The Brandon Wheat Kings added more talent to the cupboard on Wednesday morning, drafting eleven new players, including six forwards, four defensemen and one goaltender.
“We’re really excited with the group that we assembled today,” said General Manager Darren Ritchie. “We think we had a great day. Our scouting staff has done a lot of work, this is like Christmas morning for them and they are very happy with the group we got.”
With the thirteenth overall selection, Brandon headed just over the provincial border to take the Captain of the Weyburn AA Bantam Wings, Quinn Mantei.
Mantei, a left-handed defenseman, put up 52 points last season, including 22 goals. In 59 games over two years with the Wings, Mantei scored 25 times and added 56 assists for 81 points.
“Quinn is a great skater and a big mobile defenseman,” said Assistant General Manager Doug Gasper. “He plays a 200 foot game. He has the ability to rush the puck up the ice but also defends well with his feet. We really like his hockey sense and the ceiling is very high for him.”
Mantei has committed to the Moose Jaw AAA Warriors next season.
The Wheat Kings stayed in Saskatchewan for their 2nd round pick, taking forward Trae Johnson of the Martensville AA Marauders.
Johnson, a left winger put up 67 points in 31 games last season, 37 of which were goals.
“Trae is an old throwback,” laughed Gasper. “He can put up points, but he can be a physical presence too. He gives you an honest hard sixty minutes. He is a hard guy to play against based on his size, and his compete level.”
Standing 5’11” and weighing in at 157 lbs, Johnson comes from good hockey bloodlines. His father Dion was a defenseman for the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks from 1991-93. In 167 Junior ‘A’ games, he racked up an incredible 818 penalty minutes.
In the third round, the Wheat Kings took a smaller forward in Teydon Trembecky from the Northern Alberta Prep program. The former AAA Bantam Champion with the Fort. Saskatchewan Rangers, amassed 44 points in 30 games last season.
Trembeck averaged 1.47 points per game this past season after transferring to the NAX program.
“We really liked Teydon’s second half of the season,” added Gasper. “He really took off after Christmas. He’s another guy who gives you a hard sixty minutes. He’s a good skater and he’s not afraid to play with the big boys. This guy drives the net hard and plays everywhere on the ice.”
With the 79th overall selection, the Wheat Kings took a teammate of Trembecky in Eastyn Mannix. The Wainwright, AB native is already 6’0” tall at age 15 and is coming off a solid season, with 15 points in 30 games from the back end.
“Eastyn is a stay at home defenseman with a bit of an offensive touch,” said Gasper. “He defends well, and his skating is ever improving. We like the projection with Eastyn and the direction he is headed.”
Brandon's 5th round pick originally belonging to the Kelowna Rockets was used to take goaltender Carter Capton from the Yale Academy.
Capton, who turns 15 on July 20th already stands 6’3” and wraps up his first season with Yale with a 2.25 GAA and a .903 SVP.
“Carter plays in all the big games. When there is a game on the line or a must win situation, Carter is in the net. He is a competitive guy and for a big kid he moves well laterally.”
Holding Vancouver’s 7th round pick from the Ty Ettinger trade, the Wheat Kings added some size on the back end, taking Oakley Mcilwain from the Lloydminster Bantam Bobcats.
Mcilwain already stands 6’3” and weighs over 200 pounds.
The stay at home defenseman put up 10 points and 60 PIMS in 29 games last year, while breaking out for six points in eight playoff games.
“Not only does Oakley have size, but he can skate too,” added Gasper. “Sometimes with a bigger guy they lumber around and are a bit slow but not Oakley, he gets around the ice easily. He’s got a great first pass and he’s a hard defender with a lot of edge to his game.”
The Wheat Kings stayed at home in the 7th round, taking Winnipeg Sharks forward Hayden Chalenor.
Chalenor scored 45 goals in 36 games and finished the season with 77 points. He also added seven points in three playoff games.
“Hayden is not the biggest guy but he has a huge heart. He will give you the purest sixty minute effort you will ever see. He is a fearless kid and will play in the hardest, roughest games and enjoy every second of it.”
In the 8th round, the Wheat Kings went back to Saskatchewan taking Jeter Korte of the Saskatoon Maniacs.
The smaller playmaking forward registered 51 points in 31 games, 38 of which were assists.
He also appeared in one game for the Saskatoon Contacts in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA League.
“Jeter’s hockey IQ is impressive, and in fact we were surprised he was around for us at that pick,” added Gasper. “He skates well and is a smart hockey player. He creates offense and can drive a line.”
With the first of two picks in the 9th round, the Wheat Kings stayed in Manitoba, adding forward Evan Groening from the RINK Academy.
Groening, originally from Niverville, registered 18 points in 29 games last season.
“Evan plays hard and a high paced game. He’s not a big man but he loves playing in the dirty areas and going to the net. He is another guy that gives you an honest full sixty minutes. As you can sense a theme here, we really wanted guys who are going to compete hard and play with pace.”
The second pick in the 9th round saw GM Darren Ritchie and his staff head back into Saskatchewan to take Noah Asmundson from White City.
The forward played last season with the AA Prairie Storm, scoring 23 times and adding 28 assists.
“Noah had a really strong second half,” added Gasper. “He plays hard, he battles for pucks, he’s first on the puck, finishes his checks and is developing an offensive touch. He does the heavy lifting on a line and competes hard.”
WIth their final pick of the day, the Wheat Kings once again stayed in Manitoba, taking Thomas Stewart of the RINK Academy.
Stewart, joins teammate Evan Groening as the 2nd player from RHA to hear their name called by the Wheat Kings.
The defenseman from Winnipeg averaged a point per game last season, finishing with 29 points in 28 games.
“Thomas is well rounded. He does a lot of things well. He can move the puck, lead the rush and get pucks through. He has a bite of an edge to his game and we think he’s a well rounded player.”
Brandon took a pass at pick 233, wrapping up another successful Bantam Draft.
“We had a good day today,” added Gasper. “We added some pieces that are going to blend very well with our ‘03 and ‘04 group. We got some guys with character and grit and we got players who we feel are Brandon Wheat Kings. They don’t quit, they battle and it’s a great mix of skill and grit.”
Draft picks are normally welcomed to Brandon in the spring for Prospects Camp, but due to the current Covid-19 restrictions, plans for a camp have not been put in place as of yet.
Brandon Wheat King Selections
1st Round (13th Overall) - (D) Quinn Mantei | Weyburn AA Wings
2nd Round (35th Overall) - (F) Trae Johnson | Martensville AA Marauders
3rd Round (57th Overall) - (F) Teydon Trembecky | Northern Alberta Prep
4th Round (79th Overall) - (D) Eastyn Mannix | Northern Alberta Prep
5th Round (96th Overall) Via Kelowna - (G) Carter Capton | Yale Academy
7th Round (142nd Overall) Via Vancouver - (D) Oakley Mcilwain | Lloydminster Bobcats
7th Round (145th Overall) - (F) Hayden Chalenor | Winnipeg Sharks
8th Round (167th Overall) - (F) Jeter Korte | Saskatoon Maniacs
9th Round (177th Overall) Via Swift Current - (F) Evan Groening | RINK Academy
9th Round (189th Overall) - (F) Noah Asmundson | Prairie AA Storm
10th Round (211th Overall) - (D) Thomas Stewart | RINK Academy
Seattle Thunderbirds | 2nd Round (29th Overall) - Brayden Dube (Roblin, MB)
Regina Pats | 4th Round (74th Overall) - Ty Plaisier (Virden, MB)
Lethbridge Hurricanes | 7th Round (148th Overall) - Aiden Ziprick (Russell, MB)
Everett Silvertips | 7th Round (153rd Overall) - Kyan Grouette (Dauphin, MB)
Spokane Chiefs | 8th Round (172nd Overall) - Carter Zalischuk (Dauphin, MB)
Red Deer Rebels | 9th Round (182nd Overall) - Ben Roulette (Rivers, MB)
Everett Silvertips | 9th Round (197th Overall) - Carter Dittmer (Brandon, MB)
Portland Winterhawks | 9th Round (198th Overall) - Aiden Sotas (Birtle, MB)
Winnipeg ICE | 10th Round (212th Overall) - Foxx McColl (Elkhorn, MB)