WHL Draft Storylines

Here's a look at some of the storylines from today's WHL Bantam Draft.

-The most direct impact on college hockey came early when Prince George moved up a couple spots in the first round by putting together a package that sent Michigan Tech recruit Jujhar Khaira's rights to Everett. Prince George seemed to have no chance at signing Khaira, and with Everett getting him in a trade, they have to think their odds are less-than-zero. Khaira was ranked 74th among NA skaters by NHL Central Scouting for this year's draft, and was invited to the NHL Draft Combine today, so he'd be a pretty big recruit for Michigan Tech. Khaira has a reputation as being pretty academic-minded, but there's always a chance he could be swayed after he is drafted by an NHL team.

-The second overall pick in the draft was forward Jansen Harkins of the North Shore Winter Club. Harkins is the son of Todd Harkins, who played three years of college hockey at Miami, before going on to a long pro career that included a couple stops in the NHL. Also, thanks to a retweet from Bob McKenzie, I had half of Canada inform me that Harkins also was on a reality show in Canada.

There's never a great amount of confidence for the NCAA any time a player is selected that high in a CHL draft, but on the positive side, he was picked by Prince George, which has a tough time drawing players due to location, and his dad has experience working in the BCHL, potentially giving him some place to play pre-college. And with the WHL drafting earlier than the other CHL leagues, a high draft pick doesn't mean as much. Luke Moffatt and Dan Bertram were both second overall draft picks and ended up playing college hockey. Jonathan Toews went first overall in his draft year. Perhaps there's a chance for the NCAA there.

Harkins also theoretically would have the option of playing for the NTDP, similar to the top prospect in the QMJHL draft this year, Daniel Audette. Although with the IIHF's goofy ruling on Stefan Matteau's eligibility, it seems Harkins would have to play in the US next year--I'm not sure if just playing in the Youth Olympic Games would count--in order to be eligible for the U18 world championships as a 17-year-old.

-The first player playing in the US to go in the draft was Los Angeles Selects defenseman Keoni Texeira, who was selected 26th overall by Everett. That's fairly high for an American, but lower than a player of his talent would usually go, depending on if you're glass half-empty or glass half-full.

-The younger brother of Seth Jones, Caleb, was taken at the end of the 3rd round by Portland. Caleb is reportedly a pretty good player in his own right, but probably more importantly, it gives Portland another bargaining chip in trying to woo Seth to play for the Winterhawks next year.

-The first Minnesotan to be selected was Osseo/Maple Grove forward Jesse Gabrielle. Benilde-Margaret's forward Chase Jungels was selected 133rd by Vancouver. He was overshadowed a bit as a very young kid on a very good Benilde team, but he definitely showed some talent, especially later in the year. Other Minnesotans to be drafted: Stillwater's Luke Osterman, Shattuck's Jordan Klehr and Rem Pitlick, and UMD recruit Blake Heinrich. Heinrich went in the 12th round to Portland, and seems like a complete shot in the dark.

-Kelowna traded away once-top prospect Shane McColgan for draft picks, so next time Bruce Hamilton runs his mouth about his team could get a player to the NHL faster than an NCAA school, know that by 'NHL' he really means 'Saskatoon'.

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