Regina Pats Head Coach and General Manager John Paddock is in Red Deer for the WHL Bantam Draft which goes Thursday morning with Edmonton picking first.
Paddock doesn’t have to worry about what happens in the first few rounds. In fact, he could be late for the proceedings and not miss a thing as the Pats don’t have a pick until the 6th round (130th overall) due to many trades made over the past couple of seasons as the team competed for a championship last year and a Memorial Cup this.
Paddock admits it is not ideal, but it is the hand they have been given and he is fine with that.
“You can’t go that long and not have it have an effect on you.” Paddock said. “That’s the situation we are at. We don’t have many picks, but we will look for players that we think and hope can play for us. It’s a lot to not be involved for five rounds so we will make the best of it.”
With prospects that are ready to move up along with returnees next year like Jake Leschyshyn, Max Paddock, Robbie Holmes and Nick Henry, Paddock feels his team will admittedly not be as strong as what they have been the last couple of years, but still competitive. He says the full effect of this year’s draft will come in three years time when the players who are chosen today start making an impact in the league.
Meanwhile, the team continues to get ready for the Mastercard Memorial Cup. One that they now know is right around the corner seeing the WHL and the other two leagues have gotten down to their finals matchup. Forward Matt Bradley says the coaching staff deserves a lot of credit for making this extended break a lot more bearable than it could have been.
“It’s gone by quick. The coaches have made it fun. “Bradley said. “They’ve been keeping it fun and fresh while trying to make us better every day and I think its working. I think we have become a lot closer as a team and I can’t wait to get back on the ice.”
When asked if he would rather face Everett or Swift Current in the Memorial Cup, Bradley says he is confident about their chances against either the Silvertips or Broncos, but he admits he would like another shot at Swift Current since they were the team who knocked them out of the playoffs on April 2 thus precipitating this long break that they have been on.