Junior A / Tier II
Zac Dalpe/Penticton: I think he goes in the last half of the first round, although I know I'm higher on him than the consensus of NHL scouts. Could slide out of the 1st, but I think he'd get snapped up in the first few picks of the 2nd if he does.
Justin Schultz/Westside: There are some NHL teams that are seriously overrating this guy. I have this nagging thought in the back of my mind that some team could shock everyone and grab this guy in the late 1st round. Otherwise, my bet is he's sure to go in the 2nd.
Derek Grant/Langley: A bit of a wildcard. Some NHL team might overlook the somewhat soft play and really like his hands and skating stride. I think 2nd round is unlikely but not totally out of the question. Otherwise I think 3rd or 4th round is most likely.
Rich Manley/Burnaby: Wildcard for me, especially since I only got to see him once. Big bodies that move this well can tend to sneak up on draft day, but my guess at best case for him is no higher than the 3rd.
Taylor Stefishen/Langley: Came into the season as the top BCHL pro prospect, but got passed up by a bunch of guys. Still has a ton of creative skill, so he'll go somewhere. I think he slides a little bit and could be a middle or late rounder.
Eric Filiou/Nanaimo: Might be a player than only I like, but if some NHL team sees him as I do, he'll be a pick anywhere after the 5th round.
Brodie Reid/Burnaby: Big breakout season for the '89 winger, so he could go with a late pick.
Others: Salmon Arm C Derek Lee probably has a decent chance of getting his name called. He'd be higher if he handled the physical game a bit better at his size. Salmon Arm D Damon Kipp is a personal favourite of mine, but he may not be on any team's list. Same goes for Penticton C Denver Manderson, so he's unlikely to go. Smallish Vernon F Kellen Jones had an outstanding season and might have an outside chance at going. Nanaimo's undrafted '89 LW Russell Goodman showed up on Central's list again, but I doubt he showed enough improvement in his skating or overall game to end up being picked.
Looking Ahead to 2009: There are no real standouts for next year yet, but there are always several surprises emerging from the BCHL. Westside G Nathan Leiuwen will probably be headed to the WHL with Kootenay, but if he spends another year in Westbank, he'll be the clear cut top NHL prospect in the BCHL next year. Another player to watch is Victoria F Cam Reid. Prince George G Damien Ketlo will try to earn a spot in the WHL with the Regina Pats and will be on the radar for NHL scouts wherever he plays.
Joe Colborne/Camrose: Certain first rounder, and probably right in the middle near the 15th pick. I'm hearing there may be a team or two drafting near the end of the first that are trying to move up to pick him. In any case, it seems unlikely he slide lower than the 16th-18th overall range.
Tyler Gron/Fort McMurray: Passed on in last year's draft, but was one of the youngest players eligible last year. Not on my list, but Central probably isn't alone in having him on their list. Could be a late rounder.
Mike Connolly/Camrose: A favourite of the Red Line staff, and I don't think we're alone. Guys with a lot of heart are just the kind of player NHL scouts like to reward with a late round pick, even if they don't think he's much of a pro prospect. I think he might go in the last couple rounds, but it won't shock me if he does go at all.
Andrew Macwilliam/Camrose: I think NHL scouts are manufacturing a player if they think he's worth a pick, but I know there are teams with him on their list. Could go in the last few rounds.
Others: Spruce Grove D Kevin Connauton has decent size and brings some offense and from the blueline, so he could go in the last half of the draft. F Shawn Ostrow is another Camrose player who got lots of exposure, and his production this year may be enough for him to be a late pick. St. Albert RW Bryce Williamson, Calgary Canucks D Kodie Curran, Drayton Valley F Andrew Cherniwchan, and Bonnyville D Steven Seigo could get a look from some team.
Looking Ahead to 2009: Camrose D Dylan Olsen is already in my 2nd round, and he has a ton of upside. He might be the best Jr. A prospect in western Canada heading into next season. Sherwood Park D Rory Connop will be on the radar, if only because of his massive size.
The SJHL may have produced the Junior A champion, but as usual, they'll be lucky to produce many NHL picks. Notre Dame C Rylan Schwartz is the league's best shot at a pick. He's headed for Colorado College and has a fair amount of skill despite his smallish size.
Besides Schwartz, there isn't much to get exicted about. Weyburn D Stephen Simms, Melfort D Tommy Brown, and Notre Dame F Travis Janke were the only other players that even looked somewhat interesting in my book.
Another bleak year in the often-bleak Manitoba league. There's no real likely picks. Winnipeg South Blues D Andrew Hewett and Selkirk D Darren Bestland both offer quite a bit of toughness, and might be the MJHL's best chance at having a player or two drafted. Swan Valley F Stephan Vigier can put up the points, but is very smallish. Winkler D Caleb Suderman is an '89 that could also draw some interest. And Beausejour D Derek Robinson might have impressed somebody at the Jr. A Challenge enough to be a on a list, but I doubt it.