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Five Saskatchewan players selected in 2024 National Hockey League Entry Draft

Five Saskatchewan players selected in 2024 National Hockey League Entry Draft
Five Saskatchewan players selected in 2024 National Hockey League Entry Draft

Saskatoon product and Spokane standout Berkly Catton top selection in province, goes eighth overall to Seattle Kraken

MOOSEJAWTODAY.COM — It was a good day for five Saskatchewan products at the 2024 National Hockey League Entry Draft on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon.

Berkly Catton of Saskatoon, Tanner Howe of Prince Albert, Tarin Smith of Porcupine Plain, Chase Wutzke of Debden and Nate Misskey of Melfort were all selected at the event, which took place at The Sphere in Las Vegas.

Catton didn’t have to wait long before his name was called in the nationally televised first round on Friday, as the Seattle Kraken selected him eighth overall in the draft.

That wasn’t a surprise, as Catton was ranked in the top 10 by the vast majority of scouting organizations, including NHL Central Scouting, and ranked eighth among North American skaters.

Catton became the first Saskatchewan-born player selected first overall in the WHL Prospects Draft when he was picked by the Spokane Chiefs in 2021, and immediately lived up to the hype with 23 goals and 55 points in 63 games in his first game. full season in the league.

Last season he went one step further, scoring 54 goals and 116 points, which led to his selection by the Kraken.

It didn’t take long for the stars to speak out for the former Saskatoon Contacts star. According to the Spokane Spokesman-Review, former NFL superstar and Kraken minority owner Marshawn Lynch showed him around the Sphere and joked that “everyone from Saskatchewan” was there to cheer him on.

Catton found the experience surreal and had not yet reached full weight.

“I’m just running on pure adrenaline right now,” he said.

Howe, a 5-foot-10, 183-pound forward, appeared on the radar of NHL scouts when he played the first two seasons of his career alongside Connor Bedard with the Regina Pats. It led to the Pittsburgh Penguins selecting the former PA Mintos star in the second round, 46th overall, on Saturday.

Howe scored 35 goals and 85 points in 67 games during the 2022-23 season and followed this season with 28 goals and 77 points. He was ranked 41st among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting.

Interestingly enough, Howe will be joining one of his arch-rivals in Pittsburgh, with Moose Jaw Warriors forward Brayden Yager also one of their top players.

Smith, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound defenseman, was selected 79th overall in the third round by the Anaheim Ducks after a solid season on the Everett Silvertips defensive line.

Smith was selected by the Silvertips after scoring six goals and 34 points in 43 games with the Saskatoon Blazers, but was limited to just eight games in his rookie WHL season due to a shoulder injury that required surgery. He returned and posted a solid 23-24 campaign with eight goals and 44 points in 67 games, leading to Central Scouting selecting him 38th overall heading into the NHL Draft.

Wutzke, a 6-foot-1, 161-pound goaltender, was selected in the fifth round, 142nd overall, by the Minnesota Wild after emerging as the Red Deer Rebels’ starting goaltender as a rookie.

After a SMAAAHL campaign with the Saskatoon Contacts in which he posted a 2.16 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage, Wutzke was outstanding for the Rebels this season, posting a 2.82 GAA and .904 SP in 36 games. He was selected ninth overall by Central Scouting among goaltenders in the NHL Draft.

Misskey, a 6-foot-1, 210-pound defenseman, was selected immediately after Wutzke and went in the fifth round, 143rd overall, to the San Jose Sharks.

Misskey, a former Prince Albert Mintos star, had five goals and 14 points in 65 games as a rookie with the Victoria Royals in the 2022-23 season, but his size and skill set caught the attention of NHL scouts the following season. He had scored seven goals and 34 points in 44 games there, but an injury in January kept him out of the Royals’ lineup until the start of the playoffs. He was ranked 89th among North Americans prior to the draft.

A trio of players from Saskatchewan WHL teams were also selected, including forward Ryder Ritchie of the Prince Albert Raiders, Evan Gardner of the Saskatoon Blades and Clarke Caswell of the Swift Current Broncos.

WHL champion Moose Jaw Warriors goaltender Jackson Unger and forward Pavel McKenzie were both ranked as late-round selections by NHL Central Scouting but went undrafted.

Visit www.nhl.com for a complete list of all 2024 NHL Draft picks.