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2022 WHL Prospects Draft Preview, 2021 Draft Recap

The 2022 WHL Prospects Draft is back in its normal time slot and is set for May 19, 2022 where players born in 2007 will see their names called. The WHL conducted the 2022 Draft Lottery on April 21, and the Broncos held their fifth overall selection after the Medicine Hat Tigers won the lottery. The Broncos enter the 2022 draft holding 11 selections, which are as follows:

Round Overall
1 5
2 30, 42*
3 52
4 74
6 118
7 140
9 184
10 206
11 228
12 250

*This pick was acquired from the Everett Silvertips along with Parker Hendren, Martin Fasko-Rudas and a 2021 1st (Brady Birnie) in exchange for Kasper Puutio and Ethan Regnier (January 10, 2020)

The following picks were traded by the Broncos in previous moves.

Fifth Round – 96th Overall

This pick was traded to the Spokane Chiefs in exchange for defenceman Hendrik De Klerk. (Aug 29, 2019).

Eighth Round – 162nd Overall

This pick was traded to the Moose Jaw Warriors in exchange for defenceman Cayde Augustine (Dec 17, 2020).

2021 WHL U.S. Priority Draft Review

The 2021 WHL U.S. Priority Draft took place December 8, 2021 and the Broncos had the sixth and 39th overall selections. Swift Current selected a defenceman and a forward with those picks.

6th Overall – John Whipple

The Broncos swung for the fences with the sixth-overall pick, taking defenceman John Whipple out of the prestigious Shattuck St. Mary’s 15 program. Whipple, from Excelsior, Minnesota, is seen as an elite defenceman in the 2006 age class out of the United States and posted 55 points (18-37-55) in 54 games with Shattuck St. Mary’s this season. He was recently named to the 2022-23 United States National Development Team U17 Program, a team that is annually comprised of the top players in the U17 age group, and plays in the USHL.

39th Overall – Henry Lechner

With their second pick in the draft the Broncos stayed in Minnesota, selecting Bloomington’s Henry Lechner 39th overall. A right-shooting forward with solid size, listed at 6’1” and 181 pounds, Lechner spent the majority of the 2021-22 season with the Academy of Holy Angels playing in the US high school ranks. In 23 games Lechner scored 39 points (14-25-39).

2022 WHL U.S Priority Draft Preview

The WHL conducted a lottery to determine the order of this year’s U.S. Priority Draft with each team having an equal chance at first overall. A snake-style draft, the Broncos will select 12th and 33rd overall.

2021 WHL Prospects Draft Review

The 2021 WHL Prospects Draft took place in December of 2021 after being pushed back from May due to minor hockey being severely impacted across the country over the past two years. Players in the 2006-born age group were then drafted out of the U18 ranks instead of the U15 ranks where the WHL normally drafts players out of. The Swift Current Broncos made eight selections in the draft, including two in the top 10 for the first time in franchise history.

Below is a list of players the Broncos drafted in 2021.

6th Overall – Clark Caswell

The Broncos used their own first rounder on Brandon, Manitoba’s Clarke Caswell at sixth overall. Caswell played in his hometown for the Brandon U18 Wheat Kings in 2021-22, and had an incredible season. In just 38 games Caswell scored at an over a two-points-per-game pace with 88 points (35-53-88). The next-highest scoring 2006 born player in the MU18HL had 42 points. Caswell’s offensive dominance continued into the playoffs where he added 17 points (9-8-17) in 11 playoff games, ultimately falling short in the deciding game 5 of the league final against the Winnipeg Wild. Caswell also suited up for three games with the Broncos, picking up his first WHL point January 22, a 3-1 win over the Lethbridge Hurricanes

Season Team  GP   G   A PTS PIM
2021-22 Brandon U18 Wheat Kings (MU18HL) 38 35 53 88 30

 

WHL regular season game Jan. 21, 2022 Swift Current Broncos vs Calgary Hitmen at the Innovation Credit Union Iplex Swift Current, Sask. Photo by Ed Fonger
WHL regular season game Jan. 21, 2022 Swift Current Broncos vs Calgary Hitmen at the Innovation Credit Union Iplex Swift Current, Sask. Photo by Ed Fonger

7th Overall – Josh Fluker

After seeing their own first-round pick drop from 3rd to 6th overall, the Broncos watched Portland’s 2021 first rounder shoot up from 14th to 7th overall. The pick was initially acquired nearly three years earlier, when the Broncos traded goaltender Joel Hofer to Portland in January of 2019. With the pick the Broncos selected another Manitoban, grabbing defenceman Josh Fluker. Touted as the best skater in the 2021 WHL Prospects Draft, Fluker did his best to prove that to be true during his 10 games with the Broncos as a call up. His ability to skate himself out of trouble was evident, and his calmness on the ice saw him log heavy minutes as an affiliate player. He recorded five assists during his 10-game audition before returning to his U18 team, the Southwest Cougars, to get set to host the 2022 Western Regional Qualifiers for the Telus Cup.

Season Team  GP   G   A PTS PIM
2021-22 Southwest Cougars (MU18HL) 38 6 14 20 38
WHL regular season game Feb, 4, 2022 Swift Current Broncos vs Moose Jaw Warriors at the Innovation Credit Union Iplex Swift Current, Sask. Photo by Ed Fonger
WHL regular season game Feb, 4, 2022 Swift Current Broncos vs Moose Jaw Warriors at the Innovation Credit Union Iplex Swift Current, Sask. Photo by Ed Fonger

25th Overall – Maddix McCagherty

The Broncos went out West with their first second-round pick, taking forward Maddix McCagherty 25th overall. The Kelowna, B.C. product spent the 2021-22 season with Rink Hockey Academy’s U18 program in Kelowna, finishing fourth in team scoring with 41 points (17-24-41) in 34 games. He was also able to get into three games as an affiliate with the Broncos, making his WHL debut Saturday, January 29 at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

Season Team  GP   G   A PTS PIM
2021-22 Rink Hockey Academy Kelowna U18 (CSSHL) 34 17 24 41 12

 

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45th Overall – Otto Hanson

The Broncos were given a compensation pick at 45th overall due to 2019 first round selection Tyson Jugnauth not signing with the team. With this pick, the Broncos drafted forward Otto Hanson from the Edge School Prep U18 team in Calgary. A player who’s motor never stops, Hanson scored 17 points (5-12-17) in 34 games with Edge this season, and also joined the AJHL’s Blackfalds Bulldogs for a game as an affiliate. He helped Team Alberta reach the gold medal game at the 2021 WHL Cup, where they fell to Team B.C.

Season Team  GP   G   A PTS PIM
2021-22 Edge School Prep U18 (CSSHL) 34 5 12 17 28

 

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48th Overall – Dawson Gerwing

With the third pick of the third round the Broncos went North and drafted Meadow Lake’s Dawson Gerwing 48th overall. Playing for the Battlefords Stars in the Saskatchewan U18 League, Gerwing was a regular contributor with 35 points (16-19-35) in 39 games. He then added two goals in four playoff games. Along with his scoring touch, Gerwin clearly has WHL size as he is listed at 6’2” and over 200 pounds. He had a goal and an assist in five games at the 2021 WHL Cup, helping Team Saskatchewan win the bronze medal.

Season Team  GP   G   A PTS PIM
2021-22 Battlefords Stars (SMAAAHL) 39 16 19 35 58

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70th Overall – Ethan Simcoe

The Broncos made sure to keep their depth at the goaltending position strong by selecting Ethan Simcoe in the fourth round. Playing for Rink Hockey Academy’s U16 program in Winnipeg, Simcoe posted a 7-9-3 record with a 3.50 GAA and a .910 save percentage in 19 games this season.

Season Team  GP  Rec.  Save % GAA SO
2021-22 Rink Hockey Academy Winnipeg U16 (CSSHL) 19 7-9-3 .910 3.50 0

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94th Overall – Ronan Buckberger

The name Buckberger may be a familiar one to some Broncos fans, and they would be right to think that there is a relation between Ronan Buckberger and former Broncos forward Ashley Buckberger (1991-1995) as Ronan is Ashley’s son. Playing for the Saskatoon Contacts of the SMAAAHL, Buckberger picked up 10 points (0-10-10) in 41 games this season. He helped Team Saskatchewan claim bronze at the 2021 WHL Cup.

Season Team  GP   G   A PTS PIM
2021-22 Saskatoon Contacts (SMAAAHL) 41 0 10 10 42

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190th Overall – Luc Bourdon

Not selecting again for nearly 100 picks, the Broncos finished their 2021 draft by selecting defenceman Luc Bourdon from the Tisdale Trojans. Broncos general manager Chad Leslie cited Bourdon’s intelligence as one of the biggest attributes of his game.

Season Team  GP   G   A PTS PIM
2021-22 Tisdale Trojans (SMAAAHL) 44 1 7 8 4

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