2023 U.S. & WHL Prospects Draft Preview
Regina, Sask. — Draft season is nearly upon us, and that means it’s an exciting time for the Regina Pats as they take part in Wednesday’s U.S. Priority Draft and Thursday’s WHL Prospects Draft. Real-time results will be available at https://whl.ca/draft as well as reginapats.com.
Below are the Pats selections for both the 2023 U.S. Priority Draft as well as the WHL Prospects Draft. Both drafts will begin at 10:00 a.m., MDT.
2023 U.S. Priority Draft
2023 WHL Prospects Draft
2022 WHL Prospects Draft
The 2022 WHL Prospects Draft was a successful draft for the Pats organization, as the club has already signed their top five picks in Cole Temple who was selected fifth overall as well as Corban Almen, Brayden Smith, Wyatt Stinton and Cruz Chase. The Pats finished that draft with five forwards, two defencemen and one goalie.
Cole Temple had an impressive 15-year-old season with the Brandon Wheat Kings U18 AAA program, winning the Manitoba U18 Rookie of the Year award in 2022-23 as well as second team all-star, scoring 58 points (25G-33A). Meanwhile, Corban Almen and Brayden Smith helped the Saskatoon Blazers U18 AAA team to a Saskatchewan U18 AAA Championship, with Almen gathering 39 points (18G-21A) in 39 games and Smith picking up 14 points (2G-14A) in 36 games.
Fifth round pick Wyatt Stinton produced 19 goals and 17 assists for 36 points in 23 games in 2022-23 due to various injuries, but still managed to add six points (5G-1A) in five playoff games, securing the CSSHL U16 Championship. Seventh round selection Cruz Chase went 3-13-2 in 18 appearances this past season, posting a 4.21 goals-against average and a .883 save percentage.
|RD||OVR||PLAYER NAME||POS||HT||WT||DOB||HOMETOWN||CURRENT TEAM|
|1||5||Cole Temple||C||5-9||150||03/20/2007||Brandon, MB||Brandon Wheat Kings U18 AAA|
|2||31||Corban Almen||F||5-11||170||08/27/2007||Saskatoon, SK||Saskatoon Blazers U18 AAA|
|3||53||Brayden Smith||D||6-0||165||04/16/2007||Saskatoon, SK||Saskatoon Blazers U18 AAA|
|5||102||Wyatt Stinton||F||5-8||132||01/20/2007||Flin Flon, MB||RHA Winnipeg U16|
|7||136||Cruz Chase||G||5-11||161||10/16/2007||Airdrie, AB||Airdrie CFR Bisons U18 AAA|
|7||141||Samuel Laplante||D||6-1||165||01/14/2007||Okotoks, AB||IHA U17 Prep|
|8||163||Owen Nelson||F||6-0||146||05/31/2007||Prince Albert, SK||Prince Albert Mintos U18 AAA|
|9||185||Kelsen Podworny||F||6-0||165||02/04/2007||Onoway, BC||RHA Kelowna U17|
“I think we’ve gotten some really good players from that age group,” Regina Pats Director of Scouting Dale McMullin said. “It’s like every year, they have to keep doing their part. They seem to be all good individuals as far as their character and doing their part to improve and get better.”
FULL LIST OF PATS ALL-TIME DRAFT PICKS
Although the Pats do not have a pick in the first two rounds of the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft, the club has had success with later picks in their history, with several of them turning into productive players in the WHL and with Regina.
Here are a few examples of late round picks that the Pats have developed under General Manager and Head Coach John Paddock and Director of Scouting Dale McMullin.
2020 WHL Prospects Draft
2019 WHL Prospects Draft
2018 WHL Prospects Draft
2017 WHL Prospects Draft
2016 WHL Prospects Draft
2015 WHL Prospects Draft
The players listed above are all players that were selected by the Pats from the third to the 10th round and went onto have a successful WHL career. Some later picks that are still on the Pats roster are Tanner Howe, Zane Rowan, Braxton Whitehead, Brayden Barnett and Parker Berge. Those are all late picks who have made an impact on the current club.
“I don’t think it’s an exact science at this age,” McMullin said. “We gravitate to the skill and skating, and those kids are usually gone a little bit earlier. If you go later in the draft, you might get a bigger body player that skates well but lacking skill or you might get an undersized player with skill who you hope will grow. It’s one of those things where the area guys have to do the background work, the homework on knowing the families as best they can which is a difficult process. You only have so much time in a year to learn about them, but our scouts do their job in finding out about their personality and work ethic. Any young guy who is dialed in the right way will get better with good programs and good coaching. I think we do a pretty good job at knowing where they’re going to play once they leave their U15 program.”
With draft meetings underway, and both the U.S. and WHL Draft set for Wednesday May 10 and Thursday May 11, McMullin says he’s enjoyed getting back into the war room with his scouting staff.
“This is a really exciting time for our scouts and organization,” McMullin added. “This is your final exam for your body of work throughout the winter. Our scouts have worked very hard to put this all together. We had meetings in March, and I think it’s pretty dialed in now, we just have to put it’s final touches on it. Our area scouts have done their job finding out about their background; whether they’re on the fence about coming. Just knowing 100% with the work you’ve done that they want to be a Regina Pat, and willing to sign once they’re at spring camp or main camp in August. That was the nice thing about the 2022 draft, because we got those kids locked up but it’s a difficult process as in the end, these kids have options as they move forward and develop. The sooner you can make a decision, providing they can show what we believe they can do, you have to get them under contract.”