Matthew Thiessen is a former 2015 3rd round draft pick of the Pistons. (Photo courtesy: Adi Loewen).

2018 MJHL Bantam Draft Preview

The 2018 MJHL Bantam Draft happens this Sunday, June 3rd, at 9:00 am, and the head scouts and Head Coach are hard at work building the future of the Steinbach Pistons.

The draft is part of the MJHL Annual General Meeting taking place this weekend in Winnipeg. Head Coach and GM Paul Dyck, along with Head Scout Daryl Anning and Manitoba Scout Kim Ridd will be present at the draft, and will make the selections for Steinbach.

This year’s class features players born in 2003, and while they might not play this season, they will get a chance to show their stuff at the Pistons rookie camp before main camp begins in September.

“The draft is always an exciting time of year for us, and for the young players that are looking ahead in terms of their futures in the game,” Dyck said. “I know for our scouts it’s the fruition of all the days that they sit in the arenas over the course of winter.”

Some names that have been drafted by the Turnbull and ANAVET Cup champion Pistons over the years include Tyson McConnell (2nd round, 18th pick, 2013 Bantam Draft), Tanner Mole (3rd round, 26th pick, 2014 Bantam Draft), Matthew Thiessen (3rd round, 27th pick, 2015 Bantam Draft), and Curtis Ireland (4th round, 43rd pick, 2015 MJHL Bantam Draft).

“We are always looking for players that are one or two years away (from playing in the MJHL),” Dyck explained. “At the earliest, we would hope to see them as a 16 or 17 year old playing in 2019-20.”

The Pistons have already named their two auto-protected players from the Steinbach region, defenseman Ethan Unger and forward Dawson Smith.

Unger scored 2 goals and 6 assists in 33 games played this past season for the AAA Eastman Selects. Also playing for the Selects, Smith registered 18 goals and 19 assists (37 points) in 36 games this season.

“Ethan’s a real steady player; he’s a defenseman that has a very strong work ethic, high character, and keeps his game simple, moves pucks, and has a pretty good understanding for who he is as a defenseman,” Dyck said of Unger.

On Smith, Dyck said he has some offensive upside to his game. “Dawson has the potential to have good size in this league. He’s a guy that can have a nice career at the junior level.”

The MJHL has partnered with HockeyTech to utilize the RinkNet Live Draft Centre tracker tool during this year’s draft. With each player selected in the proceedings, RinkNet will update accordingly.

Follow along with the Pistons social media accounts for live up-to-date coverage of the 2018 MJHL Bantam Draft in Winnipeg on Sunday at 9:00 am.