Kelowna Rockets trade down, grab towering six-foot-six defenceman

Rockets nab hulking d-man

Kelowna Rockets general manager Bruce Hamilton has been busy wheeling and dealing during the early goings of the 2024 Western Hockey League’s priority draft.

Hamilton swung an early deal with the Prince Albert Raiders, trading the fourth overall selection to Prince Albert in exchange for the ninth overall pick, the 57th pick (Round 3) and a fifth round selection in 2025.

He later traded the 38th pick in the second round to Regina in exchange for the Pats second round pick in 2025 and a fourth round selection in 2027.

The second round pick was originally sent to the Rockets as part of a three-way deal with Edmonton and Saskatoon.

Two other deals were completed later in the day. Kelowna sent the 61st selection in the third round to Saskatoon for a 2025 fourth round selection belonging to Everett and a 2027 third rounder belonging to Spokane.

They also obtained a sixth round selection from Lethbridge (113th) for Kelowna's fifth round pick next year.

With the ninth pick, the Rockets nabbed towering six-foot-six defenceman Owen Hayden.

The 15-year-old Calgary native spent last season with the Calgary NWCAA U15 AAA Flame.

In 30 regular season games Hayden registered a goal and 23 assists. The lone goal was shorthanded.

"Owen's a big puck moving defenceman," said Rockets head scout Terry McFaul.

"He's very sound defensively, can be physical and plays with a lot of bite. His skating is getting better and better all the time. He's 6'6 right now, and will probably grow a little bit more. He does a lot of things like another big fellow we had here a few years ago, Tyler Myers."

With their selection in the second round, 33rd overall, the Rockets nabbed left winger Nathan Cole from the Edge School U15 Prep team.

Cole had 14 goals and 30 points in 27 regular season games while adding a goal and seven assists in five post season games.

In all, the Rockets selected 10 players over nine rounds including five forwards, four defencemen and a goaltender.

The remaining selections include:

  • Round 3 (57) Jake Hargrave - defenceman
  • Round 3 (60) Linden Sobocan - goaltender
  • Round 4 (78) William Matte - centre
  • Round 5 (93) Linkin Stadnek - defenceman
  • Round 6 (113) Von Lakovic - forward
  • Round 8 (163) Marek McIvor - defenceman
  • Round 9 (188) Jack Morgan - forward
  • Round 9 (189) Sebastien Briesbois - forward

As expected, the Everett Silvertips used the first overall selection to grab defenceman Landon Dupont.

The Calgary native was granted exceptional status by the WHL meaning he will be able to play full time this coming season as a 15-year-old.

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