Soetaert makes a splash

DAVID CAMERON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

Go big and then go home.

That was the motto for the Everett Silvertips at the draft yesterday.

GM Doug Soetaert came back to his hometown and selected the first local product chosen, St. Albert defenceman Nicholas Walters, with the eighth overall pick.

"We were looking to beef up our back end," said Soetaert, a 12-year NHL netminder with the New York Rangers, Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens. "We've been watching (Walters) for couple of years now and obviously we feel he'll be an impact player.

"We're confident in his ability, his size and the way he plays. And he's got one heck of a cannon, a great one-timer," said Soetaert, a former Oil King, who was drafted in 1975 by both the WHA Oilers and the NHL Rangers.

Soetaert went even bigger three slots later, taking Seth Jones of Dallas.

Jones is an intriguing prospect, already well over six feet tall as the son of former NBA player Popeye Jones. Popeye played for the Raptors in Toronto, but his sons - older brother Justin also plays - picked up the game of hockey when dad later lived in Denver, playing for the Nuggets.

"(Seth) went to see Joe Sakic and those guys play," Soetaert said.

The Silvertips feel confident they can get him to sign.

"We've met with him and he's very interested in the WHL," said Soetaert, who faces competition with U.S. developmental leagues. "He wants to be a pro as soon as possible. And the best way to do that is the CHL and the Western Hockey League."

Kings eye Calgary

The Edmonton Oil Kings chose the son of a former Calgary Flame with their first pick in the WHL bantam draft yesterday. They chose a son of Calgary with the second pick.

"Big-bodied kid who skates well, has good skills, good sense," said GM Bob Green of right-shooting forward Mitchell Moroz. "Tough to play against down low, which is a strength of our game."

The Kings picked homegrown centre Tristan Sieben (MLAC) in the fifth round.

The draft is about '94s (born in 1994), but the Kings took a '91 with their last pick, which you can do if the player is "de-listed." Peace River-born Darren Kramer has been described as "fearless" with the AJHL's Grande Prairie Storm this season.

"He holds people accountable. So I'd like to give him an opportunity here, see if he can play the same type of role at this level," said Green.

Dane of a new era?

Dane Phaneuf, the younger brother of St. Albert-born NHLer Dion, surprisingly fell to the third round yesterday, saved by the Prince George Cougars ... The Cougars also took Spruce Grove's Troy Bourke, the Alberta Major Bantam League's leading scorer, in Round 2 ... Two of Phaneuf's teammates with the powerhouse SSAC Lions were also chosen - winger Dakota Conroy by Red Deer in the third, and Brandon Magee by Chilliwack in the fourth ... The second local player picked was CAC RW Brandon Troock, 12th overall by Seattle.

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BANTAM DRAFT FIRST-ROUND RESULTS

1. Portland: D Derrick Pouliot, Weyburn, Sask.

2. Moose Jaw: D Morgan Rielly, W. Vancouver, B.C.

3. Edmonton (from Chilliwack): D Griffin Reinhart, W. Vancouver

4. Red Deer: D Matt Dumba, Calgary

5. Regina: C Chandler Stephenson, Saskatoon

6. Prince Albert: C Mike Winther, Trochu, Alta.

7. Tri City (from Prince George): C Connor Rankin, N. Vancouver

8. Everett: D Nicholas Walters, St. Albert

9. Chilliwack (from Edmonton): C Steven Hodges, S. Delta, B.C.

10. Kamloops: D Brady Gaudet, Redvers, Sask.

11. Everett (from Lethbridge): D Seth Jones, Dallas, Texas

12. Seattle: RW Brandon Troock, Edmonton

13. Kootenay: C Colby Cave, North Battleford

14. Medicine Hat: C Hunter Shinkaruk, Calgary

15. Swift Current: C Evan Richardson, Nanaimo, B.C.

16. Spokane: D Reid Gow, Killarney, Man.

17. Kelowna: RW Jason Siebert, Abbotsford, B.C.

18. Brandon: D Eric Roy, Beauval, Sask.

19. Prince George (from Tri City): D Joshua Smith, Rimbey, Alta.

20. Saskatoon: C Ryan Olsen, Delta, B.C.

21. Vancouver: C Dalton Sward, Abbotsford, B.C.

22. Calgary: C Chase Clayton, Abbotsford, B.C.


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