Five Year Review -- Schooners 2012 Draft Retrospectiveby Eric Schneider | April 21, 2017, 8:54 PM ET
"Ever heard the expression, 'I'd rather be lucky than good?'"
That's how Schooners GM Eric Schneider sums up his team's performance at the 2012 SICHL Entry Draft. Granted it was a strong draft year, but the team's 10 picks yielded two bonified SICHLers, another five currently on the cusp, and as of yet just one clear bust. The following is a rundown of those ten picks -- where did they come from, and where are they heading?
Teuvo Teravainen, W/C – Drafted from Jokerit (Liiga)
1st round-17th overall
SICHL Regular -- 82 games played, under contract with Nova Scotia Schooners
"Teuvo Teravainen," what a name. Go on, say it. Rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? Chants of "Too-Voh" were heard more than once this year at the Metrodome as Teravainen enjoyed his first season with the club, playing all 82 games. He bounced around the top-6 early in the year, lining up next to Tavares, Toews, and Couture before settling into his current role on the 3rd line between Marian Gaborik and Gustav Nyquist.
Teravainen's displayed flashes of the top-6 skills that had him drafted 17th overall ahead of Tomas Hertl and Tanner Pearson, the only two picks out of the next 17 who've played more SICHL games. Thanks to a wealth of forward talent, Teravainen will likely have to wait another year before climbing back into the top-6; in the mean-time, he'll get plenty of opportunity to further develop his already impressive two-way game.
Tim Bozon, LW – Drafted from Kamloops Blazers (WHL)
2nd round-45th overall
Project-- 0 games played, under contract with Nova Scotia Schooners
The son of Philppe Bozon, the first French-born player to appear in the NHL, Tim is a living reminder that there are more important things than hockey. Diagnosed on March 1st, 2014, with Neisseria meningitis, a deadly bacterial infection, Bozon was put in a medically-induced coma for 10 days while doctors at Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon fought to save his life. Despite losing 40 pounds and having to re-learn to walk, Bozon recuperated over the summer, attended rookie camp that September, and led the Kootenay Ice in goals that season.
Bozon signed his first pro contract last season but has yet to appear for the Cape Breton Clippers in the GHA. Despite the scoring touch he demonstrated in junior, Bozon's projecting as more of a depth winger. He has a long road to the SICHL, which may include a stopover in Europe if he continues to struggle in North America. Still, he's the right combination of talented and determined, so it's unlikely the Schooners are ready to give up on him yet.
Adam Pelech, D – Drafted from Erie Otters (OHL)
2nd round-51st overall
Prospect-- 0 games played, traded to Vancouver Island Norsemen for Marek Langhamer and a delicious Belgian Tripel
Another pick from proven hockey bloodlines, Adam is the nephew of left wing-turned executive Mike Gillis, and brother to Louisville Thunder 2nd-rounder Matt Pelech (brother Mike currently plays minor pro hockey as well, but was not drafted). Likely to be the most successful of the Pelech brothers, Adam projects as a top-4 defencemen and has an opportunity to snag a place in the Norsemen's starting lineup next season. And therein lies the first heartache associated with the 2012 draft.
Schooners fans are well aware of their GM's membership in an unofficial fraternity, a loose collection of GMs whom meet sporadically for adult beverages at St. Augustine's Craft Brew House in Vancouver, BC. At one of these spontaneous gatherings, and after far too many indulgences, GMs Schneider and MacInnis agreed to a particularly strange deal: ostensibly, Adam Pelech for beer. Oh sure, Medicine Hat Tigers alum Marek Langhamer, a hometown favourite of Schneider's, came back as well -- but on the face of it you can't help but think that Pelech, a promising young blueliner on a team sorely in need of promising young blueliners, was traded for alcohol. Such is life for Schooners fans.
John Draeger, D – Drafted from Shattuck St. Mary's (USHS)
3rd round-73rd overall
Bust -- 0 games played, rights held by Nova Scotia Schooners
The second of four Shattuck players drafted in 2012, Draeger ticked all the boxes for a top-4 defenceman during his high school career -- big, strong, fast, responsible, and solid offensive instincts. The first four traits were on display throughout his four years with Michigan State University, but the offence largely dried up. Recurring injuries seemed to hold Draeger back, and following his senior year he was unable to secure a pro contract.
Brett Kulak, D – Drafted from Vancouver Giants (WHL)
4th round-96th overall
Prospect -- 0 games played, traded to Montreal Millionaires for $1,000,000 and 6th-DUB-2015 (Troy Terry)
Matt MacInnis's favourite player. Seriously, you should ask him about Kulak. It can be argued that defencemen should know how to play defence. It can also be argued that there's a role for a bottom-pairing power play specialist on every team, and that's where Kulak shines.
Drafted after multiple in-person viewings by Vancouver-based GM Schneider, Kulak has defied the odds at every level -- he was nearly a point-per-game in his last year in the WHL, and he was a +47 in 75 games this season with the Millionaires's GHA affiliate, the Charlottetown Charletans. If he can keep rising to the occasion, it won't be long before Schneider will be forced to admit he cashed out too early on Kulak.
Jaccob Slavin, a.k.a. "Jacob Slavin," D – Drafted from Chicago Steel (USHL)
6th round-151st overall
Ow. My heart. My heart hurts. Jaccob Slavin, the man with an unsanctioned extra C, is the one that got away for Schooners fans. Slavin's come out of nowhere, drafted after a respectable if not entirely noteworthy season in the USHL, on to increasingly high-profile stints with the USA WJC team and a starring role with Colorado College.
Slavin's already holding down a spot in the playoff-bound Spartans line-up, and figures to challenge Cody Ceci next season for playing time on the top pairing with Kevin Shattenkirk. The notion that he was essentially a throw-in alongside Gudbranson and Andersen is enough to make fans' heads spin.
Jake Dotchin, D – Drafted from Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
6th round-160th overall
Prospect -- 0 games played, under contract with Nova Scotia Schooners
It's appropriate that Dotchin and Slavin were drafted practically in tandem -- they've both had steady if somewhat unremarkable careers, and they've both ended up in a position to challenge for playing time on pro rosters. Dotchin's game is more physical than Slavin's -- teammates would call him gritty, opponents would say he's dirty -- and that makes Dotchin fairly unique amongst Schooners picks.
At this point he's likely stuck behind Dan Dekeyser and Zach Bogosian for a shot at the bottom pairing next year, but expect him to make a strong statement in the pre-season.
Connor Carrick, D – Drafted from US NTDP U-18 (USDP)
6th round-165th overall
What's this? A trade that didn't completely blow up in Schneider's face? Unbelievable. Carrick's already exceeded expectations, appearing in 5 games for the Spartans this season after being traded with Sbisa in exchange for defensive stalwart Marc Staal (sorry, I had to). Staal would only play 43 games for the Schooners before being packaged to the Tigers for Matt Niskanen, whom was in turn packaged to the Aces for Sergei Bobrovsky. So there you go, folks -- if the Schooners didn't draft Carrick, they wouldn't have landed Bobrovsky.
Carrick deserves a roster spot next year, but he's part of an increasingly bloated blueline in St. Louis. Either GM Gallagher makes some room on his roster, or Carrick will continue to ride the bus for the St. Charles Rockets of the GHA.
Connor Brown, RW – Drafted from Erie Otters (OHL)
7th round-185th overall
Prospect -- 0 games played, under contract with Nova Scotia Schooners
Possibly the home run pick of the draft, and all thanks to Brown's incredible -72 in his draft year. @Breeze2Greeze, as the kids call him, was named captain of the Otters the following year and led the team in scoring all three years he played there. Did we mention a certain McDavid was on that team for the last two seasons? That's right, he outscored McDavid. Twice. Oh, and that pesky -72? He was +44 the year before turning pro.
Brown put up 42 goals, 74 points, and +47 this season with the Cape Breton Clippers. He's already pencilled in next season on the 3rd line with Teuvo Teravainen and Johan Larsson, but if anyone has a chance to move up into the top-6, it's him. -72... phsh!
Hunter Fejes, a.k.a. "Samuel Fejes," LW – Drafted from Shattuck St. Mary's (USHS)
7th round-188th overall
Project -- 0 games played, rights held by Nova Scotia Schooners
There's tragedy, and then there's what happened to the Fejes family. When Hunter was 10, his mother was killed in a road-rage accident in their hometown of Anchorage, Alaska. Hunter was in the car at the time, which rolled end-over-end following the collision, and he spent five days in a coma with a cracked skull, a baseball-sized blood clot, a collapsed lung and hearing loss in one ear. The other driver received 90 days in prison for hit-and-run.
Fejes is the last of four Shattuck players drafted in 2012, which might seem odd given he led the team with 38 goals in 55 games that year. He's since graduated from Colorado College after an admittedly rocky few years, and it's likely he'll sign his entry-level contract this summer. Fejes is a longer-term project, and best case scenario is likely just a cup of coffee in the SICHL somewhere down the line, but don't rule him out -- he's overcome bigger obstacles.