The Virden Oil Capitals made a big splash in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League Bantam Draft.
Before the June 9 event in Winnipeg, the Oil Capitals nabbed the second overall pick by sending prospect Riley Zimmerman, a forward from Winnipeg, and the No. 7 selection in this year’s draft to the OCN Blizzard. After Waywayseecappo selected Carberry’s Luke Robson of the Southwest Cougars bantam AAA team, the Oil Caps grabbed Gladstone forward Carson Buydens of the Central Plains bantam AAA squad. He was the first of Virden’s seven picks of the day. The team took four forwards and three defencemen.
“As a group we are real excited about the players we selected in (Sunday’s) draft,” Virden head coach and general manager Tyson Ramsey said. “Moving into the second overall spot so we could take Carson Buydens was huge for us. We feel like Buydens was the most complete player in the draft and will be a great Oil Cap when he is ready to join our lineup. With our other selections we were able to get a mix of forwards and defence and all have tremendous skills but, as important, are character kids who will work hard and represent our organization well on the ice and in the community. It was an exciting day for our hockey club.”
Buydens’ coach from last season believes the team got a great player – and leader.
“From the first day of conditioning camp, until our last playoff game, Carson was the leader of our team,” Central Plains head coach Brent Dyck said. “What impressed me most about Carson is his work ethic and his need to get better every day that he comes to the rink. It would be easy to take days off when you’re the points leader on a team, but Carson was driven to keep improving and was willing to put the work in, on and off ice to achieve his goals this year.”
Buydens scored 25 goals and had 21 assists for 46 points last season in 34 games.
“Carson is gifted playmaker with a great shot. He has good speed and is willing to go to the tough areas of the ice to be an effective player,” Dyck said. “Carson is a physical player that thinks the game very well. He is very hard on the puck, and wins most battles that he is in. Carson is good in both ends of the ice and can be trusted by his coaches and teammates to make the smart hockey plays.”
In the second round, 18th overall, the Oil Capitals took the first of the two Winnipeg Warriors they acquired in the draft. Dakota MacIntosh posted 32 goals and 62 points last season. “Dakota is a big body who is extremely skilled. He will be a top scorer in our league,” Ramsey and head scout Brian Elder posted on Twitter.
From the Southwest Cougars bantam AAA program, Virden picked defenceman Garrett MacDonald of Killarney in the third round with the 29th pick. He had 17 points, with seven goals, last season. The Oil Caps organization stated he is good positionally, has a good stick, and defends hard.
The Oil Caps got Thompson forward Ian Snooks in the fourth round with the 40th pick. “Ian plays a gritty game and has the ability to score,” Ramsey and Elder stated in a tweet. Snooks had 29 goals and 49 points for the Norman Wolves.
In the fifth round, Virden selected defenceman Matthew Renville of the Winnipeg Warriors at No. 48 and West St. Paul forward Nathan Lenoski of the Winnipeg Hawks at No. 53. Renville had nine points last season. “Matthew is a great leader on and off the ice that defends extremely well,” the Oil Caps tweeted. The team praised Lenoski for playing with a lot of energy and not being afraid to play in the hard areas of the rink. He recorded 33 points, including 13 goals, last winter.
The Oil Capitals capped off their draft with the pick of Brandon AAA Wheat Kings defenceman Ethan Guthrie in the sixth round, 62nd overall. Guthrie had 30 points last season. “He distributes the puck real well and can contribute offensively,” the team stated.