Pilots prep for unique NAHL Draft

Topeka Pilots Hockey

The Topeka Pilots are gearing up for the NAHL Draft and it’s a little different than other drafts.

“As long as you get to that 30 man roster protection list,” says Pilots coach/general manager Simon Watson on the draft’s length. “If you have 10 players protected you can draft 20 players to fill it up to 30. We’re looking at probably 4 or 5 draft picks right now.”

There is also a tendering process prior to the draft for teams to acquire players.

“Tenders you have to have a player sign it, you know he’s going to come and play for you, the draft you’re almost hoping that he comes to you in some cases a lot of time we do call and say, hey, we’re interested in you, come play for us. If we draft you will you come play for us? And a lot of the times, oh, yeah, of course,” said Watson.

But there is risk involved. 

“You kind of roll the dice on some players that might fall down from the USHL or that might come back from another league. There’s a lot of risk.” 

And the talent pool for the draft is vast.

“The toughest thing is having such a large pool of talent to pick from. You can pick kids from all over the world. We have a couple of Swedes that are on our board. It’s exciting, a couple of Canadians, obviously Americans.”

The draft pool also consists of a specific age range.

“The age range is basically 16 through 20, you can’t have a 21-year-old. You have to pick and choose and obviously it’s based on roster needs, what you’re looking for. We’re looking for some depth up front and obviously to fill some holes from last year’s defensive corps. 

The NAHL Draft begins at 1 PM on Tuesday, June 4.

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