The Vancouver Giants added 10 new bodies via the WHL’s annual bantam draft on Thursday.
The team selected Zach Ostapchuk in the first round, 12th overall, at the annual draft for 2003-born players.
It was held in Red Deer, Alta.
Ostapchuk is a six-foot-two, 175-pound two-way skilled forward is from St. Albert, Alta.
“Skating, size and strength are all positive parts of my game. I also take pride in my 200-foot game. Putting the puck in the net is important, but keeping it out of your net is twice as important,” he said.
“Zack is a competitor who brings a solid mix of skill, size and strength up the middle,” said Giants general manager, Glen Hanlon. “He leads by example in all areas of the ice, skates well and does whatever it takes to win.”
The Giants also added five other forwards, three defencemen and a goaltender.
The team had no second round pick but did have two selections in the third round, taking goaltender Drew Sim 46th overall and forward Justin Lies 10 picks later.
“Drew Sim’s compete level is off the charts,” Hanlon said. “He’s a proven winner who rose to the occasion numerous times throughout his season. He’s a big-game goaltender.”
Lies put up terrific offensive numbers with the Norman Wolves Bantam AAA team in the Winnipeg Bantam AAA division. In 35 games he scored 39 goals and added 23 assists for 62 points along with 62 penalty minutes. Thirteen of his 39 goals came via the power play.
“I’ve been working towards this for a long time, and It’s great to see it all pay off today,” said Lies. “I tried to focus on coming to the rink prepared to play well in each game. I’d say my skating and my shot are my two best attributes.”
“Justin’s a natural goal scorer who competes hard and skates exceptionally well. He adds a strong element of character and skill to our organization,” said Giants director of scouting Dan Bonar.
The fourth round was when the Giants added their first defenceman, as well as their initial B.C.-born player with the selection of Burnaby’s Nicco Camazzola at No. 78.
The six-foot-one, 179-pounder had two goals and 10 points in 30 games for the Burnaby Winter Club’s bantam prep program.
“Nicco competes hard, has a strong skill-set and plays a strong two-way game that should translate well at the next level,” said Giants head scout Terry Bonner. “He’s a steady skater with a strong shot and has loads of upside moving forward.”
The team’s sixth round selection (122nd overall), forward Wyatt Cook, was described as a “legitimate scoring threat every time he takes the ice.”
The six-foot, 180-pounder from Sherwood Park, Alta., had 22 goals and 37 points for the Sherwood Park Flyers.
“He doesn’t back down from physical play, he skates hard and puts himself into great position offensively,” Bonar said.
Surrey’s Brenden Pentecost (defence, six-foot-one, 160 pounds) was selected four picks later.
Four picks later the Giants went back to British Columbia with the selection of Surrey B.C. native Brenden Pentecost.
He ias six assists in 30 games for the Delta Hockey Academy’s Bantam Prep Green program.
“Brenden is solid in all areas of the ice,” Bonner said.
“He’s not fancy, but he’s a ‘presence’ on the ice. He makes a strong first pass, defends hard and plays the game with the type of fire that we’ve been coveting in this draft.”
Delta’s Matthew Peterson was the team’s seventh round pick.
The five-foot-10 forward played this past year with the South Delta Storm bantam A1 program.
“Matthew plays the game hard all the time. He loves to score, loves to hit and demonstrates the type of leadership that will be very valuable to the Vancouver Giants moving forward,” Bonner said.
The team went south of the border in round 10, nabbing Noah Alvarez from Los Angeles in round 10.
In 52 games with the LA Jr. Kings bantam AAA program, the five-foot-nine, 146-pound forward had 24 goals and 64 points.
“Noah is tremendously skilled. He has terrific offensive instincts but has an equally impressive work-ethic,” said Giants scout Mike Green.
“We’re thrilled that he was available to us at this stage of the draft.”
And the team’s final two selections were a pair of Kyle’s, defenceman Kyle Melo (round 11) and forward Kyle Bosheck (round 12).
Melo is five-foot-11 and 170 pounds from Manitoba and had 23 goals and 40 points in 34 games with the Eastman Selects. Seven of his goals were on the power play and another two were short-handed.
“He’s the type of player that always wants the puck on his stick,” Bonner said. “He’s a leader who played top-unit power play and penalty-kill for his team. He competes hard every shift and shows no fear.”
Bochek, five-foot-seven and 146 pounds, had 14 goals and 23 points in 26 games for the Notre Dame Hounds in the CSSBHL.
“He plays the game hard. He’s willing to go into the corners to make a tough play and brings great hands and a strong shot to the table as well. He’s the kind of player that brings a little bit of everything to each game he plays,” said Giants scout Bill Gibson.