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Wednesday, 11 May 2011 20:43

Porter, Broncos ecstatic with draft picks

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By Chris Jaster — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Jamie Porter, Mark Lamb and other Swift Current Bronco staff members who travelled to Calgary for the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft May 5 couldn’t help, but celebrate after the draft.

Porter, the Broncos’ assistant general manager and director of player personnel, hoped Swift Current would be able to draft three of Brycen Martin, Zach Gonek, Dakota Odgers and Cavin Leth heading into the draft.

Being able to select all four in the first two rounds sent Porter over the moon.

The Broncos selected Martin, an offensive-minded defenceman from Calgary who put up 42 points in 31 games, second over all. Gonek, another offensive defenceman from northern Alberta, was selected 13th overall.

Swift Current took Odgers, a forward and son of former NHLer Jeff Odgers, and Cavin Leth, a forward from Taber with their second-round picks.

“When it comes to Martin, we thought he might have been the most dynamic guy in the draft,” said Porter. “He must be thought of as the best skater or close to. He is excellent with the puck; he’s a great first pass guy; he can run a power play.

“Gonek is an offensive defenceman as well. We didn’t lose anything in the puck skills. He’s a great passer. He’s very good on the power play, but he’s (also) very physical and plays tough in his own zone – not to say Martin doesn’t, he is also physical. We got two guys who are different, but they’re the same and they’re going to compliment each other very well over the next four or five years.”

Odgers only played two games this season in Melville due to a shoulder injury.

Porter likes Leth’s two-way playing style and his ability to kill penalties.

The Broncos went into the draft looking to draft the best players available.

Broncos’ officials feel they accomplished their mission with their early selections.

Porter also feels Swift Current may have drafted a few hidden gems in the later rounds. He believes all their drafted players bring something to the table and don’t display any glaring deficiencies in their games.

“Starting today, I would think they all have a chance (to be a Bronco),” he said. “None of the later players we took have a serious flaw that had to be overcome to give them an opportunity to play. You know how you take a guy one year and his skating has to improve to have a chance? We didn’t have anybody who had a key flaw like that. They all have enough going for them that in the right situation and scenario they’re all going to play for us.

“We got some size; we got some skill; we got some toughness. We got a little bit of everything.”

As difficult as the Broncos’ season was to endure — the team lost 23 of its final 27 games en route to a 26-44-0-2 record — Porter said the draft is the payment that will make up for the season Swift Current fans endured.

“This is where we get something recouped,” said Porter, who is now trying to visit all 12 players drafted by the Broncos. “We think we did that. We’re quite happy. We think it was a solid draft — one through 12 — and now we need to see where they fit into our group for the next couple years and see whether these players will be Broncos or not.”

NOTE: Stewart Valley native Jordan Wittman was selected 46th overall by the Broncos.

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