The Brandon Wheat Kings and Winnipeg ICE took part in the very first WHL U.S. Prospects Draft late this past week, in an online snake format, with equal opportunity for the first overall pick. Red Deer, Tri-City and Edmonton selected 1-3, while the ICE went sixth and the Wheat Kings chose 17th overall.
In being a snake draft (where the order is reversed in the second round) Brandon and Winnipeg essentially flipped places, with the Wheat Kings ending up choosing sixth (28th overall) while the ICE chose 17th (39th overall).
Both the Wheat Kings and ICE selected two forwards from neighbouring states, as the state of Minnesota saw three players chosen by Manitoba-based teams, while North Dakota represented the other selection.
The ICE chose Jayson Shaugabay and Beckett Hendrickson, while Brandon went with Zach Nehring and Ty Henricks. The Wheat Kings chose two 6-foot-1 forwards, while the ICE took a couple 150-pounders with their two picks. All four players selected have birthdays before the end of June – a key contributor to success in junior hockey.
#6 Winnipeg ICE: Jayson Shaugabay (F) – Warroad, Minn. – 5’9” / 158 lbs. – April 5, 2005 – (19 goals, 51 points and 10 penalty minutes in 22 games during the 2019-20 season).
#39 Winnipeg ICE: Beckett Hendrickson (F) – Minnetonka, Minn. – 6’0” / 150 lbs. – June 24, 2005 – (52 goals and 114 points in 43 games played during the 2019-20 season).
#17 Brandon Wheat Kings: Zach Nehring (F) – Minot, N.D. – 6’1” / 140 lbs. – March 7, 2005 – (20 goals, 46 points, 50 penalty minutes in 46 games played in 2019-20).
#28 Brandon Wheat Kings: Ty Henricks (F) – Woodbury, Minn. – 6’1” / 170 lbs. – June 28, 2005 – (37 goals, 68 points and 84 penalty minutes in 55 games played in 2019-20).
The 2020 U.S. Prospects Draft was an opportunity for the 22 member teams to select players from 20 states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.) who were born in the year 2005. Those who fit those specifications but did not hear their name called remain eligible to be chosen in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft or of course protected by any club following.