Cougar Players Eagerly Await Draft Call
Prince George, B.C. – Some nervous moments await a group of Prince George Cougar players this weekend.
The NHL Draft starts this afternoon in Buffalo and there’s a good chance a handful of them will have their names called by tomorrow afternoon.
As for how many will get drafted, Cougars play-by-play broadcaster Dan O’Connor says it’s very difficult to predict.
“It’s a very unpredictable entity when you consider the fact that you can have your rankings, you can have your lists, you can have your predictions and then in a hurry it can all go out the window.”
Despite the uncertainty though he says two or three players have a very good chance, beginning with hulking 6’3”, 210-pound defenceman Josh Anderson.
“He’s the defenceman that played the first half of the season and his season was sadly cut short due to a freak injury in Vancouver,” says O Connor. “He’s your typical hard nosed, physical defenceman and I’d say with strong likelihood you’ll see Josh go in the second or third round.”
Another player is hometown favourite and forward Brogan O’Brien.
“He’s a name that Prince George hockey fans are going to be familiar with as he’s from here and in his first season as a rookie had 56 points and finished 4th in rookie scoring.”
O’Connor says “the wildcard” going into tomorrow is forward Kody McDonald.
“A young forward out of Lethbridge who scored 15 goals and had 137 penalty minutes. Did a little bit of everything for the Cougars, he’s got size, he can skate and shoot the puck really well.”
He says he wouldn’t be surprised if goalie Ty Edmonds hears his name either.
“Ty Edmonds has a chance – I think both goaltenders – Ty Edmonds and Nick McBride certainly have a chance to hear their names called,” says O’Connor.
“I mean goaltending is very difficult to forecast because each team evaluates the position a little bit differently. We’re seeing more and more in recent years that older goaltenders in their 18-year-old season or 19-year-old season end up getting drafted.”
(In addition to the players on the team’s active roster, he says two players from their protected list will likely be picked too– Riley Tufte and Dennis Cholowski).
But for those players who don’t hear their names called, he says it doesn’t mean they won’t make pro.
“There’s so many examples of players that don’t get picked ever and go on to have terrific NHL careers. You don’t have to look far, for example goaltender Martin Jones, who led the San Jose Sharks to game six of the Stanley Cup Finals and long-time Canuck Alex Burrows.”