2017 Entry Draft Analysisby J.J. Jameson | September 8, 2017, 12:03 PM ET
For the majority of GMs who attended the first ever SICHL Summit and Live Draft in Edmonton a couple of weeks ago, the text from Denver GM Sam Myers changed the complexion of the weekend in an instant: "Shopping my 3rd overall pick. Respond to get talks started." 18 heads all bent over their phones, and that was just the begining.
Express GM Mark MacRae didn't acquire Denver's 3rd overall pick, but they did work out a huge trade which shipped pending RFA and this generation's definition of power forward, Milan Lucic to the Rapids. In exchange, Fredericton got promising young forward Zach Senyshyn, and Denver's 2nd and 5th round draft picks. The move shocked fans, but not league insiders. Lucic's contract demands had reportedly triggered some phone calls around the league.
"I think Milan is a tremendous player." said MacRae "He was a huge part of our cup win. He's played his whole career in an Express uniform and has been nothing but a great guy on and off the ice."
And yet he was shipped out for a prospect and picks. Mind you, Senyshyn does project to be a top-6 forward and who doesn't like high second round picks? The Express, apparently. In a hasty draft-floor deal that Denver pick went to Nova Scotia for questionable returns... but speaking of picks, Fredericton ended up with eleven.
9. Owen Tippett - RW: The Express held the 10th overall pick in the draft, but apparently were desperate enough to land Tippett at 9th that they made a deal with the devil just as he was heading to the podium. MacRae traded his first round pick to Acadia's Guy Flaming, as well as swapped 2nd rounders in order to move up one spot. Tippett looks like the real deal though. Elite shot. It's too bad he doesn't like the nickname Ginger Snipes, because that's a cool nickname. Could be playing in Fredericton as early as next season.
39. Henri Jokiharju - D: After giving up the 31st pick to the Schooners, the first of three second round selections was this highly-touted two-way defenseman. Probably two to three years away from any SICHL action. But as many Express D prospects are about to graduate, this is a solid restocking at that position.
49. Marcus Davidsson - C: A well-rounded Swede with good speed and decent skills. Will take time to mature.
54. Aleksi Heponiemi - C: Speedy, skilled centerman who likely only fell this far in the draft because of his small size. Possible steal?
65. Mackenzie Entwistle - RW: He was projected to go in the first round until his season was derailed with mononucleosis. He is basically a full season behind on his development now, but the Express will be hoping that he bounces back in junior this year and puts the work in to get back on track.
69. Jack Studnicka - C: This is the pick that MacRae added from Nova Scotia when we dealt away Devener's 2nd rounder. Studnicka plays a well-rounded game; and is used in all situations on his junior squad. Potential third line guy with possible second-line upside.
93. Nate Schnarr - C: At this point in the draft, projections of where players could go were all over the map. Some had Schnarr as high as the second round. Schnarr has SICHL size already. He needs to develop some of his skills before he'll make it though.
115. Jarret Tyszka - D: With the other pick acquired in the Lucic trade, Fredericton selected this stay-at-home blueliner. Not a sexy pick by any means, but one that appears to be great value considering he fell to the 5th round.
121. Victor Berglund - D: Who? This guys was so far off the radar his name was incorrectly spelled "Fictor" on official SICHL draft lists. There was some heated activity at the Express table before this pick was made, as apparently Berglund was MacRae's personal darkhorse selection of the draft and when his name couldn't be found on the draft list, some panic fell upon our beloved top executive. Looks like a skilled D. Will need to bulk up though.
149. Malte Setkov - D: Huge.
177. Jiri Patera - G: Token goalie pick.