Goaltenders are now at a premium and with the ninth overall pick, the Prince Albert Raiders nabbed the top keeper of the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft on Thursday.
At the draft in Calgary, the Raiders picked Ian Scott in the first round before going with defenceman Cody Thompson in the third and winger Josh Maser in the fourth.
In 2013, a CHL rule change barred European netminders from the league’s annual Import Draft in an effort to improve the development of Canadian keepers.
Raiders chief scout Dale Derkatch said the Raiders decision to draft a goalie in the first round was largely driven by that new provision.
“You saw this year how many European goalies were in the CHL and how they were big parts of their teams,” Derkatch explained. “We just know that we have to stock in the goaltending area and we decided that if a guy like Ian Scott is going to be there, we are taking him.”
Derkatch added that he and the organization were “shocked” Scott was still on the board when it came time for the Raiders to pick.
With what Derkatch and the Raiders brass saw as the best player available still up for grabs, they just had to jump on the keeper from the Calgary Northstar Sabres of the Alberta Bantam Hockey League.
Keeping his eyes on the draft using his cellphone at school, Scott said he had an inkling he’d be picked by the Raiders.
“I was a little queasy and speechless,” Scott said of seeing his name posted on the WHL draft board. “I didn’t think I’d go that early but after talking to Prince Albert last week, it made me a little suspicious that maybe it was a possibility.”
With the Sabres this season, Scott posted a 3.12 goals-against-average, a .916 save-percentage and was rated as the South Division’s top backstop.
As size in goaltenders becomes increasingly important, Derkatch said the 6’2”, 157 pound keeper’s physique is one of the things that jumped out at him.
“Right off the hop, size comes to mind,” Derkatch said of Scott. “He’s big already so you don’t have to worry about that. He’s a guy that competes very hard, he doesn’t give up and he’s got good hockey sense.”
Scott said the points brought up in Derkatch’s scouting report on him are exactly what he’s looking to bring to the table.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to keep them in the game or steal a game for them,” Scott said. “They’ll be able to rely on me and trust me to make that save.”
After the first round, the Raiders skipped the second having dealt that pick to the Saskatoon Blades in a deal that brought left wing Collin Valcourt to Prince Albert.
In the subsequent rounds, the Raiders “built from the net out,” selecting a total of four defencemen and five forwards.
“For the most part I think we improved in the areas that we needed to,” Derkatch said of the Raiders picks. “Our main criteria outside goaltending is we like to have guys that can skate, have good work ethic, understand the game and are coachable. I think we accomplished that.”
Scott was one of three Calgary-born players selected by the Raiders on Thursday, while Derkatch and his staff picked a total of 10 players; four from Alberta, one from British Columbia and two each from Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
The Raiders also selected one American in the 10th round, centre Samuel Huff of Maple Grove, Minn.
At just 15 years old, Scott is to young to play in the WHL next season and will play for the midget Calgary Northstars.
When he’s old enough, Derkatch said he expects Scott to join the fold immediately.
“He should be coming in and trying to make our hockey club,” Derkatch said of a 16-year-old Scott. “Only time will tell, that’s part of the job. We are under the assumption that every kid is going to do everything right and become a hockey player.”
Prince Albert Raiders 2014 Bantam Draft Selections
G Ian Scott (Calgary, Alta.) -- Round one, ninth overall
6’2”, 157 pounds
2013-2014 -- Calgary Northstar Sabres (AMBHL)
3.12 GAA, .916 SV%
Derkatch: “You just look at him and right away the size is there. He is very athletic and moves well in the net.”
D Cody Thompson (Killarney, Man.) -- Round three, 52nd overall
6’2”, 196 pounds
2013-2014 -- Southwest Cougars (WBAAA)
29GP, 8 G, 11 A, 19 P, 44 PIM
Derkatch: “He has good size and is a smooth skating defenceman who can move the puck. He is solid defensively but can play on the power play as well.”
LW Josh Maser (Penticton, B.C.) -- Round four, 74th overall
6’1”, 185 pounds
2013-2014 -- Penticton Vees (OMAHA)
61 GP, 72 G, 55 A, 127 P
Derkatch: “An energy player who really goes out there. He is smart, makes good plays, competes hard and can score using his great shot.”
D Ty Prefontaine (Saskatoon, Sask.) -- Round five, 96th overall
6’3”, 165 pounds
2013-2014 -- Saskatoon Maniacs (SBAAHL)
26 GP, 6 G, 14 A, 20 P, 38 PIM
Derkatch: “A big defenceman who is solid in his own end and makes a good first pass out of the zone.”
D Ashton Heidt (Saskatoon, Sask.) -- Round six, 127th overall
5’11”, 157 pounds
2013-2014 -- Saskatoon Stallions (SBAAHL)
23 GP, 3 G, 13 A, 16 P, 48 PIM
Derkatch: “A puck-moving defenceman that is a good skater with great agility and mobility. He can move the puck up the ice well.”
LW Parker Kelly (Camrose, Alta.) -- Round seven, 141st overall
5’7’’, 140 pounds
2013-2014 -- Camrose Vikings (AMBHL)
31 GP, 35 G, 23 A, 58 P, 38 PIM
Derkatch: “A small centre who is tenacious and hungry on the puck. A very smart player who we hope can grow a little bit”
LW Chris Monden (Calgary, Alta.) -- Round eight, 162nd overall
5’09”, 191 pounds
2013-2014 -- Calgary Flames (AMBHL)
30 GP, 19 G, 19 A, 38 P, 41 PIM
Derkatch: “Hard-working team guy and all around player. Chris goes to the dirty areas, has a good shot and can play on both the power play and penalty kill”
D Zackary Hayes (Calgary, Alta.) -- Round nine, 184th overall
6’1’’, 201 pounds
2013-2014 -- Calgary Northstar Sabres (AMBHL)
33 GP, 5 G, 11 A, 16 P, 42 PIM
Derkatch: “Hayes is a big shutdown type defenceman. He makes a good first pass and plays a simple and safe game.”
C Samuel Huff (Maple Grove, Minn.) -- Round nine, 194th overall
5’11, 170 pounds
2013-2014 -- Maple Grove High School
25 GP, 8 G, 14 A, 22 P, 15 PIM
Derkatch: “A skilled centreman, a smart player and has a very good work ethic,” he said. “More of a playmaker than a goal scorer and played on a line with Josh Passolt (current Raiders prospect).”
LW Keeven Daniels-Webb (Peguis, Man.) -- Round 10, 206th overall
6’5”, 172 pounds
2013-2014 -- Interlake Lightening (WAAAH)
27 GP, 9 G, 15 A, 24 P, 91 PIM
Derkatch: “For a big kid he moves well and is quite a smart player. He has good hands in front of the net and obviously has a lot of size to work with.”