In the system: The 2000’s
With training camp just over a month away, we’re going to start taking a look at the players in the system with the Saskatoon Blades to give you an idea of who is coming to camp, where they’re from, and what they’re about. In this first edition of “In The System” we’ll look at all the players born in 2000, meaning they will be entering their 17 year old season of hockey.
We’re going to skip the obvious 2000 born players Chase Wouters and Michael Farren who played full time last season for the Blades with impressive rookie campaigns. This will focus on the prospects and hopefuls of earning a roster spot in September.
Hometown: White Rock, BC
D.O.B: April 27th, 2000
Acquired: 3rd round (45th overall) at 2015 WHL Bantam Draft
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Mosher is a big body player who utilizes his size to his advantage. He’s hard on the forecheck, a nuisance in front of the net, and has also shown the ability to score, especially from the dirty areas. Mosher dressed for 3 games last season with the Blades seeing limited ice time on the fourth line, but did make sure to dish out a few hits when given the opportunity.
Hometown: Regina, SK
D.O.B: May 14th, 2000
Acquired: 5th round (94th overall) at 2015 WHL Bantam Draft
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Tyler Lees brings natural offensive instincts to his game as evidenced by his stats this past season in Midget. Lees was a major factor in Regina’s SMAAAHL Championship posting a point per game during the regular season and then upping the ante by posting 12 points in 11 playoff games. Lees has a smaller frame but didn’t seem to shy away from physical play during his 7 games with the Blades. His lone goal in the WHL came against Lethbridge and was a result of driving the net and anticipating the play.
Hometown: Airdrie, AB
D.O.B: April 7th, 2000
Acquired: 5th round (101st overall) at 2015 WHL Bantam Draft
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After lighting up the CSSHL Elite 15 League in 2015-16 with 78 points in 35 games, Brandon Machado joined the UFA Bisons of the Alberta Midget Hockey League for the 2016-17 campaign. A smaller yet tenacious centre, Machado averaged over a point a game during the regular season. Brandon also had a strong showing at the annual Macs Tournament and then followed up his regular season with 5 goals and 9 points in 11 playoff contests.
Hometown: Fort Saskatchewan, AB
D.O.B: December 26th, 2000
Acquired: 2nd round (39th overall) at 2015 WHL Bantam Draft
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Grit is definitely an understatement when describing Payton McIsaac‘s game. A nasty defender who has shown offensive upside in Bantam and Midget. His 23 points were good for 5th among defensemen in the AMHL this past season while the 140 penalty minutes were 2nd in the league, 1st among d-men. Expectations were high for McIsaac following his draft year, but with a very late birthday in 2000, the Blades are managing expectations to ensure McIsaac develops to where he needs to be to earn a full time spot on the blue line.
Hometown: Revelstoke, B.C.
D.O.B: May 16th, 2000
Acquired: via trade with Tri-City in July 2017
Seth Bafaro was recently acquired by the Blades in a trade with the Tri-City Americans. According to Blades GM Colin Priestner, this is a player they’ve kept an eye on since his draft year in 2015. Injuries and a veteran defensive core in Tri-City limited Seth’s ice time last season as a 16 year old rookie, but this abrasive defender will be given every chance to earn a regular shift in Saskatoon. Seth has quick feet and an unrivalled compete level. Bafaro was also selected for Canada’s U17 Development camp last summer but had to withdraw due to injury.
Hometown: Coldstream, B.C.
D.O.B: April 5th, 2000
Acquired: 8th round (176th overall) at 2015 WHL Bantam Draft
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Powell Connor spent last season in the BCHL and fit right into junior hockey as a 16 year old. He’s described as a player with all the tools you’d want in a top d-man; good skating, physicality, first pass, decision making, and gap control. Whether those skills translate to major junior have yet to be seen, but playing Junior A certainly has to help. Despite not being used on the power play much last season, Connor still notched an impressive 16 points. His 70 PIM’s are also a good indication that Powell doesn’t shy away from the rough stuff. He’s listed at 6’2″ and 170lbs, but reports say he’s grown into his height and looked even taller by the end of the season.
Hometown: Richmond, B.C.
D.O.B: February 11th, 2000
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Jackson Munro was likely overlooked in the 2015 Bantam Draft due to his size, but he’s since grown a few inches and made the jump to Junior as a 16 year old. His size obviously wasn’t a concern while playing for his hometown Richmond Sockeyes of the PIJHL, as he lead his team in points by defensemen with 24 while anchoring the top power play.
Next week we’ll take a look at all the 2001 born players in the system for the Saskatoon Blades and follow that up with our most recent draft class of 2002 born players. Also keep an eye out for another feature as we inch closer to training camp with individual player reports of both prospects and returnees.
The Saskatoon Blades open the 2017-18 WHL regular season at home on Friday, September 22nd versus the Swift Current Broncos. Game time is 7:00pm at SaskTel Centre.