June 22nd, 2024

WHL Roundup: Clouston indicates Tigers plan to pick twice in CHL Import Draft today

By Ryan McCracken on June 28, 2018.

Medicine Hat Tigers head coach and GM Shaun Clouston is seen behind the bench in this file photo. The Tigers are going in to today's CHL Import Draft with a specific plan: To pick the best players available.


The Medicine Hat Tigers will have two picks to work with at this morning’s Canadian Hockey League import draft.

While Tigers head coach and general manager Shaun Clouston says there are a lot of factors when building a list of prospects for the annual three-league, two-round draft, one thing is for certain — they’ll be selecting the best players available with the 32nd and 92nd picks.

“We’ve got a solid list and we’ll pick the best players available,” said Clouston. “It’s a very different draft than the bantam draft, but the philosophies are similar. It’s trying to assess, first of all, who is available and trying to get a read on who may or may not come. There’s a lot of things with the draft. There are players over in Europe who are under contract, some contracts are almost impossible to get out of and some aren’t, and some players are under contract with pro teams. It’s challenging.”

The Tigers have two picks; Latvian defenceman Kristians Rubins is graduating from the Western Hockey League and Swedish blueliner Linus Nassen is approaching overage status. While Clouston says he would be thrilled to see Nassen in orange and black again next season, the Florida Panthers prospect might make a jump to the professional level.

Clouston added newly appointed director of player personnel Bobby Fox — who is coming off two years as an assistant coach with the team — has been working around the clock since stepping into the role last week.

“Immediately when Bobby took over the director of player personnel position, he’s been working tirelessly sifting and sorting through the potential players,” said Clouston. “We get emails, we reach out to agents and contacts and scouts, so we feel real good.”

More Tigers at camp

Nassen is among five current Medicine Hat Tigers at NHL development camps this week.

Nassen and fellow defenceman Dylan McPherson are with the Florida Panthers’ camp in Coral Springs, Fla. Forward Ryan Chyzowski is in Las Vegas with the Golden Knights, blueliner David Quenneville is in Long Island, N.Y. with the Islanders and goalie Jordan Hollett is in Ottawa with the Senators.

Broncos hire

The reigning WHL champion Swift Current Broncos have a new head coach.

Dean Brockman, who coached the Saskatoon Blades the last two seasons, replaces Manny Viveiros, who took an assistant coaching job with the Edmonton Oilers. Brockman, a 51-year-old Saskatchewan native, will also be director of hockey operations.

Two resignations

Both the Calgary Hitmen and Tri-City Americans are without head coaches today after resignations.

Dallas Ferguson resigned from the Hitmen Wednesday, citing a desire to spend more time with his family in Alaska. He told the Calgary Sun that his wife’s job prevented the family from moving to Canada after he took the job last year.

On Tuesday, the Americans announced that Mike Williamson wouldn’t be back for a fifth season, saying he “has decided to pursue other opportunities.”

WHL alleges lies

The WHL is refuting testimony that led to Oregon refusing to grant its players amateur status.

After ex-players Tyler Maxwell, James McEwan and Garrett Taylor told damaging stories to a senate committee on Feb. 28, the league hired a law firm to conduct an investigation of their complaints.

The complaints made include Maxwell alleging that, while playing with the Everett Silvertips, he was forced to play with a broken kneecap and initially denied X-rays. McEwan, who played in Seattle and Kelowna, talked about being in dozens of fights, suffering concussions and later denied scholarship money because he tried to play professionally. Taylor’s mother alleged her son was allowed to play without proper insurance, then released from the Lethbridge Hurricanes by being kicked off the team bus and his parents not notified. She further alleged her son developed serious mental health problems as a result.

The WHL, which doesn’t want to have to pay players minimum wage, said its independent investigation revealed all of Maxwell and McEwan’s complaints “were either false or unfounded.” The league’s press release said one of Taylor’s allegations were supported and that it would “take the necessary steps to introduce a new policy in this area as it relates to the release or trading of players.”

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