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 Portland Winterhawks

Winterhawks Add 11 Players During 2024 WHL Prospects Draft

May 9, 2024 - Western Hockey League (WHL)
Portland Winterhawks News Release

Portland, Ore. - The 2024 Western Conference Champion Portland Winterhawks today made 11 selections during the 2024 WHL Prospects Draft.

Portland drafted six forwards, three defensemen, and two goaltenders during today's draft, adding to the two high-end American prospects chosen during Wednesday's WHL U.S. Priority Draft.

Players eligible for the 2024 WHL Prospects Draft were 2009-born players residing in Alberta, B.C., Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Yukon, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Winterhawks Assistant to the General Manager and Director of Scouting Mike Coflin spoke with following the selection process.

Round 1, Pick 20 - Jordin St. Louis, F

Jordin St. Louis, 15, notched 41 points (14G, 27A) in 27 games with Edge School U15 Prep last season - good for third in team scoring behind fellow WHL Prospects Draft selections Adam Halat (46pts) and Mirco Dufour (42pts). The Airdrie, Alta. native also tallied five goals and four assists in the CSSHL playoffs, and notched two goals and three helpers with Team Alberta Black at the Alberta Cup. During the 2022-23 campaign, St. Louis posted 29 points in 34 games as his Airdrie Xtreme U15 AAA team captured the AEHL U15 Championship.

"Jordin is a smart, high-scoring center for Edge School in Calgary who showed the ability to make plays at a high pace," said Coflin. "He sees the ice very well and competes at a high level. We think that, as he continues to grow, there is a powerful, skilled player here."

Edge School also developed Landon DuPont, the #1 overall pick in today's draft, who became just the second WHLer to receive exceptional status to play in the league at 15.

"We're really happy to add Jordin to our group. He's a very intelligent center, two-way player...We just think, in the next two years, there's huge upside with Jordin."

Hear from Hawks Director of Scouting Mike Coflin following our first-round selection of Jordin St. Louis!

- Portland Winterhawks (@pdxwinterhawks) May 9, 2024

Round 2, Pick 45 - Alessandro Domenichelli, F

Portland's second selection turned some heads as Swiss-born Alessandro Domenichelli heard his name called. The 5-foot-10, 174-pound forward played for HC Lugano's U15 and U17 teams in Switzerland this year and is WHL-eligible through his father, Hnat, who spent four years with the Kamloops Blazers and starred during back-to-back Memorial Cup runs from 1993-95.

"As a Swiss-Canadian, he had eligibility through his father who played in the league. Once we knew he was eligible, we started to dig into his games for HC Lugano U17 against players two years older than him," said Coflin.

Domenichelli recorded 19 goals and four assists in 13 games with the U15 club in Lugano, then moved up to the U17 team and continued to excel. There, he netted another 15 goals and 13 assists in 36 games against players two years older than him. He'll spend another season in his native country before he's expected to arrive in the Rose City.

"He's one of the top 2 or 3 players in his age group in Switzerland," said Coflin. "His strengths are his extremely high hockey sense, a hard shot and offensive IQ. He has committed to coming to play here in Portland during the 2025-26 season."

Round 4, Pick 86 - Caden Leibel, F

Caden Leibel continued Portland's run on forward talent, and the Surrey, B.C. native brings plenty of it. Leibel ranked fourth on his team with a tidy line of 20 goals and 20 assists in 27 games during the 2023-24 season with Delta Hockey Academy U15 Prep Green, then scored twice in three playoff games. The 14-year-old also made his U17 debut this year with an assist in his lone appearance.

"He's a big center for Delta Academy, and we're extremely impressed with his poise on the puck, patience and playmaking," said Coflin. "Caden's an excellent distributor and wants to be a difference-maker on his team."

Delta Academy also produced current Winterhawks Kyle Chyzowski and Josh Mori.

Round 4, Pick 87 - Liam Reed, D

The first defenseman taken by the Winterhawks, Liam Reed led his team's ranked second in scoring for his OHA Edmonton U15 Prep team with 12 goals and 23 assists for 35 points in 27 games. The Edmonton, Alta. native also chipped in three assists for Team Alberta Gray at the Alberta Cup and appeared in five games for OHA Edmonton's U17 team.

Combining offensive prowess with a responsible 200-foot game, Reed projects to be a reliable presence on the Winterhawks' blue line in the future and even earned quite the player comparison from Coflin.

"Liam's a high-character, intelligent player from Edmonton," said Coflin. "He reads the play very well - comparable to Ryder Thompson in style of play."

Round 5, Pick 109 - Cash Brebant, F

Going back to the OHA Edmonton well, the Hawks' next pick was Cash Brebant, who enjoyed a stellar season in his own right alongside teammate Reed. A native of Fort McMurray, Alta., Brebant ranked third behind Reed in team scoring with 13 goals, 18 assists and 31 points in 27 games, and posted six points in five games at the Alberta Cup.

"Cash is a really impressive center, very highly skilled," said Coflin, "But the biggest reason we picked him is that we think his upside has a really good chance of being realized in the next few years when you add his skill and smarts to his physical maturity."

Brebant previously played for the Fort McMurray Oil Barons U15AA club during the 2022-23 campaign, where he notched 64 points in 32 games.

Round 7, Pick 148 - Becker Wenkus, D

The Winterhawks returned to this side of the 49th parallel in Round 7, selecting Edina, Minn. native Becker Wenkus with their next pick. A standout defenseman in the rich Minnesota hockey scene, Wenkus thrived in all situations with 11 goals, 14 assists and 17 points in 35 games throughout the Bantam AA circuit.

"He's a strong two-way defenseman from Edina. His strengths are skating and positional play, and we were really impressed with his presence on the ice," said Coflin. "Projects as a Marek Alscher type of player who will attend Neely Cup Training Camp this fall."

Round 8, Pick 175 - Hudson Sayers, D

Portland continued to bolster its blue line with the selection of Hudson Sayers in Round 8. Despite being an Edam, Sask. native, Sayers crossed the provincial border to play for the Northern Alberta Xtreme U15 Varsity program this year.

NAX also produced current Hawks Nate Danielson and Ryan Miller, as well as prospects Jordan Duguay and Owen Chapman, and several alumni have gone onto successful WHL and pro careers such as Dylan Guenther, Matthew Savoie, and Zack Ostapchuk.

"We like his skating, he's a smart player and really plays without fear," said Coflin. "A Saskatchewan kid who played for NAX this year, he'll play for Moose Jaw U18 next year."

Round 9, Pick 197 - Nixon Mah, G

After selecting Tyler DiCarlo with their first-round pick in yesterday's WHL U.S. Priority Draft, the Winterhawks added more strength between the pipes with Nixon Mah of Rocky View, Alta. Mah appeared in 19 games for the Calgary Flames U15 AAA team with a sterling 15-2-1 record, .932 sv% and 1.70 GAA in the AEHL.

Mah was named to the AEHL U15 First All-Star Team and won the league's Top Goaltender award, joining former Winterhawks Adin Hill, Kurtis Mucha, and Taylor Gauthier, the only two-time winner of that honor.

"We thought he had a really good season for the Calgary Flames U15 team," said Coflin. "To get his rights meant a lot to us, we think he has a chance to play in our league. He was one of the top goalies in Alberta this season, plays with quickness and skill and works hard at his game, and we think he's only going to get better and better."

Round 10, Pick 219 - Freddie Schneider, F

In Round 10, Portland snagged another American in Freddie Schneider, a standout sniper for the storied Edina High School Hornets program in Minnesota. Schneider tallied 13 goals, 14 assists and 27 points in 31 games for his school en route to a Class AA state championship victory at the Xcel Center, home of the Minnesota Wild, back in March.

"An elite player in USA hockey, we felt it was important to recognize Freddie's incredible talent and have his rights as North American hockey evolves over the next couple of years," said Coflin. "He's an electric forward who's in the top handful of players in his age group in the U.S."

Round 11, Pick 241 - Blake Clark, G

Looking for another netminder to shore up the team's prospect pool, Portland added backstop Blake Clark - teammate of fourth-rounder Caden Leibel at Delta Hockey Academy Prep Green. Splitting starts with teammate Matthew Wong, Clark went 11-0-0 on the year with a .875 sv% and 2.81 GAA in 15 appearances.

"Blake is just starting to emerge as a goalie, and we wanted to be part of his developmental path," said Coflin. "We are excited to see how his game grows and evolves over the next couple of years."

Round 12, Pick 263 - Nikita Mikhailov, F

Portland's last pick of the day was a notable one as the Hawks selected forward Nikita Mikhailov, who currently plays for Boston Academy's 16U AAA team in Boston, Mass. Grandson of Russian hockey legend Boris Mikhailov and son of former Spokane Chief Yegor Mikhailov, Nikita is WHL-eligible through family ties like Portland second-rounder Alessandro Domenichelli.

Mikhailov, 16, netted 38 goals, 51 assists and 89 points in 65 total games with Boston Academy this season.

"Nikita played last year in Boston - he's a rare 2007-born player eligible for this year's WHL Draft," said Coflin. "Big kid at 6-foot-3, strong on the puck and we wanted to take a good look at him as we head toward next year and our roster changes."

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