The second portion of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft felt more like a week than the actual day it was. Typically running from mid-morning to very early afternoon from the draft floor of the host city the morning following the first round, Wednesday’s event went significantly longer than past years. This was mainly due to the virtual aspect, including technological delays, a five-minute selection countdown, and the process of ‘calling in’ picks, as opposed to draft floor announcements.
Highlighting the selections on Day 2 of the managerial process was one member of the Winnipeg ICE, two more players from the Brandon Wheat Kings and two Manitoba-grown players who heard their names called by various general managers from across the league. Each of Daemon Hunt, Ben McCartney, Connor McClennon, Cole Reinhardt and Tristen Robins are now official property of five different NHL clubs.
Selected 56th overall in the second round by the San Jose Sharks, Robins spent the past two seasons with the Western Hockey League’s Saskatoon Blades, where he put up 42 goals, 98 points and 54 penalty minutes in 130 combined games. 2019-20 saw the Brandon product score 33 goals and 73 points in just 62 contests. The former RINK star stands at 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds.
Just nine selections later, fellow Brandonite Daemon Hunt was chosen 65th overall by the Minnesota Wild with the third selection of the third round. The six-foot, 200-pound defenceman has been a mainstay on the Moose Jaw Warriors’ blueline the past two seasons, scoring seven goals and 35 points over 85 combined regular season games.
Fast forward to the 23rd pick of the sixth round, where Winnipeg ICE forward Connor McClennon was taken 178th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers. The undersized right-winger has been with the Kootenay/Winnipeg ICE system the past two years, where he went on to score 35 times and add another 43 assists in 88 total games. 2019-20 saw the 5-foot-8, 160-pound winger put up 21 goals and 49 points in just 42 games in Winnipeg.
Three picks later, McClennon saw fellow WHL rival Cole Reinhardt of the Wheat Kings selected by the Ottawa Senators. In his third year of eligibility, the fourth-year Wheaties forward now joins fellow teammate Ridly Greig (chosen 28th overall by the Senators) in the nation’s capital. In 252 WHL games in Brandon, Reinhardt put up 75 goals, 141 points and 151 penalty minutes. 2019-20 saw the 20-year-old score 31 times, while adding another 24 assists for a career-high 55 points in 56 games.
Finally, with the 18th pick of the seventh round, the Arizona Coyotes chose Reinhardt’s Wheat Kings buddy Ben McCartney with the 204th overall selection, just 13 picks before Declan McDonnell went as Mr. Irrelevant. McCartney, of MacDonald, has spent the past three years with Brandon, seeing significant improvement in the points department every season. Following a 12-point 2017-18 campaign, he put up 41 points in 2018-19, before going off for 25 goals and 61 points in 61 games last year.