The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League had two of its players
selected during the 2004 Entry Draft, one player less than the three selected
in 2003. Since 2000, there has always been an SJHL player selected in each
2000: 1 SJHL player taken out of 293 total
Despite the low number of draftees, the SJHL has had some
successful NHLers move on from the league. In 1981, a couple of solid
defenseman were drafted from the SJHL, Prince Albert Raiders’ James Patrick
went ninth overall to the New York Rangers and Moose Jaw Canucks’ Chris Chelios
went 40th overall to the Montreal Canadiens. In 1988 Notre Dame’s
Rod Brind’Amour went ninth overall to Toronto and Humboldt’s Len Easu went 86th
1989 saw Notre Dame’s Kent Manderville go 24th
overall to the Calgary Flames and the last noteable pick was in 1996 when
Melfort’s Willie Mitchell went to New Jersey.
Notre Dame has had a great deal of draft success and have had four
players drafted in the past three years including 2004’s Andrew Gordon.
The SJHL has also had a number of NHLers come out of the
league, but not get drafted out of it, they include: Bobby Clarke, Reggie
Leach, Curtis Joseph, Scott Pellerin, Wade Brookbank, Ken Daneyko, Steve
Konowalchuk, Brian Skrudland, Kelly Buchberger, Chris McAllister, Brett Clark
Below is an examination of the two players taken in 2004,
Justin Mrazek hailing from Saskatchewan and Andrew Gordon from Nova Scotia.
Birthdate: December 13, 1985
Place of Birth: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Position: Right Wing
Team: Notre Dame Hounds
Drafted: Washington Capitals, 7th Round, 197th overall
Like fellow East Coaster Brad Richards, right winger
Andrew Gordon decided to move out west to Wilcox, Saskatchewan to play his
Junior Hockey, and like Richards he’s a skilled and disciplined player. The
18-year-old from Porters Lake, Nova Scotia is a solid passer who could turn out
to be a later round steal if he develops next season in St. Cloud where he
earned himself an NCAA scholarship. He was one of the elite players in the SJHL
last season, earning player of the week honors in February. Gordon was also
named a star of the game for the Sherwood Conference during the SJHL All-Star
game. His Triple-A stats from the 2001-2002 season were no doubt helped by
playing on a line with phenom Sidney Crosby, but they were solid last season as
well. Time will tell if Gordon can take his game to the next level and become a
solid NHLer, but for now he’s a project.
Birthdate: July 21, 1985
Place of Birth: Regina, Saskatchewan
Team: Estevan Bruins
Drafted: Washington Capitals, 8th Round, 230th overall
The Washington Capitals looked to the SJHL a second time
when they picked goaltender Justin Mrazek of the Estevan Bruins. Mrazek a tall
goalie who covers a lot of net earned a scholarship to Union College after just
one SJHL season tandeming with goalie Andew Arklie in Estevan.
In 2002-03 Mrazek backstopped the Yorkton Harvest to the Air
Canada Cup Regional Championship and also earned the Top Goaltending Honor in
the Tournament. Mrazek wasn’t ranked by the Central Scouting Bureau and his
selection came as somewhat of a surprise. He is definitely a long shot prospect
who could develop into a solid goalie with a few NCAA seasons under his belt.
In addition to Gordon and Mrazek, Aaron Boogaard spent over
a month in the league awaiting an WHL deal.
While not officially drafted out of the SJHL, he is worth of
Birthdate: August 11, 1986
Place of Birth: Newmarket, Ontario
Position: Right Wing
Team: Tri City Americans / Melville Millionaires
Drafted: Minnesota Wild, 6th Round, 175th overall
Boogaard wasn’t listed by Central Scouting in the final
ratings and spent about a month with the Melville Millionaire during the
season, waiting for a trade from the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen.
The Hitmen eventually dealt him to the Tri-City Americans.
Boogaard is a young power forward who can provide a physical
presence. The younger brother of former Prince George tough guy Derek Boogaard
and current Wild prospect, Aaron is big and strong with good skating skills. He
is definitely another project for the Wild with some size.
Copyright 2004 Hockey’s Future. Do not duplicate without written permission of the editorial