A few links on the newest Tbird Tyszka.

- Follow him on twitter - @JarretTyszka_11
- Recently won Defenseman of the tournament at the Kamloops International Bantam Tournament - Link
- Colin Alexander describes him "Jarret is a big, mobile defenseman with a very nice combination of size and mobility. He has a physical presence on the ice, with strong offensive skills who could develop into a good two-way defenseman."
- Tyszka posted 27 goals and 47 assists in 68 (or 28... not sure) games with the Langley Eagles Bantam A1 team this past season.
- Some video of Tyszka scoring an overtime winner.
- Western Elite Hockey had him ranked 21st overall on their list.

In the 2nd round, Seattle selected LW Matthew Wedman from Edmonton. Wedman is 6'0" and 165.

- Follow him on twitter - @m_weds
- 33 goals and 40 assists for the SSAC Lions AAA team in 33 games this past year.
- Russ Farwell on Wedman "Matthew is a big, physical forward with good offensive skills and was a prolific scorer in Alberta Major Bantam League."
- Mid-Season Second Team Alberta All-Star by Western Elite.

In the 5th round Seattle selects Wyatt Bear (@14_wyatt) and Ian Briscoe (@BriscoeIan)

- Bear is another player with size at 6'2" and 207 lbs. Briscoe is smaller at 5'8" and 141
- Elite Prospect profiles for Bear and Briscoe
- Colin Alexander on Wyatt Bear "Wyatt is a big power forward with top end skill and hockey sense."
- Mark Romas on Ian Briscoe "Ian is a very skilled, speedy forward who is always engaged in the play. He is a very competitive player."

In the 6th round Seattle goes back to the pipeline in Colorado and selects Baker Shore (da_bakeshow), 5'7" and 160 lbs and played for the Colorado Thunderbirds last season.

- Has 3 brothers who have been NHL drafted including Drew Shore who played 24 games for the Panthers this past season.
-  Nick Shore played for the Manchester Monarchs and Quentin Shore played in college for the Denver Pioneers.

In the 7th round Seattle selects MacKenzie Wight (@mackwight91), a RW from Burnaby who played for the Burnaby Winter Club (same team as Barzal and Fabbro). He is listed at 5'11" and 165 lbs.

8th round... where I start to care less and less... Seattle selects Reece Harsch (@HarschReece) a Defenseman from Grande Prairie, AB and is listed at 6'2" and 180 lbs.

9th round... John Ormsby (can't confirm) and Reginald Pohl (@regpohl16 and only 3 followers).

- Ormsby, a Forward is out of California and listed at 5'9.5" and 150 lbs. Edit: The WHL website lists him as being from California but he is actually from Monroe per Nick Patterson.
- Pohl is a RW is from Douglas, MB and listed at 6'1.5" and 186 lbs.

10th round and Seattle is still going... selecting Hunter Bancroft (@hbancroft30) from Greeley, CO and playing for... you guessed it... the Colorado Thunderbirds (shocker I know). Listed at 5'11" and 160 lbs.

Round 11 and Seattle has passed and ended their 2014 Bantam Draft. Whew.

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