Rockies at the Draft

Meet the 5 new selections made by the Rockies.
by Ed Whalen | November 30, 2020, 4:59 PM ET

2020 marked the lowest number of selections ever made by the Rockies franchise at the SICHL Draft. Banff selected 5 players this year. That is 3 less than their previous lowest number of 8 in 2017 (thier first draft) and 10 fewer than last year. The Rockies are hoping to make these picks count. The team at one point had 10 picks in this draft, but moved a number out. Some picks were moved with prospects to add players, others were packaged to move up in the draft. The most significant of all the picks moved was the first overall selection this year that Banff won the rights to at the Draft Lottery. Let's take a look at who Banff acquired this year at the draft.

 

#10 (G) Yaroslav Askarov - Askarov was the consensus #1 goalie for this year's draft. 10th overall is often considered a reach for goaltenders as they don't always follow a similar trajectory of progression to skaters and are considered wildcards. The Rockies wanted to take a chance with this one. The 6'4" goalie is known for having an excellent combination of athleticism and control. He is rarely out of position and is extremely agile on cross crease passing plays. Askarov showed a blip last year at the World Juniors, but he was also just 17 years old in a tournament dominated by the best 19 year olds on the planet. So far this season at the age of 18, he leads the KHL with a .962 save percentage and a 0.96 GAA in 7 games played with SKA St. Petersburg. Askarov is expected to once again be Russia's starting goaltender for the WJC next month.

 

#12 (C) Anton Lundell - Lundell has been scouted for a long time and played for Finland as a double underager at the World Junior Hockey championships 2 years ago where he put up 4 points in 7 games. What the 6'1" center is best known for is his attention to detail and stellar defence. His advanced hockey sense allows him to play the game a step ahead of his opponents. Lundell was highly criticized for his skating and offence leading into the draft. He is doing his best to put those concerns to rest by putting up 20 points in just 16 games so far in the Liiga this year. Lundell is expected to center Finlands top line at the WJC in a months time.

 

#21 (C) Mavrik Bourque - The smallish Bourque is a very gifted palymaker. He sees the ice like few others do. He has 2 knocks against him that could get in the way of a future roster spot with the Rockies, size and speed. That is a tough combo to overcome, but Banff felt he has the smarts to work on those exact things. The Rockies believe his skating will improve as he adds more strength. Hockey IQ is toughest thing for a player to develop and he has oodles of it. Bourque is in tough at a loaded Canadian WJC selection camp. We will see if he makes the team, but if not, he is still young enough to try again next year and will go back to Shawinigan where everything runs through him.

 

#41 (C) Jan Mysak - Mysak is a north-south attacker who takes good routes to spots. This combined with good skating can put Mysak in the right place at the right time. While competing hard all the time, he does however become a little one dimentional with his drive and desire to score. He split the year last year between HC Litvinov in the Czech pro league and Hamilton in the OHL. He adapted to the North American game and scored 15 goals in 22 games with the Bulldogs. As a returnee, Mysak is expected to star for the Czech Republic at this years WJC.

 

#119 (C) Evan Vierling - The former 2nd overall pick in the 2018 OHL draft did not live up to expectations through his junior career so far. It is not due to a lack of talent. Vierling has good skating and is a skilled puck handler. He can see the ice well and has decent playmaking ability. Evan just hasn't been able to put it all together. His is very inconsistent. he put up only 10 points in 15 games with Flint last year, but then scored 34 points in 28 games with Barrie. The path may be longer for Vierling, but the skills are there to make it.

 

At the moment, the Rockies only hold 5 picks once again for the 2021 SICHL entry draft. A far cry from their first 3 years in the league when they made 34 selections. Rockies scouting staff will have their work cut out to find a couple of good SICHLers with fewer picks in the years to come.

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