The 2023 NHL Entry Draft concluded Thursday in Nashville, and over 200 prospects now have the opportunity of a lifetime in front of them.
Two names you might recognize are Carberry's Carson Bjarnason and Sanford's Carter Sotheran, who both are joining the same system. The Philadelphia Flyers selected Bjarnason with their second-round pick (51st overall) and picked up Sotheran in the fifth-round (135th overall).
Sotheran spent last season with the Portland Winterhawks and put up 23 points from the backend. Bjarnason started 47 regular season games for the Brandon Wheat Kings in the 2022-23 campaign.
An MJHL Champion was taken by the Tampa Bay Lighting. Defenceman Warren Clark went in the sixth-round (179th overall) and was the only MJHL player selected in the seven-round draft. He had 38 points this season for the Steinbach Pistons and added eight more points in the playoffs. Clark is heading to St. Cloud State University in the NCAA Division 1 for 2023-24.
Hockey fans in Portage got to see a few late-round picks firsthand last month as three members of the Centennial Cup Champions, the Brooks Bandits, were chosen. Hudson Malinoski went in the fifth-round to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Aiden Celebrini was taken in the sixth-round by the Vancouver Canucks, and Aiden Fink was one of the last picks in the draft, going 218th overall to the Nashville Predators.
Fink was named the CJHL MVP and had 11 points in his first four games at the Centennial Cup. His 5'9" 155lbs frame may have caused him to fall in the draft as NHL Central Scouting had Fink as the 63rd-ranked skater from North America leading up to the draft.
Nate Danielson was the first Brandon Wheat King off the board, going to the Detroit Red Wings with the ninth pick. Zach Benson of the Winnipeg Ice slipped further than many scouts expected in the first round, but the Buffalo Sabres were happy he fell in their lap at 13.
Winnipegger Jayden Perron was one of the last players selected in the third round, going 94th overall to the Carolina Hurricanes. Perron was tied for fifth in league scoring in the USHL this season with 72 points. Perron has committed to play for the University of North Dakota next season in the NCAA Division 1.
Click here for a full recap of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.