With a strong draft pool available across Manitoba for this year’s MJHL Draft, the Oil Caps scouting staff positioned themselves with eight picks through six rounds in this year’s draft. Add in the additional two auto-protects and the Oil Caps added 10 players to their organization this past weekend. This year’s draft was held at the Roxy Theatre in Neepawa and for the first time ever was televised on a live feed to Bell TV subscribers on channel 592.
Overall the Oil Caps selected four players who were captains of their AAA Bantam teams(Sambrook, Creta, Einarson, Blocker) along with two who served as alternate Captains (Lee, Hatley). Assistant General Manager and Head Scout, Chad Leslie, was very happy with how Sunday’s draft played out. “Overall we were thrilled to get the guys that we picked. All the guys that we had targeted we were able to get and we felt very successful coming out of the weekend.” Leslie continued, “I believe that our back end guys that we picked are all going to be high-end players in our league. The amount of leadership and character we drafted leaves us with a really good feeling.”
Here’s a breakdown of the selections.
AUTO PROTECT: Tanner Andrew, Virden, MB – Forward, South West Cougars AAA Bantam
Andrew is a local product who played last season with the South West Cougars AAA Bantam squad in Wawanesa. In 30 games this season, the Virden native registered 8 points (2 G, 6 A) in 30 games played while collecting 20 penalty minutes.
Scouting staff comments: Tanner is an extremely skilled forward. He’s a bit undersized right now, but he thinks the game well and we fully expect him to be an offensive guy as he develops.
AUTO PROTECT: Riley Wallace, Oak Lake, MB – Goalie, South West Cougars AAA Bantam
Wallace was auto-protected on the weekend after a successful season with the South West AAA Bantams. In 16 starts for the Cougars, Wallace posted a 9-7-1 record including a .369 GAA along with a .864 save percentage.
Scouting staff comments: Riley is another kid who is a bit undersized, but he is technically very sound and has improved a lot this past year under the tutelage of Brian Elder in the AAA Bantam program.
Round 1 – Overall 5: Garrett Sambrook, Medora, MB – Defense, South West Cougars AAA Bantam
Sambrook was a highly touted prospect that was closely watched all season long by the Oil Caps scouting staff. The Captain of last year’s South West AAA Bantam team, Sambrook piled up 21 points (7 G, 14 A) in 29 games on the blue line while adding 40 penalty minutes. He was also drafted by the Brandon Wheat Kings in the sixth round (132nd overall) of the WHL Bantam draft.
Scouting staff comments: Garrett is a smooth skater with excellent leadership qualities. He competes hard and is quite tough to play against.
Round 2 – Overall 16: Marco Creta, Oak Bluff, MB – Defense, Central Plains Capitals AAA Bantam
Creta was the first of two picks for the Oil Caps in the second round. The Captain of the Central Plains AAA Bantam team is another solid defenseman who notched 35 points (11 G, 24 A) in 28 games on the season along with 51 penalty minutes.
Scouting staff comments: He’s a very competitive guy who will be a leader one day on our team.
Round 2 – Overall 18: Justin Lee, Waskada, MB – Defense, South West Cougars AAA Bantam. Lee is another South West Cougar product who mans the blue line. The Waskada product served as an alternate captain for the AAA Bantam squad this season as he accumulated 22 points (9 G, 13 A) in 27 games. Lee also added 30 penalty minutes on the season.
Scouting staff comments: Justin is a very competitive guy who plays with a lot of grit… He is going to be a great Oil Cap one day.
Round 3 – Overall 31: Hunter Cloutier, Winnipeg, MB – Forward, Winnipeg Monarchs AAA Bantam
Cloutier is a crafty forward from Winnipeg who played last season for the AAA Bantam Monarchs team in Winnipeg. At 5’8″, 140 lbs, the right winger posted 43 points (19 G, 24 A) throughout the Monarchs regular season and playoffs along with 26 penalty minutes.
Scouting staff comments: Hunter is a terrific offensive minded player who knows how to score when it matters.
Round 4 – Overall 37: Josh Belcher, Rapid City, MB – Forward, Yellowhead Chiefs AAA BantamBelcher hails from Rapid City and was the only Yellowhead selection by the Oil Caps during this year’s draft. The Chiefs Centreman tallied 24 points (8 G, 16 A) in 31 games during the 2014-15 campaign.
Scouting staff comments: Josh is a big body up the middle of the ice who will be a difference maker during the playoffs.
Round 5 – Overall 49: Jack Einarson, Gimli, MB – Forward, Interlake Lightning AAA Bantam
Einarson is another draft pick by the Oil Caps who was a Captain for his respective team. At 5’9″, 145 lbs, the Interlake Lightning forward notched 14 points (5 G, 9 A) in 30 games this past season.
Scouting staff comments: Jack is another terrific kid – a natural leader. He is very dangerous from the blue line in.
Round 5 – Overall 51: Nick Hatley, Morden, MB – Defense, Pembina Valley Hawks AAA Bantam
At 6′, 175 lbs, the Pembina Valley product served as an alternate captain for the Hawks AAA Bantam team this past year where he notched 23 points (6 G, 17 A) in 32 games from the blue line.
Scouting staff comments: A BIG body defenseman who plays intelligent. Another great kid added to the program.
Round 6 – Overall 62: Owen Blocker, Cook’s Creek, MB – Forward, Eastman Selects AAA Bantam
Blocker was the final selection by the Oil Caps during this year’s MJHL draft. Not for a lack of talent, but because Blocker was a 2nd round (32nd overall) pick of the Swift Current Broncos in the Western Hockey League draft. Should the WHL not work out for Blocker or he decides to go the NCAA college route, the Oil Caps will welcome him with open arms. At 5’11”, 155 lbs, Blocker served as the Eastman Selects Captain. He tallied 21 points (9 G, 21 A) in 28 games while adding 82 penalty minutes.
Scouting staff comments: Another leadership guy added into the mix. Owen’s a power forward with a big time shot.