(Marc Smith/DiscoverMooseJaw) Brayden Tracey put together one of the best rookie seasons in Moose Jaw Warriors’ history and now he’s hoping to continue that incredible season at the 2019 NHL Draft.
“It’s pretty exciting, it’s overwhelming, there’s a lot of people talking to me about it, whether it’s my agent, buddies, family, everyone is excited for me, so it’s a time that I’m going to take in, you don’t have any control now on where you go, so just make the best out of it,” Tracey told DiscoverMooseJaw.com during a phone interview last week.
Tracey was ranked 21st among North American skaters in NHL Central Scouting’s final draft rankings and he’s found his way into the first round of many mock drafts.
While the possibility of being a first-round pick is there, Tracey isn’t too worried about where he goes on draft day.
“It would be an honour to go, but you have no control over it,” said Tracey. “I’m going with the mindset of it doesn’t matter where you go, it matters what you do after. You look at [Justin] Almeida this year, he was a fifth rounder, signed a pro contract and is most likely to play pro.”
The 2018-19 season was one to remember for Tracey, who led the entire CHL with 36 goals and 81 points in 66 games as a rookie. That catapulted him into the sights of NHL scouts as he moved from a ‘C’ prospect in NHL Central Scouting’s initial rankings to a possible first-round prospect as the season went on.
Tracey won WHL Rookie of the Year and was a finalist for the CHL honour as well.
He said he’s enjoyed the entire process leading into this weekend’s draft.
“It’s overwhelming, there’s a lot of teams talking to you, you’ve just got to take it in,” said Tracey. “It’s been a busy schedule, but you’ve just got to take your time and make the best of it.”
Tracey will be in attendance for the first round on Friday night at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. He said it would be a dream come true to hear his name called.
“It’s exciting, I have family, friends, lots of people are coming down to support me,” he said. “All I can do now is wait… you have no control over it.”
Tracey’s hometown Calgary Flames hold the 26th overall selection, while the Tampa Bay Lightning, who have had recent success with drafting players out of Moose Jaw, pick at 27.
The 18-year-old forward said he’ll be happy wherever he goes, “Obviously Calgary has a soft spot in my heart but it doesn’t really matter,” he said. “It’s a dream as a kid to play anywhere, so I’ll be honoured with whoever picks me and I’ll hope for the best.”
Moose Jaw’s Reece Newkirk of the Portland Winterhawks will also be hoping to hear his name called this weekend. Newkirk was ranked 81st among North American skaters in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings.
The first round of the draft gets underway at 7 p.m. on Friday night. Rounds 2-6 will be held on Saturday.