Winterhawks set for WHL U.S. Priority and Prospects Drafts this week

The Portland Winterhawks family is set to grow this week.

With the U.S. Priority and WHL Prospects Drafts taking place Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, the Winterhawks are expected to select upwards of ten players from the 2008-born class to add to their protected list.


On Wednesday morning, the Winterhawks will add two American-born players to their prospect pool. The U.S. Priority Draft is a two-round selection process that enables clubs to secure the WHL playing rights of Americans from Minnesota down to Texas and everything west from there. Notable Americans like Seth Jones, Caleb Jones, Keiffer Bellows, and Cross Hanas have all called Portland home, and there’s a wealth of talent in this year’s U.S. crop that could soon electrify the Rose City as well.

Thursday brings the WHL Prospects Draft, which adds players from Western Canada to the pool of eligible talent, alongside any American players from WHL territories who were not selected on Wednesday. With the Winterhawks currently owning four picks in the first four rounds of the WHL Prospects Draft, the team has a sterling opportunity to select a handful of high-octane players to join the organization. Portland has had success with their first-round picks in recent drafts, selecting current captain Gabe Klassen (2018, 19th overall) and recent NHL talents Seth Jarvis (2017, 11th overall) and Cody Glass (2014, 19th overall), and they will look to add to that resume when they select a player with the 17th overall pick Thursday.

(8:30am PT Pre-Show / 9am PT Draft)

These drafts are important building blocks for a team’s future. The 2022-23 Winterhawks featured 20 previously drafted players and found plenty of production from players selected later in the draft, including Nicholas Johnson, Marcus Nguyen and Josh Zakreski, who were all selected in the 8th round or later.

Some can even make an immediate impact. For reference, the Winterhawks have already signed five of their first six drafted players from the 2022 WHL Prospects Draft, with two of those – Kyle McDonough (2022, 2nd round) and Ryan Miller (2022, 3rd round) – making their WHL debuts this year.

Players selected in the drafts will have their first opportunity to skate with the Hawks at the Neely Cup.

Enjoy the drafts and join us in welcoming the next wave of Winterhawks to the family!

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