Winterhawks select 11 players in 2023 WHL Prospects Draft

Portland, Ore. – The Portland Winterhawks today made 11 selections during the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft.

Portland drafted five forwards, five defensemen, and one goaltender during today’s draft, adding to the two high-end prospects chosen during Wednesday’s WHL U.S. Priority Draft.

Players eligible for the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft were 2008-born players residing in Alberta, B.C., Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Yukon, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Winterhawks Assistant to the General Manager and Director of Scouting Mike Coflin spoke with following the selection process.

Round 1, Pick 17 – Griffin Darby, D

With Portland’s first pick of the day, the club selected Griffin Darby from the Swift Current Broncos U15 AA program. The smooth-skating defenseman from Swift Current, Sask. was the Broncos team captain for the 2022-23 season. The 6-foot-0, 150-pound skater paced all defensemen in scoring with six goals and 29 assists for 35 points in 28 games.

This is the first time the Winterhawks chose a defenseman in the first round since selecting Derrick Pouliot with the first overall pick in the 2009 WHL Prospects Draft.

“Griffin has a great combination of size, skating and creativity. He can play hard against the best players as well as push the play as we like Winterhawks defensemen to do. He comes from a great hockey family, and he’s a driven athlete with impressive leadership qualities,” said Coflin.

Darby played up a level with the Broncos U15 team during the 2020-21 season and he also led the team in defensive scoring with 35 points in 31 games. If the name sounds familiar, it should. Griffin is the younger brother of Winterhawks forward Hudson Darby, who was selected in the fifth round of the 2021 WHL Prospects Draft.

Here’s the Hudson family’s reaction of the draft announcement this morning:

Round 2, Pick 39 – Jordan Duguay, F

With their second pick in the draft, the Winterhawks selected forward Jordan Duguay from Northern Alberta Xtreme’s U15 Prep program. Duguay ranked third on his team with 17 goals in 25 games and totaled 44 points this season. He led all players at the 2023 Alberta Cup with four goals and eight points in five tournament games.

The 5-foot-9, 137-pound native of Edmonton, Alta. helped NAX capture the 2022-23 CSSHL U15 Championship. Duguay played for Northern Alberta Xtreme varsity team during the 2021-22 season and he led the team in scoring with 52 points in 29 games.

“Our fans are going to enjoy watching Jordan play. He’s a combination of flash and skill, he sees the ice and is able to make the right play at full speed. He was the point player on the championship NAX U15 club, and leading scorer at the 2023 Alberta Cup,” said Coflin.

He comes from the same program that developed Winterhawks 2022 draft selection Ryan Miller and nearly two dozen players who competed in the WHL this season, including NHL-drafted talent Dylan Guenther, Matthew Savoie, and Zack Ostapchuk.

Round 3, Pick 59 – Owen Chapman, F

The Winterhawks acquired this pick earlier today when they announced a trade with Edmonton, sending 20-year-old forward Aidan Litke to the Oil Kings in exchange for the 59th overall selection.

Portland proceeded to add to their scoring arsenal when they selected forward Owen Chapman of Saskatoon, Sask. Chapman, a teammate of Duguay, played for the NAX U15 Prep team during the 2022-23 season. He scored 11 goals and 10 assists for 21 points in 29 games. He continued his scoring touch in the postseason with five points in five games to help his team capture a CSSHL Championship and was even called up to play three games with the NAX U17 Prep team.

“Owen is at his best when in possession of the puck, creating space and finding soft spots in the defense. We think his hockey sense is very high, he has a good understanding of what he needs to improve to play here and he’ll join a strong Saskatoon Contacts program next year to continue his development,” said Coflin.

Chapman previously played for the Saskatoon Outlaws U15 AA program during the 2020-21 season, recording 40 points in 31 games.

Round 4, Pick 80 – Cameron Jacobson, D

With the 80th overall selection, the Winterhawks picked defenseman Cameron Jacobson from Wakaw, Sask. Jacobson played the last two seasons with the Humboldt Broncos U15 AA program, tallying nine goals and 46 assists for 55 points in 60 games.

The 5-foot-9, 130-pound defenseman helped the Broncos capture a 2022-23 SAAHL Championship and he paced all U15 defensemen with 13 points in nine playoff games.

“Cameron played big minutes in every situation, he has great feet and mobility, defends very well, and has an understated offensive game. We were very impressed with his consistency and attention to detail on a strong Humboldt team,” said Coflin.

Round 4, Pick 83 – Cash Lanigan, F

Three picks later, the Winterhawks selected forward Cash Lanigan from the Regina Aces U15 AA team. The Regina, Sask. product accumulated 27 goals and 43 assists for 70 points in 53 games over the last two seasons with the Aces.

“Cash competes at as high a level as any forward in the draft. He was the captain of his team in Regina, which exceeded all expectations to reach the Saskatchewan AA provincial finals. His playoffs were highlighted by moments where he carried the Regina Aces team on his back, and we think he brings intangibles that we value to Portland,” said Coflin.

Round 5, Pick 105 – Will McLaughlin, D

The Winterhawks selected their second player from Alberta when they took Will McLaughlin with the 105th overall pick.

McLaughlin, a 5-foot-9, 141-pound defenseman from Canmore, Alta., scored 31 points in 56 games over the last two seasons with Airdrie Xtreme U15 AAA. He served as an alternate captain during the 2022-23 season and helped capture an AEHL Championship. McLaughlin was also named team captain for Team Alberta Black at the 2023 Alberta Cup and he recorded two assists in five games.

“An elite skater in the Luca Cagnoni mold, Will was captain of his Alberta Cup team and provincial champion with Airdrie Extreme U15 AAA. His upside is really impressive and he thinks the game as well as anyone in the draft,” said Coflin.

Round 7, Pick 149 – Nash Nicolay, F

Nash Nicolay was selected by the Winterhawks in the seventh round, giving the team another Alberta-based scorer. The 5-foot-11, 157-pound forward nabbed 29 points in 34 games this season with the Red Deer Rebels U15 AAA program.

“Nash is a big power forward with a great set of wheels. At his best, he can dominate on the forecheck and is impactful every shift. We look forward to continuing his development with the Winterhawks,” said Coflin.

Round 8, Pick 163 – Lincoln Black-Greaves, D

The Winterhawks headed west to Winnipeg to grab their next selection – defenseman Lincoln Black-Greaves. A standout with the Winnipeg Thrashers AAA U15 team, Black-Greaves led all defensemen with 23 points in 32 games.

He’ll provide some size on the backend with his 5-foot-11, 160-pound frame.

“Captain of the Winnipeg Thrashers, Lincoln is a very smooth-skating, strong defenseman. He is just scratching the surface of his potential offensively, and we’re very impressed with his poise and drive as a player,” said Coflin.

Round 8, Pick 171 – Griffin Sturm, F

With their second pick of the eighth round, the Winterhawks selected American defenseman Griffin Sturm. The St. Cloud, Minn. product skated for St. Cloud Cathedral High and registered 23 points in 31 games. He’s played travel hockey with the Minnesota Polars 14U program the last two seasons.

“Griffin is an incredibly intelligent, dynamic-skating offensive defenseman with a high compete level. We’re impressed with his leadership attributes and on-ice communication. He’s from a smaller program, but we feel that he can play on the Major Junior stage,” said Coflin.

Round 9, Pick 193 – Tate Hanson, F

The Hawks selected forward Tate Hanson from Strathmore, Alta. in the ninth round. He played with the Okotoks Oilers U15 AAA team and was tied for second on his team in scoring with 45 points in 34 games.

The Oilers organization also helped develop Winterhawks prospect and former second-round selection Kyle McDonough.

“Tate emerged in the second half of the season and was noticeable for his high motor, relentless effort and improving offensive confidence. Tate is just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential, and we look forward to the next year of his development,” said Coflin.

Round 10, Pick 215 – Morgan Stickney, G

With the Winterhawks’ final pick of the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft, they selected goaltender Morgan Stickney from Redondo Beach, Calif. The pick made WHL history as Stickney became the first-ever female American player selected in the WHL Draft.

Stickney dominated the 2022-23 season with Shattuck St. Mary’s 16U women’s program. She held a 23-4-3 record across 33 games with a sterling .928 save percentage and 1.52 goals-against average. The 5-foot-8, 135-pound netminder finished as a runner-up at the 2023 USA Hockey Nationals, earning a .950 save percentage and allowing one goal per contest.

“Morgan has clearly excelled at every level of hockey she’s ever played at, from LA Jr. Kings to elite spring hockey tournaments and now to Shattuck St. Mary’s, she has always been among the best in her age group. It’s an honor to include her in our draft class and we look forward to watching Morgan showcase her abilities at Neely Cup Training Camp,” said Coflin.


The Winterhawks finished the 2022-23 regular season with 40 wins, their CHL-leading sixth consecutive 40+ win campaign. Regarded as one of the nation’s elite junior hockey franchises, the Winterhawks are two-time Memorial Cup Champions and three-time WHL Champions.

The Portland Winterhawks take pride in developing their players and have produced the most NHL-drafted players among WHL teams and 132 alumni have played in the NHL, including Hockey Hall of Fame members Cam Neely and Marian Hossa and recent Winterhawks stars like Seth Jarvis, Cody Glass, Seth Jones, Nino Niederreiter, and Ryan Johansen.

The Winterhawks trust Riverside Payments for all of their credit card processing as the team’s official credit card processors.

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