NANAIMO – The BCJALL midget draft always comes up on the first weekend of the new year.
This time around the Nanaimo Timbermen do not hold hold a first round pick.
They'll pick in the second round twice, 10thand 13th overall.
The Tmen have multiple picks in the first five rounds, including three in the fifth round.
Any Nanaimo players are considered from the Timbermen catchment area and don't need to be drafted.
So the Tmen will be looking to select players from associations like Saanich, Cowichan, or the North Island.
Coach Dave Bremner says he'll make a deal to move higher in the draft if he's able to.
“I'm not the type of person who likes to go to the draft table and do that,” Bremner said. “I always like to have my deals in place and maybe announce them at the draft. I'm actively looking at different things and always looking to improve.”
Realistically the Timbermen expect one or two players from the midget draft to make their roster for 2019, the rest they hope will stock their Junior B squad.
Despite being a 3-17 team Bremner is optimistic that Nanaimo can make the playoffs.
Players like Will Johansen, Thomas Vaesen, Ryan Sheridan and Reid Matthews will be another year older and Bremner believes in his young core of talent.
Seven players who won the provincial Midget A2 Championship will be available to play Junior A this year and that should increase the talent level for Nanaimo as well.
The Timbermen have already decided on a new captain to replace the outgoing Jake Mickelson.
Defender and transition specialist Will Johansen will wear the 'C' this year after putting up 21 points in 20 games in 2018.
Johansen was often used by the Timbermen two seasons ago as a call up when he was playing as an Intermediate as well.
Bremner says Johansen was an obvious choice.
“He's done nothing but surprise everyone,” said Bremner. “He's a very big commodity in the league but Will doesn't want to go anywhere else. He's been a huge reason that this whole team has turned around, he's going to be a great player.”
This weekend's midget draft is the first step in the journey of the 2019 season.
Practices will start shortly with the schedule set to start the first weekend of May, although no official date has been released.
Many of the top teams, including Nanaimo's Island rivals from Victoria will have many players graduating.
The Tmen will have most of their roster eligible to come back and with midget players coming up and the possibility of a trade or two there will a lot of competition for playing time.
Bremner and his players hope this will be the season their patience will be rewarded and their young team realizes it's potential.
On twitter: @danmarshall77
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