Raiders pick Nolan Allan 3rd overall

Nolan Allan tallied 44 total points this past season with the Humboldt Broncos Bantam AA team. -- Robert Murray/Western Hockey League

Local d-man from Davidson played Bantam hockey with Humboldt Broncos

The Prince Albert Raiders have selected a Saskatchewan-born defenceman with the third overall pick in this year’s Western Hockey League Bantam draft.

The club picked Davidson’s Nolan Allan, of the Humboldt Bantam AA Broncos, with its first round pick.

“I’m feeling great. I’m happy I’m staying in Saskatchewan, and P.A. is only two hours down the road. It’s very exciting,” the 15-year-old said of his selection.

Allan is currently attending a world selects camp in the Philadelphia in the U.S. He said he woke up Thursday morning, and he and his teammates were “watching it with a couple other guys on the team; we got it going on his phone … It was really special.”

What he saw was Raiders Director of Player Personnel Ron Gunville at the microphone podium in Red Deer, Alta., calling his name for the third overall draft selection.

Speaking with the Daily Herald, Gunville said Nolan was “on our radar all year. He was a guy that we saw play as an underager in Humboldt. We knew that coming into this year, he was going to be a good player.”

Through 26 games with the Humboldt Bantam team, Allan had 12 goals and 32 assists for 44 total points.

“We were just attracted to his skating, his offensive game and his ability to carry the puck out of his end, to move the puck. He’s an effortless skater,” Gunville explained.

In that regard, his play should resemble that of the crop current Raiders defencemen, all of who play a similar style of defensive game, coached in part by Dave Manson.

Gunville added that he and his team of scouts think Allan has “a big shot from the point. And he’s a big kid already who’s probably going to grow a bit more.”

He said he hopes that Allan and fellow Raiders prospect Kaiden Guhle (also a defenceman, drafted first overall by the team last year) will make a good tandem together.

“With him and Guhle going forward, we should have a pretty good couple of defencemen for the next three to five years.”

Allan is listed at six feet, one inch tall and 170 pounds, while Guhle is listed at six feet and two inches tall, weighing 176 pounds.

He noted his skating ability as one of the skills he hopes to bring to the Raiders. “I can play at both ends of the ice well, offensively and defensively. And I think I’ve got good vision and make good plays.”

On the family side, Allan said that his parents were more than happy to hear that he’d be staying in his home province, especially because his older brother, Blake, is a draftee of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice and will be playing junior hockey in Cranbrook, B.C.

Blake, he said, has also been a good support person to go to for learning about the Bantam draft process and what to expect down the road as he works towards a Raiders roster spot.

“It’s a dream to get drafted and play in the WHL. I kind of know where I’m going to be for the next couple of years, where I’m going to play.”

Raiders balance picks with defencemen, Saskies

Along with Allan, Gunville and his team picked three more Saskatchewan-players in the Bantam draft: Defenceman Adam McNutt from Saskatoon, centreman Logan Linklater from Kindersley and defenceman Eric Robbie from Rosetown.

Gunville said that while the team does have its process for identifying and selecting talented players no matter where they reside, there’s usually an extra look that they’ll give to Saskatchewan-born players.

“We do look at the Saskatchewan kids maybe a little bit different. It’s the same as if you’re from B.C. – you might look at B.C. kids a bit different than you do Saskatchewan kids. Part of the process is also being able to recruit players as well,” he said.

“We look at all of western Canada, but we tend to favour a little bit Saskatchewan players, guys wanting to play with our program and (scouts’) ability to go out and recruit these kids and get them locked in as P.A. Raiders.”

In total, the Raiders drafted ten players in this draft, including four defenceman and six forwards.

Gunville explained that part of the motivation in picking defencemen in the draft was to shore up the team’s depth on the back end.

“Our depth at our blue line took a little bit of a hit this winter … we’re happy with Kaiden Guhle and Braydon Clark on the unit.

“But the year ahead of them we took a bit of a hit by the trade of Rhett Rhinehart, and then the unfortunate passing of Adam Herold … right now, we’re strong in our 19-year-olds, and then we get a little thin after that. But we expect Kaiden Guhle to step in and play. He’s not your normal 16 year-old, so we expect him to come in and play right away.”

The Raiders’ other nine draft picks include the following players:

Tyson Laventure, right wing, picked 31st overall in the second round; from Lloydminster, Alta., played with OHA Edmonton Bantam Prep

Dean Spak, centreman, picked 53rd overall in the third round; from Calgary, played with the Calgary CNHA Northstar Sabres

Adam McNutt, defenceman, picked 68th overall in the fourth round; from Saskatoon, played with the Saskatoon Generals

Brett Moravec, centreman, picked 97th overall in the fifth round; from Airdrie, Alta., played with the Airdrie Xtreme

Logan Linklater, centreman, picked 115th overall in the sixth round; played with the West Central Wheat Kings

Tayem Gislasoon, picked 119th overall in the sixth round; from Winnipeg, played with the Rink H.A. Nationals Bantam Prep

Matthew Gross, picked 141st overall in the seventh round; from Las Vegas, played with the Arizona Bobcats 14U

Eric Robbie, picked 163rd overall in the eighth round; played with the West Central Wheat Kings

Myles Hilman, picked 185th overall in the ninth round; from Blackfalds, Alta., played with the Red Deer Rebels