For the second straight draft, the Moose Jaw Warriors went with a defenceman with their first round selection.
With the 14th overall pick in the 2022 WHL Prospects Draft, the Warriors took Connor Schmidt from the Okanagan Hockey Academy Under-15 prep team.
“You’re always excited when you get a player at 14[th overall] when you had him ranked higher in the first round, so it’s an exciting day for us,” Warriors general manager Jason Ripplinger said.
Schmidt posted 12 goals and 32 points in 30 games with the OHA U15 prep team in the 2021-22 season.
The five-foot-11, 163-pound defenceman also picked up three assists in five games with the U16 prep team and added four assists in five games with Team Grey at the Alberta Cup.
“He’s a complete defenceman, he’s got some skill, he knows how to defend, he’s not scared to battle, jumps up into the play, good first pass and we’re excited for him for the future,” Ripplinger said.
After selecting Marek Howell in the first round in the 2021 WHL Prospects Draft, Ripplinger said this gives them two solid defencemen to build around.
“It’s great for the future with Howell, Ness, Sealy, we’ve got some pretty good defencemen coming up here to take over from what we’re going to lose in the next few years,” Ripplinger said.
With the 25th overall pick in the second round, the Warriors took Max Finley from the Rink Hockey Academy Kelowna Under-15 prep team.
The six-foot, 176-pound centre posted 31 goals and 52 points in 26 games during the 2021-22 season.
He’s the younger brother of Winnipeg ICE forward Jack Finley.
The Warriors went with another forward with their second pick in the second round, taking Noah Degenstein from the Edge School Under-15 prep at 36th overall.
The six-foot-four, 183-pound centre scored eight goals and 30 points in 30 games in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League this season.
In the third round, the Warriors selected six-foot-five goalie Jonah Tonhauser from the Okanagan Hockey Academy Under-15 prep team.
The Penticton, BC product posted a 6-4-1 record in 18 games this season with a 3.80 goals against average and a 0.876 save percentage.
The Warriors used the 80th overall pick in the fourth round on forward Landen McFadden from OHA Edmonton Under-15 prep team.
The five-foot-nine, 168-pound forward posted 27 goals and 49 points in 30 games during the 2021-22 season.