Winnipeg Ice Select Matthew Savoie And Conor Geekie 1 And 2 Overall

Ice pick first and second overall –

Winnipeg’s newest hockey team, the Winnipeg Ice, gave their fans something to be excited about after picking 1st and 2nd overall in the team’s first WHL Bantam Draft since the move from Cranbrook.

Owning the first overall selection in the 2019 Draft, the Winnipeg Ice selected phenom Matthew Savoie out of St. Albert, AB.  The 15-year-old forward is the best prospect the WHL has seen in years and has already garnered comparisons to Pittsburgh Penguins’ star Sidney Crosby. 

He put up an incredible 31 goals and 71 points in just 31 games while playing with the Northern Alberta X-Treme Prep – but the pick is not a slam dunk.  After being denied exceptional status by Hockey Canada, Savoie announced his verbal intention to play NCAA hockey for the University of Denver.  The exceptional status would’ve allowed for Savoie to join the WHL a year early – this coming fall at 15 years of age.  Instead, he will not be eligible for full-time WHL duty until fall 2020.  As a result, Savoie may abstain from the WHL entirely, and his verbal commitment to college hockey suggests this.  It is now the job of General Manager Matt Cockell and the Winnipeg Ice to convince Savoie to change his mind, and play junior hockey in Winnipeg.  The Ice have already begun the art of persuasion, trading for the rights of Matthew’s brother, Carter, last month.  Carter, a 2002-born forward, was selected in the ninth round, 198th overall in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft by the Regina Pats. Carter, like Matthew, is a University of Denver (verbal) commit.

In case Savoie makes good on his word to play NCAA hockey, the Ice traded a package of picks, including the 9th overall selection, in order to move up to 3rd.  They then packaged the 3rd overall pick up in a second trade and moved up to second overall, where they selected Manitoban Conor Geekie, and he is far more than just a consolation prize if Savoie does not sign.  Geekie had an impressive season of his own for the Yellowhead Chiefs, leading the WBAAA in scoring with 49 goals and 86 points in only 31 games.

The next pick for the Ice did not come until round 4, where they used the 68th overall selection to grab forward Rieger Lorenz out of Calgary.  Like the Savoie brothers, Lorenz is another University of Denver commit.  He scored 11 goals and had 36 points in 30 games last season for the Edge School Bantam Prep team.

Round 6 saw the team select goaltender Daniel Hauser from Chestermere, Alberta and forward Brayden Edwards out of Abbotsford, BC, with the 120th and 127th overall picks respectively.  Goaltending was an area of concern for the Ice last season, with the three netminders on the team sporting an average save percentage of 0.870.  Hauser hopes to rectify that in the future. A teammate of 4th round pick Rieger Lorenz, Hauser had a 0.911 save percentage and an even 3.00 goals-against average playing for Edge School Bantam Prep.  Edwards, meanwhile, had 14 goals and 31 points in 26 games playing for Yale Hockey Academy Bantam Prep last year.

In round 7, the team picked another forward, Hayden Pakkala from High River, AB.  The Ice used the 142nd overall pick to select Pakkala.  The 15-year-old played for the Okotoks Oilers Bantam AAA team last season, scoring 23 goals and 51 points in 31 games.

To finish off the day, the Ice selected a further three players: Defenceman Josh Mettimano out of Cochrane, AB, 156th overall, Defenceman Owen Boucher from Bonnyville, AB, 157th overall and forward Carter Spirig 169th overall out of Peace River, AB.  Mettimano also played for Edge School Bantam Prep, scoring once and tallying 7 points in 28 games.  Boucher had no goals and 8 points in 17 games for the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers Bantam team. Spirig also played for the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers Bantam team and finished last season with 19 goals and 39 points in 33 games.

The team also acquired overagers Reece Harsch and Isaac Johnson in trades. Harsch, a defenseman, split last season between the Seattle Thunderbirds and Saskatoon Blades, where he tallied a combined 20 points in 57 games.  The 20-year old was a part of the 2016-17 Ed Chynoweth Cup-winning Thunderbirds. Johnson is a left-winger who tallied 32 points in 31 games last year for the Tri-City Americans.

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