Draft Recap: WHL


Five of the top 10 picks at this year’s NHL draft came out of the Western Hockey League, including the second overall pick, Ryan Murray. Murray played last season with the Everett Silvertips in Washington.

Murray hails from White City, Saskatchewan and played 46 games with the Silvertips last season, his fourth with the team. He had 9 goals and 22 assists in that time. Prior to the draft, he was ranked second among North American skaters – and that’s exactly where he ended up going.

Also in the top ten was Edmonton Oil Kings defenseman Griffin Reinhart, who was drafted fourth overall by the New York Islanders. Reinhart just finished his third season in Edmonton, where he had 36 points (12-24) in 58 games. The West Vancouver native has hockey history in his family tree – his father is a former NHLer, while his older brother was drafted by Calgary in 2010 and younger brother plays for the Kootenay Ice.

Another West Vancouver native from the WHL was also selected in the first round, as  the Toronto Maple Leafs selected Morgan Rielly with the fifth overall selection. Rielly played with the Moose Jaw Warriors last season; he had 18 points in 18 games.

Two more WHLers went in the first round of the entry draft; Mathew Dumba of the Red Deer Rebels was selected seventh by the Minnesota Wild, and the Pittsburgh Penguins drafted Derrick Pouliot of the Portland Winterhawks with the eighth pick.

Dumba was ranked eleventh overall after finishing his second full season with the Rebels. In 2011, he was named WHL Rookie of the Year. This season, the defenseman scored 20 goals and 37 assists in 69 games.

Pouliot played in this year’s CHL Top Prospects game, and prior to that, he won two gold medals in the 2010 and 2011 Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournaments.

Overall, 32 WHL players were selected in the draft, representing a number of league teams and going to a variety of NHL teams.