Kelowna Rockets Load up with Trades and Picks at 2019 WHL Bantam Draft
The Kelowna Rockets made waves at the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft this morning in Red Deer, AB as the team not only loaded up with eight prospects but made three trades.
The Rockets held the 5th overall pick at the draft, President/General Manager, Bruce Hamilton had previously talked about the pick being in play. In our draft preview Hamilton said, "I've said and stated that the pick would be available if we were going to get something that met the value of it.
"If we can get something in return that's going to help our hockey club for next year with the Memorial Cup, we would certainly look at it, but it has to be something that will have an impact on our team because whoever we draft will certainly have an impact."
When it came time for the Rockets to draft, there was a trade announcement. Kelowna had dealt the 5th overall pick to the Brandon Wheat Kings for their 10th overall pick in the 2019 draft and the rights to Sean Comrie.
Comrie (6'0, 168-pounds) was originally drafted 44th overall in the second round of the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft by the Wheat Kings. The Edmonton played for the University of Denver this past season where he had an assist in 18 games with the Pioneers. The Pio's made an appearance at the NCAA's Frozen Four Tournament.
The 6'0, 168-pound defender suited up for the Spruce Grove Saints during the 2017-2018 season where he had 34 points (7G, 27A) in 54 games, helping the Saints capture the AJHL championship.
"Sean wasn't happy with his situation this past season," said Hamilton about Comrie. "He wasn't happy with his minutes and role on the team. When we heard that he was available, it made sense for us to go after him. He's a strong player and will give us more depth on the blueline."
The Rockets weren't done making moves there though, they in turn moved the 10th overall pick at the 2019 Draft to the Seattle Thunderbirds along with the Rockets 2nd round pick in 2021 and first-round pick in the 2022 WHL Bantam Draft and Conner Bruggen-Cate for defenceman Jake Lee, forward Dillon Hamaliuk and goaltender Cole Schwebius from the Seattle Thunderbirds.
"This trade will have a big impact on our team," said Hamilton. "Lee is a strong defenceman, he always has an influence when he is on the ice. He is a top prospect that will hear his name called alongside fellow Rockets defencemen Kaedan Korczak and Lassi Thomson at the NHL draft.
"Hamaliuk is another top player, he was having a great start to the season before an injury ended it. Schwebius is a Kelowna product, he will give us the insurance that we need in net moving forward."
Lee, a 2001 born Sherwood Park, AB native was originally drafted by the Seattle 18th overall at the 2016 Bantam Draft. In 135 regular season games with the Thunderbirds the 6'2, 216-pound defenceman has 34 points (7G, 27A). This past season he posted a career-best 24 points (3G, 21A) in 67 games.
He played with Korczak and Thomson on Team Orr at the Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects game this past January. The NHL's Central Scouting Service has ranked Lee 146th among North American skaters for the upcoming NHL Draft this June in Vancouver.
Hamaliuk (6'3, 193 pounds) was drafted by the Thunderbirds 111th overall in the 6th round of the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft. The Leduc, AB product has 66 points (27G, 39A) in 120 regular season games with Seattle. He had 26 points (11G, 15A) in 31 games this past season before it came to an end due to injury.
The 2000 born forward suited up for Team WHL at the CIBC Canada Russia Series this past November. He was invited to play at the Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects game but missed the game because of his injury.
He was rated as 'B' prospected on Central Scouting's November Players To Watch List, which indicated he was projected to be drafted in the second/third round at the upcoming NHL Draft. After suffering his season-ending injury, he was listed as a limited viewing prospect on the midterm rankings.
Schwebius was the T-Birds 216th pick in the 10th round of the 2016 Bantam Draft. This past season the 5'11, 171-pound goaltender appeared in 17 games posting a 5-8-2-0 record with a 3.89 goals against average (GAA) and an .886 save percentage (SV%).
Lee and Hamaliuk were both members of the 2017 WHL Champion Seattle Thunderbirds.
The Rockets made their first pick of the day during the second round selecting forward Nolan Flamand from the Saskatoon Blazers with the 27th pick. The Saskatoon, SK product had 27 points (5G, 22A) in 41 games with his midget team this season.
Kelowna used their second pick of the day to draft forward Jayden Joly from the Fort. Saskatchewan Rangers Bntm AAA team 71st overall. The forward put up 53 points (22G, 31A) over 30 regular season games.
The Rockets then made their third trade of the day acquiring the Wheat Kings
2019 6th (118th), 7th (140th) and 8th (162nd) in exchange for the Rockets 5th round pick at the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft.
With the 110th selection, the Rockets picked 6'0, 175-pound defenceman John Babcock from the North Vancouver Storm Bant A1.
The Rockets made two picks in the sixth round. They drafted towering goaltender Jari Kykkanen from the Lloydminster Bobcats, he stands at 6'2, with the 115th pick. In 18 games with the Bobcats, he was 12-3 and had a 2.74 goals-against average and .916 save percentage.
Three picks later they then selected Maxwell Sanford from the North Central Zone Bobcats BAA. He had 27 points (13G,14A) in 17 regular season games.
Edge School defenceman Jackson Smith was Kelowna's 140th pick. In 26 games with the Bantam Prep team, the Calgary, AB product had 8 points (1G,7A).
The Rockets added a centre in the 8th round drafting Daimon Gardner from Rink H.A. Nationals Prep Team. The Winnipeg, MB product had 27 points (10G, 17A) in 29 games this past season.
With their final pick of the day, Kelowna went with a local player, drafting forward Rilen Kovacevic from the Pursuit of Excellence Bantam Prep team. He registered 34 points in 30 games (12G, 22A) this past season.
Images from this story
Defenceman Jake Lee with the Seattle Thunderbirds
• Discuss this story on the Western Hockey League message board...
Western Hockey League Stories from May 2, 2019
- 2019 Rogers WHL Championship Series Begins Friday in Prince Albert - WHL
- 2019 Bantam Draft Review - Saskatoon Blades
- Americans Take 10 Skaters in 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Tri-City Americans
- Royals Select Nine Players at 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Victoria Royals
- Kelowna Rockets Statement Regarding Lassi Thomson - Kelowna Rockets
- Cougars Select 10 Players in 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Prince George Cougars
- Rebels Move up to Pick Mayo in Bantam Draft, Select Another Two-Way D-Man in Second Round - Red Deer Rebels
- Winnipeg ICE Make Nine Selections in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Winnipeg Ice
- Kelowna Rockets Load up with Trades and Picks at 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Kelowna Rockets
- Vancouver Giants 2019 WHL Bantam Draft Recap - Vancouver Giants
- Broncos Draft 10 Players and Make One Trade on WHL Bantam Draft Day - Swift Current Broncos
- Former Wheat Kings Named to Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame - Brandon Wheat Kings
- McCrimmon Named Knights General Manager - Brandon Wheat Kings
- T-Birds Make Two First Round Picks at Bantam Draft - Seattle Thunderbirds
- Oil Kings Select Nine Players in 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Edmonton Oil Kings
- WHL Completes 2019 WHL Bantam Draft in Red Deer - WHL
- 33 Manitobans Selected at 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Brandon Wheat Kings
- Hurricanes Finish Bantam Draft with Nine Selections - Lethbridge Hurricanes
- Raiders Select 12 Players in 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Prince Albert Raiders
- Hitmen Make 10 Picks in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Calgary Hitmen
- Forward Ben Thornton Headlines Chiefs' 2019 Draft Class - Spokane Chiefs
- Tigers Select 11 Players in WHL Bantam Draft - Medicine Hat Tigers
- Cougars Acquire Fischer O'Brien from Hurricanes - Prince George Cougars
- Hurricanes Acquire Phare from Prince George - Lethbridge Hurricanes
- Pats Take Six Players in Rounds Five Through Nine to Conclude the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Regina Pats
- Hurricanes Acquire Thacker from Swift Current - Lethbridge Hurricanes
- Kamloops Blazers Select Nine Players in 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Kamloops Blazers
- Winterhawks Trade Shane Farkas - Portland Winterhawks
- Pats Make Four Selections in Rounds Two and Three of the WHL Bantam Draft - Regina Pats
- Isaac Johnson Traded to Winnipeg for Draft Pick - Tri-City Americans
- Royals Acquire Shane Farkas from Winterhawks - Victoria Royals
- Winnipeg ICE Acquire '99-Born Forward Isaac Johnson from the Tri-City Americans - Winnipeg Ice
- Royals Select Defenceman Jason Spizawka 19th Overall at 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Victoria Royals
- Wheat Kings Select Three in Round One of WHL Bantam Draft - Brandon Wheat Kings
- Giants Make Two Selections in Round 2 of the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Vancouver Giants
- WHL Completes First Round of 2019 WHL Bantam Draft in Red Deer - WHL
- Hitmen Select Grayden Siepmann 13th Overall in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Calgary Hitmen
- Oil Kings Announce First Round Selection of 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Edmonton Oil Kings
- Raiders Select Niall Crocker 22nd Overall - Prince Albert Raiders
- Tigers Select Oasiz Wiesblatt 12th Overall - Medicine Hat Tigers
- Chiefs Snag Thornton at 15th Overall - Spokane Chiefs
- Pats Take Layton Feist in Round One of the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Regina Pats
- ICE Select Matthew Savoie, Conor Geekie First and Second Overall Respectively in 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Winnipeg Ice
- Winnipeg ICE Acquire 2019 Second Overall Pick and Reece Harsch in Multi-Team Trade - Winnipeg Ice
- Rockets Make a Splash with Second Trade of the Day at Bantam Draft - Kelowna Rockets
- Hitmen Make Major Trade at 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Calgary Hitmen
- Kelowna Rockets Make Trade at WHL Bantam Draft - Kelowna Rockets
- Blades Make Trade with ICE ahead of Draft - Saskatoon Blades
- Blades Set for 2019 WHL Bantam Draft - Saskatoon Blades
- 2019 #WHLBantamDraft Preview: WHL Teams Look to Secure Core Pieces for Future Glory - Saskatoon Blades
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.