The Prince Albert Raiders began the process of adding some new prospects to their depth chart on Wednesday afternoon.
With the fifth overall pick in the first ever Western Hockey League U.S. Prospects Draft, the Raiders selected forward Jamison Sluys from the Delta Hockey Academy’s Bantam Prep Green program.
Sluys, who is from Point Roberts, Washington, had 33 points in 27 games in the Canadian Sports School Hockey League this year and also had six points at the WHL’s U.S. Challenge Cup tournament last month.
“He really impressed us throughout the season, but he really elevated his game at the Challenge Cup,” Raiders director of player personnel Curt Brownlee said.
“He brought a physical element to his game that he may have been reserving a little bit during league play. He showed a willingness to not only be an offensive threat, but to also be a player that is hard to play against.”
The Raiders took another forward in the second round as they chose Los Angeles Jr. Kings forward Declan Stewart with the 40th overall selection.
Stewart, who calls Hawthorne, California home, had 20 points in 55 games for the Kings’ bantam program.
“Declan’s another guy who continued to elevate his game throughout the season,” Brownlee said.
“He’s a responsible 200-foot player that can chip in with some secondary scoring. He’s a projection guy that we think is going to get better as time goes on.”
Wednesday’s draft was part of a new initiative by the WHL as they look to add more players to the league from south of the border.
Each of the 22 clubs drafted a pair of 2005-born players who reside in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
“I think the league did an excellent job of showcasing those guys and also showcasing what the WHL has to offer,” Brownlee said.
“There’s lots of talent in the United States and it’s getting better all of the time.”
The draft order was determined by a lottery and saw the Red Deer Rebels earn the first overall choice.
With that pick, the club selected forward Gracyn Sawchyn, who had 83 points in 54 games this season for Shattuck St. Mary’s bantam program.