Kyle Kosior- Mr. Drinnan, you have been covering the WHL for over a decade. How would you say this year’s draft crop stacks up against others you have seen?
Gregg Drinnan- Overall, I would say it’s a little above average. That being said, there is no above average forward in the league, its mostly talented defensemen. Jordan Eberle is very talented, but he is a year away. I really like Oscar Moller as well, though he has already been drafted. Tyler Ennis is good but small. Grayson Bowman from Spokane is also pretty good. Kyle Beach is an interesting project…actually I take back what I said earlier, Kyle Beach is an above average forward. Zach Hamill said when he was the NHL Scouting Combines the first question most teams asked him was about Kyle Beach. He has offensive skills and the ability to get under a teams skin, plus he puts up penalty minutes. The question is where do you take a guy like that?
KK- Luke Schenn is projected to go fairly high in the 2008 draft. How has his play been thus far and do you anticipate any rise or fall in his ranking?
GD- Assuming Schenn makes the World Junior team, and all accounts say he should, I think his ranking will depend on his play in the tournament. I feel it will only go up based on his performance. He is a big, mobile guy who plays physical and is a good team guy, well liked by the other players, from what I have heard. He does need to work on his first pass.
KK- In your opinion, what current NHL’er is the most accurate comparison for Schenn’s?
GD- Chris Pronger. Not saying he is there yet, but he certainly possesses all the tools and has that kind of upside.
KK- Another Rocket, Tyler Myers, is also expected to be a high draft pick. Can you give us a description of his game and speculate as to where he might end up being taken in the draft?
GD- Myers is basically a clone of Schenn, only a little taller and not quite as heavy. He doesn’t move quite as well as Schenn, but he has a good work ethic and good potential. I could see him going in the mid-first round as well. He needs to work on his lateral movement, but if Schenn goes top 6, Myers will likely be around 15.
KK- Are there any other Kelowna Rockets that you feel could be a solid pick in the draft?
GD- Brandon MacMillan, a left winger, comes to mind. He plays the point on the powerplay along with a 16 year old defenseman. Kelowna might be the only team in the WHL with a 16 and 17 year old manning the points on the 1st powerplay unit. MacMillan needs to work on his consistency, but he has all the tools to be a good one. He has lots of scouts watching him, so there is likely something there. Tyson Barrie, Len Barrie’s son, is only 16 but is a special player. He is the 16 year old on the powerplay. He is a huge talent, only about 5’8 right now but growing and will likely top out around 5’11, 185 pounds. He is very mobile, very aware with the puck and just a great talent. He will be a big player in the 09 draft.
KK- Oilers’ draft pick Milan Kytnar is skating with the Rockets this year. How do you feel he has adjusted to the WHL?
GD-He is having trouble adjusting, but I think its due to the language barrier. I hear he doesn’t speak much English and is having trouble adjusting off the ice as well. He should turn it around though.
KK- You noted in a recent blog posting that you feel it’s a mistake to leave the Vancouver Giants out of the CHL top ten. Do you believe they will rise up the standings as the season wears on?
GD- Yes. If there are 5 teams better than Vancouver in the whole CHL I would be very surprised. Tyson Sexsmith has established himself as a high caliber goalie and the team itself is very strong, they just come at you in waves, shift after shift. Michael Repik is just a dynamite player too and has an NHL caliber wrist shot right now. He is a good playmaker and blocks shots, the best player on the team.
KK- Of all the drafted WHL’ers, do you feel anyone will exceed their draft position in terms of the NHL career they have?
GD-Mark Santorelli, no question. A real steal. Real smart guy and will be a player in the NHL.