Warriors could take patient approach at Import Draft

Matthew Gourlie
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Moose Jaw Warriors

The Moose Jaw Warriors are confident in their core group of players.

That confidence means they won’t have to draft for need Wednesday when they make the 53rd selection in the Canadian Hockey League’s Import Draft.

“I think we’re basically of the philosophy that we’re not going to bring over an import player and draft just for the sake of drafting,” said Warriors general manager Alan Millar. “We do have some depth and we believe we’ve drafted well. We’ve made commitments and signed a certain number of players. There’s no point in bringing over an average European to take ice time away from some of our young guys that we’ve already committed too.”

The Warriors will also have the 113th pick in the second round and have the room to select twice if they choose to.

Picking 53rd doesn’t offer a lot of guarantees. Teams typically do their homework to make sure that a player will come over to the CHL before selecting them. Millar said that the Warriors are open to the idea of taking a flier on someone who isn’t guaranteed to come over right away — if at all — if they’re not sold on the players left who are a sure thing to report.

“We’re in a position to be open-minded and in a position to either draft for now and work with them in their development or to possibly look for somebody who may not necessarily come for a year,” said Millar.

“We may go off the board with somebody who is a highly-rated player who maybe isn’t committed to coming to Major Junior right now and see how it plays out.”

Of course ideally the Warriors will have a player they value on the board when they pick whom they are comfortable will join the team in the fall.

“If we feel comfortable with the guys on the board when we get to those picks and we think that they can fit into what our plans are for the next two or three years we’ll take them,” said Millar.

Millar also isn’t looking for a one-year player like Eric Arnold was a season ago.

“We would really like to get somebody into our lineup that we know will be with us for at least two years,” said Millar.

“We’re looking at a group of younger players who aren’t eligible for the NHL draft for a year or two. Picking so late it’s hard to get a real good read on what exactly is going to be there.”

The Warriors’ draft slot could very well change as well as teams pass on their picks. Their second will almost definitely end up being higher than 113, but it is still possible that they will also pass on the pick depending on the circumstances.

Millar said he can’t see his team selecting a goaltender, but otherwise isn’t fixated on a need position-wise.

Organizations: Canadian Hockey League, NHL

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