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Bombers 2023 Draft Class (FINAL)

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After taking 10 players in 2022, Bombers did what nobody thought he'd do, he traded up, losing his 39, 57, 63, and 111th pick in a deep deep draft, only, to of all things, take a defenseman. And one with no offensive upside.  So now he's left with 4 picks only. Rumors have been circulating whether Bombers GM's mental sanity was impacted - perhaps he has long COVID and can't think clearly?  Perhaps he shouldn't have drank that last two bottles of barolo and use the Coravin (the best wine preserver!) and saved those bottles before hitting that huge "Trade Now" button? Unfortunately for Bomber fans, Bombers GM is like Francisco Aquilini - the absolute scourge of the team, but nobody can get rid of him. 

Matthew Wood (W/C, 15th Pick, Picture Left)

Bombers were so excited to get Wood, they didn't even do any research and actually said Michael Wood when they were up on the podium. Wood, realizing he's basically a slave for the next (at least) 3 years under an ELC, wisely ignored the wrong name and came up to the podium anyways. 

People don't seem to appreciate that Connor Bedard was only good because he learned his trade from Mr. Wood when the two were 18, on the same team and were roommates. Wood, knowing that he'd hurt Bedard's feelings if he was better than Bedard, purposely played poorly in 2023 to let the student (Bedard) surpass the teacher. Wood only got a point a game in the crappy NCAA league as the youngest player so that Bedard would get all the glory. Plus Bombers don't like top 3 picks and the huge max-contract cap hit associated with those players. 

Besides the fact he's actually a hockey god, is there anything that is wrong with Wood?  Well he can't skate - but that's a small issue.  That's the whole purpose of NCAA - you play once a week, and the other 6 days you work out and improve yourself.  Bombers will be excited to partner Wood with Fyodor Svechkov when the two are ready for prime time.

Bombers did not had anybody else they wanted to pick at this spot - Bombers was choosing between Perreault, Barlow, and Wood and would have taken whichever of the three dropped to 15. 

Dimitri Simishev (D, 18th Pick, Picture Right)

Bombers traded UP to get this guy.  Remember that fact. Best defensive player in the draft (in a league where, defensive stats are a dime a dozen and can be acquired cheap via FA). In Bombers defence, this guy was drafted by a team that also explicitly avoided drafting Shane Wright last year, instead (rightly) taking Logan Cooley. This scouting staff consists of (i) Darryl Plandowski (12 year assistant scouting director for the Lightning) (ii) Alan Hepple (19 year scouting with Avalanche) (iii) Larry Pleau (former Blues GM) and (iv) Ryan Jankowski (former Sabres head scout). 

People say Simishev can put up points in his own age class.  Well, he only managed to put up 12 pts in 31 games in the MHL.  Alex Romanov (another D-focused player) put up 14 in 37 in his draft year  and he definitely wasn't picked that high at 18. To add insult to injury, this is known as a draft deep in skilled forwards, so naturally Bombers goes way off and picks a freaking D.  Craig Button generously ranked Simashev 38th. Bombers did not have anyone else targeted at this position; Bombers effectively trade Bonk, Ziemmer, Pitre and the 111th pick to move up to 18th spot - this could turn out to be a major disaster in hindsight.


Koehn Ziemmer (RW, 57th Pick, Picture Left)

Prince George had Ziemmer inflating Riley Heidt's stats throughout the year, so much so that Gunners was suckered into picking Heidt ahead of Ziemmer. In reality, everyone knows Heidt was like Dylan Strome, next to McDavid.  McDavid did play next to DeBrincat and Strome though, so if Gunners is lucky, he got the DeBrincat of the Erie Otters, playing next to McDavid. 

Ziemmer is the real deal.  He also can't skate. Good thing the Bombers already booked a group discounted CanSkate class for Wood and Ziemmer. Bombers did not have anyone else targeted at this position.


Kalan Lind (F, 59th Pick, PIcture Right)

Bombers actually did not intend to pick at this spot.  Instead, the GM made a random trade proposal to try to speed up the draft, and instead found he had a deal. Given that backstory, it's no surprise Bombers GM was not prepared for this pick, and consquently this pick had significantly less research than the others. Lind is a couple hits from permanently drooling. His draft season was cut short after a debilitating head hit that left him with the IQ of an amoeba. But you don't need brains to play, and concussions are not an issue - look at former draft pick Ondrej Kase - who basically had a concussion every single year since he was drafted, and still managed to play some NHL games and was a critical bench warmer for the Bombers last year. 

Bombers was especially attracted to the fact Lind weighs less than Elias Pettersson (when he was drafted).  So far, the Bombers track record of drafting super light skinny guys have generated all superstars. Bombers considered taking Jayden Perron at this spot. 


Mathieu Cataford (RW, 77th Pick, Picture Left)

Bombers hasn't picked someone out of the Q since 2014, taking Daniel Audette with the 95th pick.  Audette's amazing draft year production eclipses Cataford, so we fully expect Cataford to bust.  Assuming he even makes the show, he's projected to be a third line winger at best. That's what Bombers want - a whole team of 3rd liners.  Cataford's just along for the ride alongside Dumais - he isn't even second in scoring on his team, showing how utterly useless he is. Bombers did not have anyone else targeted at this position. The team had two players circled for this spot, but Juraj Pekarcik was taken at 75. 


Alexander Rykov (RW, 87th Pick, Picture Right)

The team started swinging at the 87th pick, taking Rykov way above where he was actually picked in the NHL. Rykov only played one game in the second half of the season, probably faking an injury to avoid joining the Russian army. Then there is the question of, how good is the KHL/VHL/MHL nowadays anyways. Rykov can skate, so unfortuantely the team won't benefit from the group discount for the CanSkate classes. As one rater noted, "He's not a high-end compete type, and while he has offense, he's not going to break shifts open."  So he'll fit right in on the bottom line at some point in the future.  Bombers did not have anyone else targeted at this position.


Jayson Shaugabay (C, 110th Pick, Picture Left)

Bombers final pick ticks the DEI box, with the selection of Shaugabay.  As one report noted, he's a "sub-5’10”-foot player with iffy skating, iffy production in the USHL,and some iffy habits, [so] there’s a lot of ways where this doesn’t work out."  On the positive side, the Bombers' group discount for CanSkate classes will generate some synergies for all these picks that can't skate. Good thing the Lightning still has Barb Underhill to help teach skating. Also a good thing he was drafted by the midget-development machine known as the Lightning.  

Mr. Hockey surpassed TJ Oshie's record at Warroad - which means absolutely jack all unless the "Sugarbaby" actually makes it to the show.  And at pick # 110, the probability of him playing 200 NHL games is only 13.4%, so it's not like much will come out of this.

Bombers were monitoring two other players (one of which was Yegor Zavragin taken at 113), but really was going to take Shaugabay as the preferred pick. 

Yegor Zavragin (G, 113th Pick, no picture) For the final pick, the team decided to rebalance its goalie prospect pool, given that Will Cranley was a similar vintage as Korhonen and Brochu.  The team acknowledges that the probability of this pick making the NHL is 12.9% and unlikely to make the NHL.