The annual National Hockey League Entry Draft took place on Friday and Saturday at Vancouver’s Rogers Centre and one Brandon Wheat King and one Brandon-born goaltender are now a step closer to the NHL dream.
With the 171th overall pick in the 6th round the Colorado Avalanche selected Wheat Kings' forward Luka Burzan. The 19-year old native of Surrey, BC had been ranked 126th amongst North American skaters heading into the draft after a breakout 40 goal, 78 point regular season and was recently named to Team Canada’s National Junior Hockey Team summer development camp roster.
Colorado then used their next selection in the 7th round to choose Souris-born goaltender Trent Miner. Miner, who moved to Brandon at a young age, is coming off of a rookie Western Hockey League season in which he posted a 24-5-1 record, a 1.98 goals against average and a 0.924 save percentage in helping the Vancouver Giants to the second best regular season record in the league. Prior to time in Vancouver he was a product of the Brandon AAA U18 Wheat King program.
Burzan will no doubt serve as an excellent example for players not yet drafted after not being selected in last season’s draft despite being the 91st ranked North American player in that draft. One such player is Wheat Kings’ forward Ben McCartney, who as the 117th ranked North American skater going into this year’s draft was not chosen in the weekend’s seven rounds. McCartney was considered among the top in-season rising prospects after having not been ranked in January’s mid-season rankings and is a player who many expect the arrow to be pointing up for next season.
Brandon did not have a player drafted last season after having seen at least two chosen in each of the previous five years.
Updated June 22, 9:40pm. Corrected Trent Miner’s place of birth