WHL teams that produce NHL players

Jason Gregor
June 25 2009 09:38AM

gregor-whl-draft2

The 2009 NHL draft is almost upon us and on Friday some teams will make a selection that solidifies their organization; others will make choices that keep them spinning their wheels, while some will outright strike out.

In today’s game if you don’t draft well you have no chance of competing. Of course astute trades and free-agent signings are keys to success as well, but the foundation of every championship team is built through their draft.

The names will be called out on Friday and Saturday, but it will be at least three years before most teams find out if they made the right choice.

Tony MacDonald, the director of amateur scouting for the Carolina Hurricanes, has the final say on Canes’ selections this weekend. He mentioned on my radio show last week that the travel schedule of the WHL teams makes the transition to the NHL a bit easier for them than players from the OHL or QMJHL. It doesn’t guarantee success, but when so much is riding on a draft pick, every element has to be considered.

So which WHL teams have a better track record of producing NHL players? Here is a look at the last 20 years. I’ve highlighted first rounders or any draft pick that made an impact in the NHL.

BRANDON WHEAT KINGS

The Wheaties produced some very good players in late '70s and early '80s, like Bill Derlago, Brian Propp, Ron Hextall, Laurie Boschman and Dave Semenko. Ray Ferraro was drafted while playing for Penticton in the BCJHL before starring with the Wheaties and scoring 108 goals and 192 points as a 20-year-old in '83/84.

2008

Colby Robak, 2nd rounder went 46th to Florida.

2003

Eric Fehr, 1st rounder went 18th to Washington.

Ryan Stone, 2nd rounder went 32nd to Pittsburgh.

2001

Jordin Tootoo, 4th rounder went 98th to Nashville.

1997

Stefan Cherneski, 1st rounder went 19th to NYR.

1995

Wade Redden, 1st rounder went 2nd to NYI

Mike Leclerc, 3rd rounder went 55th to Anaheim.

Peter Schaeffer, 3rd rounder went 66th to Vancouver

1994

Chris Dingman, 1st rounder went 19th to Calgary.

Sven Butenschon, 3rd rounder went 57th to Pittsburgh.

1993

Marty Murray, 4th rounder went 96th to Calgary.

1990

Trevor Kidd, 1st rounder went 11th to Calgary.

In the last 20 years the best player they’ve produced is Wade Redden. Trevor Kidd, Chris Dingman, Peter Schaefer and Jordin Tootoo have been decent players. Brayden Schenn and Scott Glennie will both go in the top 15 this Friday and their success could surpass the Wheat Kings’ best draft year; 1979 when they had four 1st rounders: Boschman, Propp, Brad McCrimmon and Ray Allison.

Best NHL player: Tie, Ron Hextall and Brian Propp

CALGARY HITMEN

The Hitmen have only been around since '95/96, but they have produced a staggering nine first rounders in that time, unfortunately most haven’t panned out.

2007

Karl Alzner, 1st rounder went 5th to Washington.

Alex Plante, 1st rounder went 15th to Edmonton.

2004

Andrew Ladd, 1st rounder went 4th to Carolina.

Jeff Schultz, 1st rounder, went 28th to Washington.

Andy Rogers, 1st rounder went 30th to Tampa Bay.

2003

Ryan Getzlaf, 1st rounder went 19th Anaheim.

2002

Johnny Boychuk, 2nd rounder went 61st to Colorado.

2000

Brent Krahn, 1st rounder went 9th to Calgary.

Matt Pettinger, 2nd rounder went 43rd to Washington.

1999

Pavel Brendl, 1st rounder went 4th to NYR

Kris Beech, 1st rounder went 7th to Washington.

1998

Chris Nielson, 2nd rounder went 36th to NYI.

They’ve produced nine 1st rounders in 13 seasons, but only Getzlaf, Ladd and Schultz have made a serious impact. Alzner should be a regular next season.

Best NHL player: Ryan Getzlaf

CHILLIWACK BRUINS

They’ve only been around for the past three seasons, so they don’t have much to show.

Oscar Moller is easily the best prospect they’ve produced. Moller was a 2nd rounder in '07, but cracked the Kings this year. He is small, but he looks like he’ll have a decent future. Edmonton native Mark Santorelli is the Bruins’ all-time leading scorer with 183 points in 144 games and was a 4th round pick of the Predators in '07. He might become a serviceable player.

Best NHL player: Oscar Moller

EDMONTON OIL KINGS

During the '60s and '70s the Oil Kings produced some great players like Johnny Bucyk, John Davidson, Norm Ullman and Al Hamilton but we’ll focus on this edition. In only their second year, the Kings haven’t made an impact yet when it comes to producing players. Tomas Vincour will go in the 3rd or 4th round this weekend, which is a bit of a disappointment since back in September he was projected to be a late first rounder. An injury hurt his ranking, but if he continues to progress he could crack an NHL roster.

Brent Raedeke signed a three-year deal with the Red Wings last summer, but that’s it for now. Mark Pysyk will be a 1st rounder in 2011 and Dylan Wruck and Michael St. Croix will be high picks in 2012, so we should see more scouts at Oil Kings games during the next few years.

Best NHL player: N/A

EVERETT SILVERTIPS

In six short years the Silvertips have produced some top-end talent:

2008

Kyle Beach went 11th overall to Chicago. Beach is a talent, and once he gets his head screwed on straight he should be a decent NHLer. Getting sent home from the AHL was not a good start this past year.

2007

Zach Hamill, 1st rounder went 8th overall to the Bruins.

Tyler Ellington, 2nd rounder went 41st to the Canucks.

2006

Peter Mueller, 1st rounder went 8th overall to Phoenix

Leland Irving, 1st rounder went 26th overall to the Flames.

Best NHL player: Peter Mueller

KAMLOOPS BLAZERS

2007

Keaton Ellerby 1st rounder went 10th to Florida.

2005

Matt Kassian. 2nd rounder went 57th to Minnesota.

2004

Devan Dubnyk 1st rounder went 14th to the Oilers.

2002

Scottie Upshall, 1st rounder went 6th to Nashville.

Erik Christensen, 3rd rounder went 69th to Pittsburgh.

2001

Shaonne Morrison, 1st rounder went 19th to Boston

1998

Robyn Regehr, 1st rounder went 19th to Colorado.

1995

Shane Doan, 1st rounder went 7th to Winnipeg.

Jarome Iginla, 1st rounder went 11th to Dallas.

1994

Nolan Baumgartner, 1st rounder went 10th to Washington.

Jason Holland, 2nd rounder went 38th to NYI.

Jason Strudwick, 3rd rounder went 63rd to NYI.

Hnat Domenichelli, 4th rounder went 83rd to Hartford.

Brad Lukowich, 4th rounder went 90th to NYI.

Tyson Nash, 10th rounder went 247 to Vancouver

*** The Islanders clearly were in love with the Blazers in 1994, drafting three of them.

1993

Darcy Tucker, 6th rounder went 151st to Montreal.

1992

David Wilkie, 1st rounder went 20th to Montreal.

1991

Scott Niedermayer, 1st rounder went 3rd to New Jersey.

1990

Daryl Sydor, 1st rounder went 7th to Los Angeles.

Paul Kruse, 4th rounder went 83rd to Calgary.

The Blazers produced some great talent in the '90s, but haven’t had any top-rated players this decade.

Best NHL player: Scott Niedermayer.

KELOWNA ROCKETS

2008

Luke Schenn, 1st rounder went 5th to Toronto.

Tyler Myers, 1st rounder went 12th to Buffalo.

Brandon McMillan, 3rd rounder went 85th to Anaheim.

2005

Kyle Cumiskey, 7th rounder went 222nd to Colorado.

2004

Blake Comeau, 2nd rounder went 47th to NYI.

2003

Shea Weber, 2nd rounder went 49th to Nashville.

1998

Scott Parker, 1st rounder went 20th to Colorado.

1997

Scott Hannan, 1st rounder went 23rd to San Jose.

Todd Fedoruk, 7th rounder went 164th to Philly.

1995

Kyle Mclaren, 1st rounder went 9th to Boston

Dale Purinton, 5th rounder went 117th to NYR.

The Rockets have been the dominant team in the WHL for the past decade with three championships, much like the Blazers dominated the '90s with four championships.

Best NHL player: Shea Weber, but Luke Schenn will give him a run when their careers are over. Clearly they can produce defensemen, but they haven’t produced any skilled NHL forwards.

KOOTENAY ICE

The Ice has been around since 1996 when they were in Edmonton and then moved to Kootenay in 1998. They haven’t produced much in their 13 years so far, but these six players all contributed to their two WHL titles in 2000 and 2002.

2003

Nigel Dawes, 5th rounder went 149th to NYR.

2002

Jarret Stoll, 2nd rounder went 36th to Edmonton.

2001

Dan Blackburn, 1st rounder went 10th to NYR.

Thomas Plihal, 5th rounder went 140th to San Jose.

Marek Svatos, 7th rounder went 227th to Colorado.

1999

Steve MacCarthy, 1st rounder went 23rd to Chicago.

Best NHL player: Jarret Stoll

LETHBRIDGE HURRICANES

2008

Zach Boychuk, 1st rounder went 14th to Carolina.

Luca Sbisa, 1st rounder went 19th to Philly.

2004

Kris Versteeg, 5th rounder went 134th to Boston.

2003

Brent Seabrook, 1st rounder went 14th to Chicago.

Nick Tarnasky, 9th rounder went 287 to Tampa Bay.

2002

DJ King, 5th rounder went 190th to St.Louis.

1995

Byron Ritchie, 7th rounder went 165th to Hartford.

1994

Bryce Salvador, 6th rounder went 138th to Tampa Bay.

1992

Brantt Myhres, 5th rounder went 97th to Tampa Bay.

1991

Jamie Pushor, 2nd rounder went 32nd to Detroit.

Jamie Mclennan, 3rd rounder went 48th to NYI

1990

Mark Greig, 1st rounder went 15th to Hartford.

The Hurricanes have been in Lethbridge since 1987, but they haven’t produced a dominant NHL player to date. Ashton Carter will be a first rounder on Friday.

Best NHL player: Brent Seabrook.

MEDICINE HAT TIGERS

2008

Tyler Ennis, 1st rounder went 26th to Buffalo.

2005

Kris Russell, 3rd rounder went 67th to Columbus.

Darren Helm, 5th rounder went 132nd to Detroit.

2004

Cam Barker, 1st rounder went 3rd to Chicago.

2002

Jay Bouwmeester, 1st rounder went 3rd to Florida.

Joffrey Lupul, 1st rounder went 7th to Anaheim.

2001

Ryan Hollweg, 8th rounder went 238th to NYR.

1997

Jason Chimera, 5th rounder went 121st to Edmonton.

1996

Jonathon Aitken, 1st rounder went 8th to Boston.

Josh Green, 2nd rounder went 30th to Los Angeles.

1995

Rocky Thompson, 3rd rounder went 72nd to Calgary.

1993

Rob Niedermayer, 1st rounder went 5th to Florida.

1992

Mike Rathje, 1st rounder went 3rd to San Jose.

David Cooper, 1st rounder went 11th to Buffalo.

1991

Chris Osgood, 3rd rounder went 54th to Detroit.

The Tigers have a pretty good track record in the past 20 years, and based on the players Bob Green selected for the Tigers before moving to the Oil Kings, you’d think the Oil Kings will start producing some NHLer’s in the next few years.

Best NHL player: Lanny McDonald chosen 4th overall in 1973.

MOOSE JAW WARRIORS

2008

Travis Hamonic, 2nd rounder went 53rd to NYI.

2005

Kenndal Mcardle, 1st rounder went 20th Florida.

2004

Dustin Boyd, 3rd rounder went 98th to Calgary.

Troy Brouwer, 7th rounder went 214th to Chicago.

2003

Nathan Paetsch, 7th rounder went 202nd to Buffalo.

Kyle Brodziak, 7th rounder went 214th to Edmonton

2001

Brooks Laich, 6th rounder went 193rd to Ottawa.

2000

Brian Sutherby, 1st rounder went 26th to Washington.

1999

Jamie Lundmark, 1st rounder went 9th to NYR.

1996

Matt Higgins, 1st rounder went 18th to Montreal.

Reed Low, 7th rounder went 177th to St. Louis.

1994

Ryan Smyth, 1st rounder went 6th to Edmonton.

Curtis Brown, 2nd rounder went 43rd to Buffalo.

The Warriors draft success is similar to their team record. They’ve only made it out of the 2nd round once, when they lost the WHL final in 2006.

Best NHL player: Theo Fleury, who was an 8th round pick, 166th to Calgary in 1987.

PORTLAND WINTERHAWKS

2005

Brandon Mikkelson, 2nd rounder went 31st to Anaheim.

2004

Brandon Dubinsky, 2nd rounder went 60th to NYR.

2003

Brayden Coburn, 1st rounder went 8th to Atlanta.

2000

Marcel Hossa, 1st rounder went 16th to Montreal.

Josef Balej, 3rd rounder went 78th to Montreal.

Paul Gaustad, 7th rounder went 220th to Buffalo.

1998

Jason Labarbera, 3rd rounder went 66th to NYR.

Matt Walker, 3rd rounder went 83rd to St. Louis.

1997

Brendan Morrow, 1st rounder went 25th to Dallas.

Andrew Ference, 8th rounder went 208th to Pittsburgh.

1995

Brad Isbister, 3rd rounder went 67th to Winnipeg.

1994

Jason Wiemer, 1st rounder went 8th to Tampa Bay

Dave Scatchard, 2nd rounder went 42nd to Vancouver.

1993

Adam Deadmarsh, 1st rounder went 14th to Quebec.

Nolan Pratt, 5th rounder went 115th to Hartford.

Scott Nichol, 11th rounder went 272nd to Buffalo.

1992

Cale Hulse, 3rd rounder went 66th to New Jersey.

Joaquin Gage, 5th rounder went 109th to Edmonton.

1991

Steve Konowalchuk, 3rd rounder went 58th to Washington.

The Winterhawks have had 18 players go on to the NHL in the last 20 years, but only Brendan Morrow, and to a lesser extent Brandon Dubinsky and Jason Weimer, has made a legitimate offensive impact.

Best NHL player: Cam Neely, 1st rounder went 9th to Vancouver in 1983.

PRINCE ALBERT RAIDERS

2004

Kyle Chipchura, 1st rounder went 18th to Montreal.

2003

Jeremy Colliton, 2nd rounder went 58th to NYI.

2000

Scott Hartnell, 1st rounder went 6th to Nashville.

Nick Schultz, 2nd rounder went 33rd to Minnesota.

1996

Chris Phillips, 1st rounder went 1st to Ottawa.

1995

Steve Kelly, 1st rounder went 6th to Edmonton.

Brad Church, 1st rounder went 17th to Washington.

1994

Shane Hnidy, 7th rounder went 173rd to Buffalo.

1993

Denis Pederson, 1st rounder went 13th to New Jersey

1991

Dean McCammond, 1st rounder went 22nd to Chicago.

1990

Scott Allison, 1st rounder went 17th to Edmonton.

The Raiders haven’t been to the WHL championship since 1985; when they went on to win the Memorial Cup. Since then they’ve been average.

Best NHL player: Mike Modano in a landslide. No one is even close.

Interesting to note that Chris Phillips was the last WHL player to be chosen 1st overall, and before him it was Mike Modano in 1988.

PRINCE GEORGE COUGARS (Victoria years included)

2006

Ty Wishart, 1st rounder went 16th to San Jose.

2003

Dustin Byfuglien, 8th rounder went 245th to Chicago.

2001

Dan Hamhuis, 1st rounder went 12th to Nashville.

Derek Boogaard, 7th rounder went 202nd to Minnesota.

1998

Blair Betts, 2nd rounder went 33rd to Calgary.

Tyler Bouck, 2nd rounder went 57th to Dallas.

Trent Hunter, 5th rounder went 150th to Anaheim.

1997

Eric Brewer, 1st rounder went 5th to NYI.

1996

Joel Kwiatkowski, 8th rounder went 194th to Dallas.

Ronald Petrovicky, 9th rounder went 228th to Calgary.

1995

Chris Mason, 5th rounder went 122nd to New Jersey.

1992

Steve Passmore, 9th rounder went 196th to Quebec.

The Cougars haven’t won the league since 1981 and since they’ve missed the playoffs 12 times. They hold the distinction of being the worst junior team in history when they went 5-65-2 in 1989/1990.

Best NHL player: Grant Fuhr, 1st rounder went 8th to Edmonton in 1981.

RED DEER REBELS

2007

Brandon Sutter, 1st rounder went 11th to Carolina.

2003

Dion Phaneuf, 1st rounder went 9th to Calgary.

Colin Fraser, 3rd rounder went 69th to Philly.

2002

Boyd Gordon, 1st rounder went 17th to Washington.

Cam Ward, 1st rounder went 25th to Carolina.

Derek Meech, 7th rounder went 229th to Detroit.

2001

Colby Armstrong, 1st rounder went 21st to Pittsburgh.

Jeff Woywitka, 1st rounder went 27th to Philly.

Kyle Wanvig, 2nd rounder went 36th to Minnesota.

1998

Stephen Peat, 2nd rounder went 32nd to Anaheim.

1997

Mike Brown, 1st rounder went 20th to Florida.

1996

Lance Ward, 1st rounder went 10th to New Jersey (He didn’t sign and went back in the draft and was chosen 63rd by Florida in 1998).

Jesse Wallin, 1st rounder went 26th to Detroit.

1993

Darren Van Impe, 7th rounder went 170th to NYI.

In their short history the Rebels have produced some quality players, and will have another first rounder this year in Landon Ferraro.

Best NHL player: Tie, Dion Phaneuf and Cam Ward.

REGINA PATS

2008

Colton Tuebert, 1st rounder went 13th to Los Angeles.

Jordan Eberle, 1st rounder went 22nd to Edmonton.

2002

Josh Harding, 2nd rounder went 38th to Minnesota.

1999

Barrett Jackman, 1st rounder went 17th to St. Louis

1998

Brad Stuart, 1st rounder went 3rd to San Jose.

1997

Kyle Calder, 5th rounder went 130th to Chicago

1996

Josh Holden, 1st rounder went 12th to Vancouver.

Derek Morris, 1st rounder went 13th to Calgary.

1994

Jeff Friesen, 1st rounder went 11th to San Jose.

1992

Jason Smith, 1st rounder went 18th to New Jersey.

Jeff Shantz, 2nd rounder went 36th to Chicago.

Nathan Dempsey, 11th rounder went 245th to Toronto.

The Pats have produced seven 1st rounders in the past 20 years, with five being D-men. They’ve been pretty consistent making the playoffs 25 of the past 30 seasons. But they haven’t won the WHL title since 1980, and haven’t won the Memorial Cup since 1973.

Best NHL player: Clark Gillies — Hall of Famer was drafted 4th overall in 1973.

SASKATOON BLADES

2007

Colton Gillies, 1st rounder went 16th to Minnesota.

2005

Devin Setoguchi, 1st rounder went 8th to San Jose.

2004

Mike Green, 1st rounder went 29th to Washington.

2001

Adrian Foster, 1st rounder went 28th to New Jersey.

2000

Darcy Hordichuk, 5th rounder went 160th to Atlanta

1999

Garnet Exelby, 8th rounder went 217th to Atlanta.

1996

Cory Sarich, 2nd rounder went 27th to Buffalo.

1995

Chris McAllister, 2nd rounder went 40th to Vancouver.

Clarke Wilm, 6th rounder went 150th to Calgary.

1994

Wade Belak, 1st rounder went 12th to Quebec.

Rhett Warrener, 2nd rounder went 27th to Florida.

1993

Norm Maracle, 5th rounder went 126th to Detroit.

Frank Banham, 6th rounder went 147th to Washington.

1991

Richard Matvichuk, 1st rounder went 8th to Minnesota.

1990

Scott Scissons, 1st rounder went 6th to NYI.

The Blades have produced a lot of serviceable players the past 20 years, but only Green and Setoguchi have shown any offensive prowess in the NHL. The Blades have lost the WHL final five times, but have never one a league championship. They have produced some of the toughest players ever in Tony Twist, Dave Brown, Joey Kocur, and Wendel Clark.

Best NHL player: Bernie Federko. Federko was drafted 7th overall in 1976, but two of his junior teammates went before him.

Blair Chapman went 2nd to Pittsburgh and Fred Williams went 4th to Detroit. Clearly the Blues made the best pick that year.

SEATTLE THUNDERBIRDS

2007

Thomas Hickey, 1st rounder went 4th to Los Angeles.

2002

Steven Goertzen, 7th rounder went 225th to Columbus.

2000

Shane Endicott, 2nd rounder went 52nd to Pittsburgh.

1999

Oleg Saprykin, 1st rounder went 11th to Calgary.

Scott Kelman, 1st rounder went 15th to Phoenix.

1997

Patrick Marleau, 1st rounder went 2nd to San Jose.

1995

Jan Hrdina, 5th rounder went 128th to Pittsburgh.

1994

Chris Wells, 1st rounder went 24th to Pittsburgh,

Deron Quint, 2nd rounder went 30th to Winnipeg.

1993

Brendan Witt, 1st rounder went 11th to Washington.

1991

Brent Bilodeau, 1st rounder went 17th to Montreal.

1990

Petr Nedved, 1st rounder went 2nd to Vancouver.

Turner Stevenson, 1st rounder went 12th to Montreal.

Corey Schwab, 10th rounder went 200th to New Jersey.

They’ve had nine first rounders in the past 20 years, which ties them with Calgary for the second most. The Thunderbirds have had some big first round flops, Kelman, Bilodeau, and Wells and they are another long standing organization that hasn’t hoisted the WHL trophy. They’ve been in the league since 1971 and have made the final once in 1997.

Best NHL player: Tie, Petr Nedved or Patrick Marleau, both skilled players but guys who have soft reputations. Ken Daneyko with his Stanley Cup rings might get some votes.

SPOKANE CHIEFS

2008

Mitch Wahl, 2nd rounder went 48th to Calgary.

2006

Michael Grabner, 1st rounder went 14th to Vancouver.

2000

Kurt Sauer, 3rd rounder went 88th to Colorado.

1997

Brad Ference, 1st rounder went 10th to Vancouver

Ty Jones, 1st rounder went 16th to Chicago.

1996

Trent Whitfield, 4th rounder went 100th to Boston

1993

Bryan Mccabe, 2nd rounder went 40th to NYI.

1992

Valeri Bure, 2nd rounder went 33rd to Montreal.

1991

Pat Falloon, 1st rounder went 2nd to San Jose.

Ray Whitney, 2nd rounder went 23rd to San Jose.

The Chiefs haven’t produced many NHL players, but as a team they’ve had lots of success since joining the league in 1982. They won two Memorial Cups, and are 2-2 in the WHL final. Jared Cowan will be a top-ten pick on Friday, and if the pundits are correct, he could end up being the best Chief to play in the NHL.

Best NHL player: Ray Whitney.

SWIFT CURRENT BRONCOS

2000

Nathan Smith, 1st rounder went 23rd to Vancouver.

1997

Brad Larsen, 4th rounder went 87th to Colorado.

1991

Tyler Wright, 1st rounder went 12th to Edmonton.

1990

Scott Allison, 1st rounder went 17th to Edmonton.

Geoff Sanderson, 2nd rounder went 36th to Hartford.

Kimbi Daniels, 3rd rounder went 44th to Philly.

The smallest franchise in all of Major Junior hockey doesn’t have a great track record in producing NHL players in the last 20 years.

Best NHL player: Joe Sakic, 1st rounder went 15th overall in 1987 to Quebec.

They haven’t produced a lot of players, but this past season was only the 2nd time they haven’t made the playoffs since 1973. They’ve won the WHL championship three times and won the Memorial Cup in 1989.

TRI-CITY AMERICANS

2008

Chet Pickard, 1st rounder went 18th to Nashville.

Eric Mestery, 2nd rounder went 57th to Washington.

2005

Carey Price, 1st rounder went 5th to Montreal.

2003

Shawn Belle, 1st rounder went 30th to Dallas.

1998

Scott Gomez, 1st rounder went 27th to New Jersey.

1996

Dan Focht, 1st rounder went 11th to Phoenix.

Jaroslav Svejkovsky, 1st rounder went 17th to Washington

1995

Daymond Langkow, 1st rounder went 5th to Tampa Bay

Terry Ryan, 1st rounder went 8th to Montreal.

Brian Boucher, 1st rounder went 22nd to Philly.

1994

Sheldon Souray, 3rd rounder went 71st to New Jersey.

1992

Jason Bowen, 1st rounder went 15th to Philly.

1991

Vladimir Vujtek, 4th rounder went 73rd to Montreal.

Bill Lindsay, 5th rounder went 103rd to Quebec.

The Americans have been part of five different cities since their inception in 1966. They were in Calgary for 11 years before becoming the Billings Bighorns for five, and then they were in Nanaimo for one year, New Westminster for five, and have been in Tri-City since the '88/89 season. They’ve had ten first rounders in the last 20 years, but only four have been regulars, Pickard is still a prospect.

Best NHL player: Olaf Kolzig, who is one of the owners along with Stu Barnes.

VANCOUVER GIANTS

2007

Jonathon Blum, 1st rounder went 27th to Nashville.

2006

Milan Lucic, 2nd rounder went 50th to Boston.

2005

Gilbert Brule, 1st rounder went 6th to Columbus.

2004

Mark Fistric, 1st rounder went 28th to Dallas.

The Giants have only been around for eight seasons, but they’ve had a lot of success. They won the WHL in 2006, and then they lost the league final, but won the Memorial Cup as the host team in 2007. In a short time they’ve become a dominant franchise.

Best NHL player: Milan Lucic.

Final thoughts

You wonder why teams like Spokane and Kootenay don’t have a lengthy list of players who go on to succeed in the NHL considering their success in the WHL. Yet a team like Tri-City develops 10 first-rounders in 20 years, but never comes close to winning a championship.

Will a player have more team success but less personal success in a certain WHL city? I’d like to think not, but it’s clear that certain franchises win more in the WHL, just not with NHL caliber players.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 Souby
June 25 2009, 09:50AM
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Nice breakdown of the Dub as NHL player producers. Interesting comment about whether WHL teams can win without NHL calibre players on their rosters.

Have a good time in Montreal and if happen to see Burkie please ask him his opinion on the Heatley situation. The guys is so media shy it is hard to get hi take on these things! (:

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#2 melly
June 25 2009, 09:56AM
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Regarding the Oil Kings, Goalie Torrie Jung was drafted by Tampa and was not re-signed this year, doesn't he go back into the draft then?

Thanks

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#3 Sandra
June 25 2009, 09:59AM
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How about some good Oiler rumours at the draft, Will Lowe and Tambo talk to Burke?

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#4 The Menace
June 25 2009, 10:00AM
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@ Souby: I had to laugh when I heard him say yesterday, (paraphrasing)"we're going to be trying to move down in the draft, we like where we're at, but we'll also try to move up". he'll say anything, just so he can hear himself talk.

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#5 The Menace
June 25 2009, 10:01AM
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Nice article Jason, and good luck at the draft! Looking forward to hearing your reports.

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#6 Cam
June 25 2009, 10:25AM
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No wonder you haven't posted in a while. Waht a mammoth list and a lot of work. Thank you for this, Jason. It's interesting.

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#7 Jason Gregor
June 25 2009, 10:31AM
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melly wrote:

Regarding the Oil Kings, Goalie Torrie Jung was drafted by Tampa and was not re-signed this year, doesn’t he go back into the draft then? Thanks

You bet he does. Similar to what happened with Jarret Stoll and others when they don't sign within the two year window.

The Oil Kings would love him back, but it will depend on the team that drafts him. Right now no team has sniffed around him, because Bob Green hasn't received any calls to date so he probably won't get drafted, but might get a camp invite.

That's good news for the Oil Kings who want to improve on their 8th place finish last year, and if Jung is in the pipes they should.

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#8 Art
June 25 2009, 10:36AM
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Wow Gregor, I know Swift Current is "the smallest WHL market" but that doesn't mean you can simply screw up their entire profile and dismiss them as a mean nothing nothing WHL club.

The Broncos did in fact make the playoffs this past season but lost in the first round to the Tigers.

As far as draft picks go, Zack Smith and Geordie Wudrick went in the third round of the 08 draft. Ian White was drafted in 2002. Duncan Milroy was drafted in 2001. And if we're gonng bring players like undrafted Brent Raedeke into the conversation, then we can also add ben Ondrus who was signed by the leafs and is currenty captain of the Toronto Marlies.

I know it's a small club that is often overlooked by scouts Jason, but that doesn't mean you can just ignore as much of thier history as you'd like. Fact is the Broncos hold their own over the last 20 years of producing NHL talent.

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#9 Sandra
June 25 2009, 10:36AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

melly wrote: Regarding the Oil Kings, Goalie Torrie Jung was drafted by Tampa and was not re-signed this year, doesn’t he go back into the draft then? Thanks You bet he does. Similar to what happened with Jarret Stoll and others when they don’t sign within the two year window. The Oil Kings would love him back, but it will depend on the team that drafts him. Right now no team has sniffed around him, because Bob Green hasn’t received any calls to date so he probably won’t get drafted, but might get a camp invite. That’s good news for the Oil Kings who want to improve on their 8th place finish last year, and if Jung is in the pipes they should.

So if he doesn't get drafted is he a UFA to sign with who ever wants him, Maybe the Oil can invite him and since Peters isn't there any more he will develop nicely.

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#10 Souby
June 25 2009, 10:40AM
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@ The Menace: Look up the term "Media Whore" in the dictionary and you will see a pic of Burkie on his soap box!

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#11 The Towel Boy
June 25 2009, 10:42AM
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Souby wrote:

Have a good time in Montreal and if happen to see Burkie please ask him his opinion on the Heatley situation. The guys is so media shy it is hard to get hi take on these things! (:

God, am I ever tired of hearing Burke's opinion on anything. Not to mention the seemingly endless reports over the past couple of weeks of his intentions to "move up in the draft."

*snaps*

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#12 Matt
June 25 2009, 10:44AM
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Wow, what a great list... I can just imagine how long that took to put together. Thanks for putting the work into putting all that info in one place.

You know, you could have just asked Dean Lombardi to give you a list? That guy has an unhealthy attraction to DUB players that he should devote some time too!

@The Menace: Let me get this straight. Burkie is looking to move up, move down or stay put. What a bag...

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#13 Souby
June 25 2009, 10:49AM
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@ The Towel Boy: I think Burkie should write a book, and I have the perfect title for him. Let's see if you like it. It is "Hey everyone, listen to me!, or how about "I am the great and powerful Oz...I mean Burke" or better yet "I am Burkie, hear me ROAR!"

Burke gravitates to the Media like a fat kid to a smartie!

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#14 OvenChicken8
June 25 2009, 10:57AM
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The Towel Boy wrote:

God, am I ever tired of hearing Burke’s opinion on anything. Not to mention the seemingly endless reports over the past couple of weeks of his intentions to “move up in the draft.” *snaps*

That's the problem with having Burke in Toronto. T-oronto S-ports N-etwork

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#15 greenlightning86
June 25 2009, 11:01AM
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Hey Jason great read I hope you also give us some insightful stuff from the draft.

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#16 The Pestival
June 25 2009, 11:05AM
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You missed some key players for the Rockets. Josh Gorges plays for MTL right now and will have a decent, if unspectacular, career. Jamie Benn should have a prominant role with the Dallas Stars in the near future, Cody Almond will try to crack the Wild line-up and Colin Long, one of the top scorers in the WHL, is owned somewhere too. Michael Backlund has all the potential to be a superstar with the Flames in the future as well, though he only played with Kelowna at the end of the year so not sure if that counts.

I watched Alex Plante play against the Rockets in the WHL final and he was thoroughly unnoticeable, and I was watching him due to his Oilers ties too.

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#17 Jason Gregor
June 25 2009, 11:06AM
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Art wrote:

The Broncos did in fact make the playoffs this past season but lost in the first round to the Tigers.

My mistake...got them mixed up with someone...THey have been consistent at making the playoffs.

Art wrote:

As far as draft picks go, Zack Smith and Geordie Wudrick went in the third round of the 08 draft. Ian White was drafted in 2002. Duncan Milroy was drafted in 2001. And if we’re gonng bring players like undrafted Brent Raedeke into the conversation, then we can also add ben Ondrus who was signed by the leafs and is currenty captain of the Toronto Marlies.

Go back and read what I wrote about including 1st rounders and picks that made an IMPACT in the NHL. Did Smith and Wudrick do anything? Every team has many more players that were drafted, but never played. That wasn't the point of the article, it was to see which team produces NHL players. Not ones who get drafted there.

It's great you are a Broncos fan, I was pointing out that they don't have a track record of producing NHL players recently. That isn't a knock it is a fact. I only mentioned Raedeke because he was on the Oil Kings. The Kings didn't develop him. I love your passion for the Broncos, but the stats don't lie they haven't had many alumni succeed in the NHL lately.

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#18 Jason Gregor
June 25 2009, 11:10AM
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The Pestival wrote:

Jamie Benn should have a prominant role with the Dallas Stars in the near future, Cody Almond will try to crack the Wild line-up and Colin Long, one of the top scorers in the WHL, is owned somewhere too. Michael Backlund has all the potential to be a superstar with the Flames in the future as well, though he only played with Kelowna at the end of the year so not sure if that counts. I watched Alex Plante play against the Rockets in the WHL final and he was thoroughly unnoticeable, and I was watching him due to his Oilers ties too.

I didn't include POTENTIAL players because that would be pure speculation at this point. Benn, Long, Almond might make it, but they haven't yet. I only included players drafted in the first two rounds in 2008, to go with the odds.

I wasn't going to list guys drafted in 2nd, 3rd, 4th rounds in the past three years, because the stats show that many WON'T end up playing.

And FYI..Gorges wasn't drafted. He was signed as a free agent. To track all of those guys would have taken forever. I included drafted players only.

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#19 Jason Gregor
June 25 2009, 11:12AM
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Sandra wrote:

So if he doesn’t get drafted is he a UFA to sign with who ever wants him, Maybe the Oil can invite him and since Peters isn’t there any more he will develop nicely.

Yes the Oilers could invite him, but if they do they will keep him with the Oil Kings, rather than send him to the ECHL. They wouldn't want to hinder their own WHL team.

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#20 Librarian Mike
June 25 2009, 11:17AM
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According to TSN, Brian Burke has just announced that he will be having chicken for dinner tonight.

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#21 Spoke
June 25 2009, 11:17AM
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Wow, quite the list. Although I did not see Zdeno Chara in there. '96 draft from the PG Cougars 3rd Round.

I am actually surprised he was drafted in the 3rd. He used to be pertty terrible, especially his skating.

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#22 Jason Gregor
June 25 2009, 11:21AM
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Spoke wrote:

Although I did not see Zdeno Chara in there. ‘96 draft from the PG Cougars 3rd Round. I am actually surprised he was drafted in the 3rd. He used to be pertty terrible, especially his skating.

Chara played for the Cougars in 1996/1997, the year after he was drafted...Come on boys do your research before you accuse me of missing someone. I'm sure I might have, but go look it up before you do.

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#23 Souby
June 25 2009, 11:21AM
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@ Librarian Mike: They have TSN and TSN2, but maybe they should add another channel just for Burkie. TSNBURKE...All Burke, all the time!" Then we could see what he eats for breakfast, lunch and dinner and watch all his press conferences in between!

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#24 OvenChicken8
June 25 2009, 11:32AM
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Souby wrote:

@ Librarian Mike: They have TSN and TSN2, but maybe they should add another channel just for Burkie. TSNBURKE…All Burke, all the time!” Then we could see what he eats for breakfast, lunch and dinner and watch all his press conferences in between!

Commercials include "Burkie... did you eat your chunky soup" and Godaddy featuring Burkie creeping on Danica

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#25 Souby
June 25 2009, 11:34AM
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@ OvenChicken8: LMAO

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#26 Cam
June 25 2009, 11:41AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Come on boys do your research before you accuse me of missing someone. I’m sure I might have, but go look it up before you do.

Do you turn red when you get irritated?

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#27 Librarian Mike
June 25 2009, 11:41AM
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@ OvenChicken8: @ Souby:

Don't forget about the home movie with the grandkids where they play with the 'Kevin Lowe Pinata'.

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#28 Jason Gregor
June 25 2009, 11:53AM
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Cam wrote:

Do you turn red when you get irritated?

Wasn't irritated...just making a point. Don't be all girly and think you can read emotions through words...the NATION is better than that..ha

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#29 Art
June 25 2009, 11:56AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I didn’t include POTENTIAL players because that would be pure speculation at this point. Benn, Long, Almond might make it, but they haven’t yet. I only included players drafted in the first two rounds in 2008, to go with the odds.

So what is Brandon McMillan doing on the Rockets?

You say Smith and Wudrick have done nothing as draft picks, yet you throw in McMillan who is a fine prospect himself but Smith I'd bet is closer to making the Sens than McMillan is the Ducks.

My main issue with this as far as the Broncos go Jason is that you say the Broncos don't have a good track record of devloping players. I tend to disagree. Brent Sopel, Colton Orr have both spent multiple seasons with the Broncos... Sergei Varlamov and Lawrence Nycholat went undrafted but were devloped by the Broncos as well as the afformentioned Ben Ondrus - again partly because Swift Current is not a great locale for scouts so it often gets overlooked between Medicine Hat and Regina... Michal Rozsival came to the Broncos for two seasons after he was drafted out of Europe so he could develop his North American game...

What is even funnier to me Jason is the one of the Broncos you listed is Kimbi Daniels, who sure made the NHL for all of 20 some odd games. Kimbi was GREAT in SC, but his impact in the NHL was pretty much non-existant.

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#30 Art
June 25 2009, 12:18PM
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BTW, I don't want to take away from the work you've done on this list Jason because it is a very solid list, but as you have noted I am a die-hard Broncos fan and someone has to stick up for the smallest WHL team. ;)

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#31 Jason Gregor
June 25 2009, 12:53PM
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Art wrote:

You say Smith and Wudrick have done nothing as draft picks, yet you throw in McMillan who is a fine prospect himself but Smith I’d bet is closer to making the Sens than McMillan is the Ducks.

I mentioned MacMillan because he was a 2008 draft. Like I said I wasn't going to list guys in any other year who might make it. In five years this could and should look a lot different. Art wrote:

My main issue with this as far as the Broncos go Jason is that you say the Broncos don’t have a good track record of devloping players. I tend to disagree. Brent Sopel, Colton Orr have both spent multiple seasons with the Broncos… Sergei Varlamov and Lawrence Nycholat went undrafted but were devloped by the Broncos as well as the afformentioned Ben Ondrus - again partly because Swift Current is not a great locale for scouts so it often gets overlooked between Medicine Hat and Regina… Michal Rozsival came to the Broncos for two seasons after he was drafted out of Europe so he could develop his North American game…

I don't buy their locale as the reason scouts don't go there. They will see them on the road if that is the case, and if a guy piques their interest they will make the trek to Swift to watch him.

Once again the three you mentioned, aren't impact players yet. I only put in Daniels, because I loved his name. I thought he played more than 50 games.

Ondrus is a good Edmonton/Sherwood Park guy and I like him, but he wasn't drafted.

Every team will have some players that developed at 19 or 20 and then signed as UFAs or came over, but that wasn't who I was talking about.

And no offence, but none of those guys are impact players. Rozsival is the closest. Great to see a Broncos fan so passionate. Brent Ruff was my brother's best friend, so I'll always have a soft spot for the Broncos, but the stats don't lie, they haven't had a dominant player since Sakic.

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#32 Stan the Caddy
June 25 2009, 01:12PM
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Blah... I hate being reminded of the '95 draft. And I can't believe Steve Kelley is still playing pro hockey!

Boy, the Blazers were a force back in those days (90's).

Impressive list you've compiled here, Jason. What was your criteria for a player making an "impact?" There's a couple I noticed that played a handfull of games but never really did anything significant in the big show. Jason Holland is one that jumps out at me.

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#33 Cam
June 25 2009, 04:05PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Cam wrote: Do you turn red when you get irritated? Wasn’t irritated…just making a point. Don’t be all girly and think you can read emotions through words…the NATION is better than that..ha

GIRLY!! I would really like to come up with some sort of witty retort but all that comes to mind is something about mothers and combat boots...

Now I am going to go find a quiet corner and weep.

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