Looking to the future

(Marc Smith/DiscoverMooseJaw)  The Moose Jaw Warriors will add some new prospects to the stable on Thursday when the Western Hockey League hosts the 2018 Bantam Draft in Red Deer.

The Warriors enter the draft holding the 22nd overall pick in the first round after finishing in first place in the regular season standings.

Warriors assistant general manager Jason Ripplinger said having a late pick in the opening round makes the job done by the scouting staff that much more important.

“The high end guys are usually in the top-10 and I’ve never picked at 22, so it’s different, but you’ll just have to wait to see how everything goes before you,” said Ripplinger.

After that first round pick and barring a trade, the Warriors won’t call another name until the fourth round, 79th overall. They have a fifth round pick and then two in the sixth round.

With so few high end picks, the Warriors’ front office will be looking to pick-up some value in those middle rounds.

“You’re looking for the depth there and those are the guys that can win you a championship,” said Ripplinger.

This will be Ripplinger’s first draft with the Warriors after joining the team last summer. He said that not much will change for him going into draft day on Thursday.

“Nothing changes, we’re still looking at the same players as we did the last 3-4 years, but just different ideas this year,” said Ripplinger.

The process to prepare for the bantam draft runs throughout the year and culminates in the selections on Thursday.

“We work hard all year with all the scouts and we get all our information together and we’ll have a meeting (Wednesday) to go over everything heading into the draft,” said Ripplinger.

“We started from day one right after training camp, bantam games start and we’re looking at players on our list, but then we get together and talk 3-4 times a month about players that we’re watching and then start zeroing in on the good ones.”

The WHL Bantam Draft gets underway on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. with the Edmonton Oil Kings holding the first overall selection.

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