On the eve of the Bantam Draft, the Portland Winterhawks traded Carter Streek to the Saskatoon Blades for a fifth-round Bantam pick this year. Streek was drafted in the fourth round last year in the 80th position. Streek played for the Yale Hockey Academy Prep last season scoring 9 goals and 19 assists for 28 points in 33 games.
This year the draft will be held as a completely online affair. They have moved it from being in Red Deer to being online due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Portland will select 23rd at the start of the second round in the draft as a result of a trade with Swift Current. Portland won’t select again until 83rd, which they got from Medicine Hat, the 97th pick to Portland comes from Victoria: 110, 141 (from Victoria) 154, 176 and 198 will start the ninth round. Though the draft can go up to fifteen rounds with the last pick assigned to Portland, the draft usually ends by the tenth round, which would be the last pick at 220 by Portland.
The big decision is whether Portland will use any picks on another goaltender. As has been noted, Joel Hofer is signed by the St. Louis Blues. The two goaltenders they have now are only 30 and 27 years old. Most agree that goaltenders take longer to mature and with only only two spots available on the team. The farm team is using goalkeepers 25 and 27 years old currently and the Blues have listed two other prospects, one being Hofer at 19. Hofer would be 20 at the start of the season and could be moved to the pros if they felt he couldn’t gain anything in Junior. The Winterhawks have an option with Dante Giannuzzi already having his feet wet in the WHL and another goalkeeper in the wings in Lochlan Gordon who is a year younger than Giannuzzi.
With defence possibly being an issue with John Ludvig hoping to jump to the pro leagues next season and Matt Quigley reaching his last year with the Hawks, there may be movements upcoming especially if they were a year early on the rise to the Finals, which many feel that they were.
On another note the University of Lethbridge has discontinued both the Men’s and Women’s hockey teams. To date, they eliminated 19 positions and have just recently removed 42 more with the understanding that further cuts may be made as they get the word from the Alberta Provincial Government. The lengthy press release also offers continuation of scholarships should they wish to continue studies at the University of Lethbridge.
There are no Winterhawks on the roster, but there are several ex-WHL players there. Most are in their 4th year which doesn’t bode well if looking to uproot and re-establish elsewhere.
On the Covid-19 front. The Ontario Hockey League is holding fast to the regular season starting on time. The Quebec Major Junior League is looking at starting the season as late as January. The Western Hockey League has made no announcement on start up dates except to say that the season would start once it is deemed safe to do so.