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Thursday, 25 April 2013 11:29

Broncos’ getting used to being picky at 12

Written by  Brad Brown
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Let’s call a spade a spade. It’s pretty tough to screw up the 12th overall pick in the Western Hockey League Bantam Draft. Just ask the Swift Current Broncos.

May 2, barring a last-minute trade, Swift Current will pick 12th for the fourth time in franchise history – more than any team except the Seattle Thunderbirds, who have also picked 12th four times.
Previously picked by the Broncos in that spot: Chris Low (1991, 322 WHL games), Paul Postma (2004, 270 games) and Reece Scarlett (2009, 276 games).
Postma and Scarlett both turned into NHL draft picks while Postma wrapped up his first full NHL regular season Thursday with the Winnipeg Jets.
Another mid-first round pick, Dillon Heatherington (2010, 11th overall) was one of the Broncos’ top four players for most of 2012-13, and big things are expected too of Zack Gonek, picked 13th overall in 2011.
“When you get a guy like Heatherington right around that area, that was my first draft and there was four or five defencemen we had rated in that area,” said Broncos head coach and general manager Mark Lamb. “When it came down to Dillon the scouts were very, very happy that he was still there.
“To look back at it … you still do comparables after the fact, Dillon was just an excellent pick for us at that area. And the guys I’m talking to think that type of player will be available again this year.”
Since the draft was introduced in 1991, 18 players picked 12th played at least some time in the WHL.
Twelve of 19 players picked in 2010 or earlier (the last group mathematically capable of doing so) played at least 200 games in the WHL.
Eight have become NHL draft picks and five have set foot in The Show.
Could Scarlett, picked 159th overall by New Jersey in 2011, be the next one to hit the big time?
“They have a lot of prospects in Albany right now for D as it is,” Scarlett said Saturday from his home in Sherwood Park. “They signed a couple guys out of college a couple days before we got kicked out of playoffs, so I wasn’t really too sure if was going to get a call or not but I wasn’t too worried about it.
“I’ve had two solid camps there and obviously they signed me for a reason so I’m trying not to look too much into it.”
Scarlett was one of 15 Alberta products who played for the Broncos in 2012-13, lending at least a bit of a hint as to which way Swift Current will be looking next week.
“They say Alberta is probably the strongest province for 1998s this year, which really fits in for us when you see how many Albertans are on our team and specifically from Calgary,” said Lamb. “Obviously these guys talk to each other, so if you do a good job with your program people want to come to your program.”
People like Scarlett, for starters.
“It’s a great place to play in terms of being close to the team … it’s a two-minute drive everywhere to hang out with everybody,” said Scarlett. “That’s probably the best part about playing Swifty is the ability to have a close-knit team like that.
“The opportunities that I’ve gotten in Swifty, the chances that I got to play with the people I played with, the coaches I’ve had, they’ve all been so huge in my development and I couldn’t be more grateful for it.”

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