Looking Back at the Victoria Royals WHL Bantam Draft History: 2011

It’s been a week since the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft which saw the Royals take 12 players over 12 rounds. The future success of these 15-year-old players is unknown, and it really is a crapshoot if a player picked in the first round or the eleventh round will ever play a game in the WHL.

When looking at the most recent Bantam Draft, it got me thinking about the success of the draft picks under General Manager Cameron Hope since the Royals moved to Victoria from Chilliwack in 2011. What percentage of his picks turned into WHL players and who were, in hindsight, the better players left on the table? Let’s take a look.

*For the “Players they could have had”, I will look for the best players picked after the player in the same round, with the same position taking precedence. If not, then best player, like you’ll see in the first player below:

THE 2011 WHL BANTAM DRAFT:

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Round 1 – Pick 12:
JOE HICKETTS – D
WHL CAREER: 224 GP – 32G – 141A – 173PTS (2012-2016)
WITH VICTORIA: 224 GP – 32G – 141A – 173PTS (2012-2016)
Where is he now?: GRAND RAPIDS (AHL), NHL Rights: DETROIT

Player they could have had: C BRAYDEN POINT (14th Overall), but Hicketts is a better pick

Round 3 – Pick 55:
MICHAEL BELL – RW/D
WHL CAREER: 2GP – 0G – 0A – 0PTS (2012-2013)
WITH VICTORIA: 2GP – 0G – 0A – 0PTS (2012-2013)
Where is he now?: RETIRED
Last Team: Kitimat Ice Demons (CIHL) – 2013-2014

Portland Winterhawks v Kelowna Rockets

Player they could have had: C DOMINIC TURGEON (64th Overall)

Round 3 – Pick 56:

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RYAN GAGNON – D
WHL CAREER: 320GP – 9G – 57A – 66PTS (2012-2017)
WITH VICTORIA: 320GP – 9G – 57A – 66PTS (2012-2017)
Where is he now?: Graduated from WHL, currently a Free Agent

Player they could have had: D DYSIN MAYO (57th Overall)

Round 4 – Pick 67:
CHRISTOPHER WILKIE – RW
WHL CAREER: N/A
WITH VICTORIA: N/A
Where is he now?: UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA (NCAA), NHL Rights: FLORIDA (2015 – 6th Round -162nd)

Player they could have had: D NELSON NOGIER (71st Overall)

Round 5 – Pick 100:
BRAYDEN PARK – D
WHL CAREER: N/A
WITH VICTORIA: N/A
Where is he now?: REGINA CAPITALS (PJHL)

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Player they could have had: RW TYLER WONG (101st Overall)

Round 6 – Pick 122:
ZACH RIAULKA – RW
WHL CAREER: N/A
WITH VICTORIA: N/A
Where is he now?: SWZ OIL KINGS (Noralta Junior C Hockey League)

Player they could have had: C STEVEN OWRE (128th Overall)

Round 7 – Pick 144:
BRENDON BENSON – RW
WHL CAREER: N/A
WITH VICTORIA: N/A
Where is he now?: RETIRED
Last Team: KIMBERLEY DYNAMITERS (KIJHL) – 2015-2016

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Player they could have had: LW JESSE SHYNKARUK (145th Overall)

Round 8 – Pick 176:
AUSTIN LAROCHELLE – F
WHL CAREER: N/A
WITH VICTORIA: N/A
Where is he now?: RETIRED
Last Team: CYPRESS CYCLONES (PJHL) – 2013-2014

Player they could have had: D TRAVIS SANHEIM (177th Overall)

Round 9 – Pick 188:
MICHAEL HERRINGER – G
WHL CAREER: 115GP – 81W – 36L – 2OTL
WITH VICTORIA: 2GP – 1W – 0L – 0OTL – 2.39GAA – 0.925SV%
Where is he now?: Graduated from WHL, currently a Free Agent

Player they could have had: N/A, best player they could have gotten

Round 10 – Pick 208:
COLE JONES – D
WHL CAREER: N/A
WITH VICTORIA: N/A
Where is he now?: TRANSCONA RAILER EXPRESS (MMJHL)

Carlo

Player they could have had: D BRANDON CARLO (211th Overall)

 

A RECAP:

10 Picks (4 D, 5F, 1G)
9 Canadians, 1 American
3 WHL Players (who played more than 100 games)
1 NHL Draft Pick (Wilkie)
1 NHL Free Agent Signing (Hicketts)

It wasn’t the most successful draft that Hope had as General Manager of the Victoria Royals, and there were a lot of bonafide WHLers that went a pick or two after their own. Besides Joe Hicketts, who was the best choice in the first round for the Royals, of course. Dysin Mayo was picked two picks after Michael Bell in the 3rd round. Bell no longer plays hockey and Mayo is an NHL Draft pick. Ryan Gagnon, the reigning captain of the Royals was a solid player for Victoria so there isn’t a lot of regret with him.

Chris Wilkie, the lone NHL Draft pick of the Bantam Draft, never played a game in the Western Hockey League, but Nelson Nogier played 235 games for Saskatoon and Red Deer before being drafted in the 4th round in the 2014 NHL Draft by Winnipeg. Nogier went 4 picks after Wilkie in the 2011 Bantam Draft.

Tyler Wong, Steven Owre and Jesse Shynkaruk each went a pick (or 6 in Owre’s case) after the Royals chose a guy who would never go on to play in the WHL. They all played over 250 games in the WHL, and Wong and Owre scored 298 and 221 points in their careers respectively.

On the defense side, the Royals were only a few picks away from selecting both Travis Sanheim and Brandon Carlo in the 8th and 10th rounds, which would have solidified their defense for a few years.

Obviously, drafting 15-year-olds isn’t a set science. These kids still haven’t hit their growth spurts in a lot of cases and it’s difficult to know who will blossom in their environments and who won’t, but it’s just interesting to see what could have been. Even at this stage of the game, the WHL

Even at this stage of the game, the WHL Bantam Drafts are very important to a team’s future, drafting 15-year-olds who will be leaving your team, at the best case scenario, as 20-year-olds. The Royals got a few players who helped the club tremendously, but if only they knew how some of these other guys would turn out.

Part Two, the 2012 Draft, will be up in a few days.

Thanks for reading!

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