Friday, 4 May 2012

Rich Preston Talks About Hurricanes 2012 Draft

The Lethbridge Hurricanes were a busy team Thursday at the 2012 Western Hockey League Draft in Calgary.

The Canes selected 12 players and for the second straight year, had two first round selections.  They made a trade prior to their 2nd overall pick, acquiring goaltender Ty Rimmer from Tri-City for a pair of draft picks, a second rounder in 2013 and a 3rd rounder in 2014.  Lethbridge then dealt a pick away to Kelowna for a selection in the 3rd round (which they didn't have prior to the trade), and when it was all said done, the team selected 11 new prospects and traded for one of the top goaltenders in the WHL. 

In my opinion, that was a huge move by the Hurricanes, acquiring Rimmer, but that also puts the Canes in a real surplus of 20 year olds heading into training camp in September.  With Rimmer added to the mix, the Canes also have Dan Johnston, Nick Buonassisi, Tyler Kizuik, Landon Oslanski, and Graham Hood as potential overagers, so Head Coach and GM Rich Preston and his Hockey Operations staff have some decisions to make before then.  Rimmer's dad, by the way is a scout for the Hurricanes, so I'm told Rimmer is extremely excited to be coming to Lethbridge for his final season in the WHL.  I spoke to Rich Preston after the draft was done.

Pat:  Rich, You picked Giorgio Estephan and Thomas Lenchyshyn with your first two picks in the opening round and then made a big trade to pick up Rimmer from Tri-City.  It appears you have more than solidified your goaltending spots for this coming season.

Preston:  "Well, when you can get a top player, let alone a top goalie and we are pretty happy about this Pat.  His dad scouts for us so they're both pretty happy, their entire family about this."

Pat:  So now that you have six 20 year old players, what's the plan?

Preston:  "Good question!!! (chuckles)  Yeah, we have too many right now, but that will all play itself out!"

Pat:  Rich, are you happy with the way the draft went for the Hurricanes this year?  It seems you picked up some pretty solid players.

Preston:  "We're really happy with everything.  We got a bit of everything....size, is what we were looking at at. Estephan is a top-rated guy.  He was a good player last year as an underage Bantam and he stood out bigtime.  This year, he had 100 points and has a great shot.  I think he'll score a lot of goals in our league.  Then Lenchyshyn from Manitoba.  I saw him play about a month ago and he's the only Bantam in western Canada playing AAA Midget, which is pretty good.  He's big, tough, and a really good skater.  We didn't think he'd be around at number 18 so we are very excited to get him.  Potnikoff is a big kid out of BC.  Colt Conrad.....we were surprised he was around in the 3rd round. He played for Pembina, Michael Soffilas's old team in Manitoba. He was their top player.  I saw him at the Western Bantam Championship in Stony Plain. He really stood out as a skilled centreman.  Goberis is a kid from Colorado.  He's a real skilled forward that plays the wing and he wants to play in our league.  I haven't seen him yet, but Brad Robson has and really likes him.  We also got a couple of big defenceman.  Jensen from Calgary and Kennedy from BC.  Both are good-sized defenceman.  Szudor is a big goalie, 6' 2, 175 pounds from Edmonton.  Grant Fuhr coaches him. We talked to Grant about Szudor and he really likes him.  Hayward, is Estephan's line-mate with the South Side Athletic Club in Edmonton.  We took him.  He's a good player, I really liked him at the Western Bantam Championships and then we selected Rohl from Calgary, Fauber from Colorado, and White from Saskatoon."

Pat:  Is the scouting staff and Hockey Operations excited about the acquisitions and what the future might hold with what's in Hurricanes system now?

Preston:  "Yes!  Very happy!  We addressed a lot of needs.  Not too many years is a team going to have so many picks in the top 5 like we've had the last few years, so you have to make good on those and I think our two first-rounders this year are going to be top players in the WHL."

Hurricanes 2012 Bantam Picks

1st round, 4th overall:           Giorgio Estephan
1st round, 18th overall:         Thomas Lenchyshyn
2nd round, 28th overall:        Cole Plotnikoff
3rd round, 53rd overall:        Colt Conrad
4th round, 87th overall:         Zachary Goberis
5th round, 103rd overal:       Kade Jensen
6th round, 113th overall:       Brandon Kennedy
6th round, 121st overall:       Eric Szudor
7th round, 138th overall:       Josh Hayward
9th round, 182nd overal:       Tyler Rohl
10th round, 204th overall:     Logan Fauber
11th round, 226th overall:     Kody White



  1. Give credit where credit is due. I have been one of Preston's harshest critics but I love the moves and picks that were made. Mr. Robson gets a ton of the credit too. Really pumped for the upcoming season now we have the top keeper in the league. I can almost guara... nope not going that far but I have more hope than I have had in years.


  2. Not that the last few drafts were not huge for the Canes, but this years draft, along with the trade for Rimmer, will be the turning point moment when we look back on it during the 2016 Memorial Cup, which the Canes are going to win.

  3. No question the team will look a lot more offensive than they have in the past. Lots of skill being added, so that's exciting (Duke's going to be awesome). Mr. Robson did a solid job scouting and got a nice mix of players. Still lots of decisions to make. I hope the 20 year old situation figures itself out for the better. I like a lot of the 20 year old names listed. Johnston for sure! The team could use Hood's size to help the smaller players. Tough call.
    But ya, good looking team for next few years! Darren

  4. Certainly appears that Preston and Robson have their fingers on the pulse of what is needed for this club. For the last two drafts the Hurricanes have selected the top forward from the Alberta Cup. They obviously avoided some of the players from BC (who only want to play on certain teams). The trade for Rimmer,is a great move. It should help Liston in the long run.

    My only concern that still lingers, is the development of the players. I still think a young coach under the guidance of Preston/Robson would make even more of a difference.


  5. There is no question that they have been able to Draft and List some top end young talent over the last two years. The big question is can this staff develope these young players? If I was one of these young kids, that would be my biggest concern.

  6. Did they get the best forward from Alberta Cup? I don't think so. Just my opinion.

  7. Anon 8:03 Who in your opinion was the best forward available to them at the time of their selection? Do you think there was someone else they should have taken? I am simply curious as to your thoughts on who may have been a more appropriate choice.


  8. Canes cannot go another year without making the playoffs....the Rimmer move means they are serious...for 20's they need to keep Johnston and Buonasissi and trade for another goal scoring forward in exchange for draft picks and surplus 20 year olds. Most important priority though is to bring in a assistant coach who can mold these kids. Without that there will be more of the same...TD