KENNEWICK, WA – The Tri-City Americans made forward Rhett Melnyk their first selection (second round, 33rd overall) today in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft held at the Cambridge Hotel & Conference Centre in Red Deer, AB. The Americans made ten total selections in the draft including seven forwards and three defensemen.
“This is a very good draft class,” said Americans General Manager Bob Tory. “We feel we have depth in defensemen, so our main focus was acquiring skilled forwards.”
Melnyk, an Edmonton, AB-native, recorded 74 points (35 goals, 39 assists) in 33 games with the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers this past season. The 5’9, 154-pound forward added 20 points (5 goals, 15 assists) in 13 post-season games leading his team to a provincial championship.
“Rhett is a highly skilled winger. He has tremendous skating ability, high hockey IQ, and has been a leader on his team,” said Tory. “He was injured earlier in the season and unable to participate in the Alberta Cup. We were fortunate to see him earlier in the season.”
With their third-round pick (55th overall) the Americans selected 6’3, 190-pound forward Jake Sloan. Sloan posted 74 points (40 goals, 34 assists) through 33 games this season for his hometown Leduc Oil Kings.
“Jake is a big power forward and a goal scorer,” said Tory. “Him and Rhett both add offensive skill. We think they will complement each other well.”
Tri-City used their remaining picks to select Mateo Sjoberg (5th round, 97th overall), Ben Feenan (6th round, 121st overall), Tyson Dyck (7th round, 143rd overall), Markus Johansen (8th round, 165th overall), Easton Sandberg (9th round, 187th overall), Shawn Paul St. Arnaud (10th round, 205th overall), Elouann Lemonnier (11th round, 131st overall).
Players eligible for the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft were 2004-born players residing in Alberta, B.C., Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Yukon, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.