Wednesday’s day two of 2020 NHL Draft filled with nerves for Thunderbirds draft hopefuls
Pacing, burning energy, and avoiding the television. All tactics at least three Seattle Thunderbirds players will employ Wednesday to avoid nervousness as the 2020 NHL Draft conducts rounds two through seven. They’ll be watching, waiting, and hoping they hear their names called by an NHL team.
“The nerves are real,” Thunderbirds defenseman Tyrel Bauer said via a text message Tuesday afternoon.
Bauer is one of three Thunderbirds who have a real shot at being selected in the draft.
“Not sure what I am going to be doing in terms of watching,” Bauer added. “I almost want to keep occupied with something else, such as golfing or working out. But, I will most likely end up watching with my family.”
There’s no promise that Bauer will be drafted. He’s hopeful, he’s heard from scouts and there is a real chance that the 6-foot-3 defenseman from Calgary will be selected, fulfilling a childhood dream.
Bauer won’t be the only one fighting the nerves on Wednesday. Simon Kubicek and Matthew Rempe are two more Thunderbirds who will be watching their phones, waiting for the phone call.
Kubicek was selected by the Thunderbirds in 2018 and has been a mainstay on the blue line since. He possesses a big point shot that will make him attractive and is coming off a season where he scored 27 points in 52 games while also starring for Team Czech during the 2020 World Junior Championships.
With Seattle, he was a top-pairing defenseman and is on the draft radar for the mid to late rounds Wednesday.
The most intriguing Draft prospect with Seattle is center Matthew Rempe.
He has the size at 6-foot-8 and has put on about 15 pounds of muscle to fill out what was a skinny frame. Rempe isn’t just a physical player however, he’s got the skill to be a scorer, can skate, and that size has to have NHL scouts interested despite not being ranked by NHL Central Scouting. Rempe spent Tuesday night watching the first round of the Draft with Bauer but is planning to watch with his family on Wednesday.
Bauer is a throw-back type defenseman. He’s physical but plays with poise in his own end, can retrieve the puck, and makes a strong first pass. He had three goals with 17 points last season and if he were more of a scorer he would be ranked higher on draft boards.
While not that modern offensive defenseman, there is still a place in the NHL for a tough, stay home defensemen like Bauer.
“No matter what happens, the goal does not change,” Bauer said Tuesday. “We are still trying to make it to the NHL, one way or another.”
Another name to watch during the proceedings Wednesday is Samuel Knazko who Seattle selected during spring’s CHL Import Draft. The Slovakian defenseman has yet to sign with the Thunderbirds – he may likely be waiting to see if there is a season – but was ranked 42nd among European skaters by NHL’s Central Scouting.
Goalie Blake Lyda didn’t get a lot of playing time backing up Roddy Ross last year but the NHL did list him 28th among North American goalies at the end of the season. Will an NHL club take a late-round flier on him?
Defenseman Cade McNelly and forward Payton Mount are also eligible for the draft and are long shots to get picked.
The Draft will be televised on the NHL Network Wednesday at 9:30 am.