Photo: Shaughn Butts
The WHL’s Kelowna Rockets, home to the Caps’ second-round pick and World Junior champion Madison Bowey, have gone all-in on the Memorial Cup, acquiring Winnipeg Jets’ top prospect Josh Morrissey from the Prince Albert Raiders last month. Now the Rockets have made another all-star caliber addition to their already-impressive roster by trading two roster players and three draft picks for another Raider, Leon Draisaitl, third overall pick of the 2014 NHL Draft, in advance of Friday’s WHL trade deadline.
Draisaitl, 19, made the Oilers out of camp this year, playing in 37 games, scoring two goals and seven assists, but was re-assigned to Prince Albert last week. Last year, Draisaitl finished tied for fourth in points in the WHL with Prince Albert (38 goals and 67 assists, 105 points in 64 games).
German-born Draisaitl, one of the best center prospects in hockey today, will bring more star power to the Rockets’ forward lines to match the big names on their back-end.
Captained by Bowey and led by the group of Draisaitl; Morrissey; Nashville’s 2014 third-rounder Justin Kirkland; San Jose’s fifth-round pick Rourke Chartier; and possible top-20 selection at the 2015 draft, Nick Merkley, the WHL-leading Rockets are the favorites for the league championship and a Memorial Cup berth.
It remains possible that the battle for the CHL championship will feature the Rockets and one of the OHL powerhouses: the Erie Otters (featuring 2015 Draft stars Connor McDavid and Dylan Strome as well as Stars’ Remi Elie and Sabres’ Nick Baptiste) or the Oshawa Generals (headlined by Islanders’ Michael Dal Colle, Senators’ Tobias Lindberg, and Canucks’ Cole Cassels).
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