On Wednesday, Western Hockey League Clubs will add the next generation of talent to their rosters in the 2020 Bantam Draft.

For Moose Jaw Warriors General Manager Alan Millar, it will be the first time he’s had a top three pick as GM since joining the club in 2010.

“We feel real good about the three spot and we think we’re going to add a very good young player to our program,” Millar said over video call on Monday. 

On top of the third overall pick, the Warriors will also have picks in the second and third rounds, a luxury they haven’t had since 2015. However, after their first three selections, they don’t pick until the eighth round.

Assistant GM James Ripplinger says they need to hit home runs on all three.

“Those first three round picks in particular in this draft, particularly third overall are real valuable and you need to have those picks when you’re trying to build with a young group,” Millar said.

In 2018, the Warriors won the Scotty Monroe Trophy after finishing first in the WHL’s regular season standings. Then in 2019, Moose Jaw had a first round playoff exit. However in 2020, the Warriors finished second last in the league with their final six games cancelled due to COVID-19.

Millar plans on taking the best available players, then might opt to draft based on position.

“If we feel that there’s a couple of players on the board and they’re real close in terms of their ability, we may look at drafting by position,” he said.

Millar says by about February, the club has done approximately 90 per cent of its scouting. The other 10 per cent is done by watching Bantam tournaments across Western Canada. Due to COVID-19, those scouting tournaments were cancelled.

However the biggest impact the coronavirus will have on scouting players, is on the draft itself, which will now take place online.

Millar says the occasion is typically a culmination of all the efforts the scouts have put in, but the group will be separated.

“Scouts aren’t in the room with us, they’re going to be on a Zoom meeting call,” he said. “We’ll have a very small group here at the rink in Moose Jaw.”

Despite having three early picks, all the stock shouldn’t be put in the top selections. In 2013, the Warriors drafted Tristan Langan in the ninth round, and the forward was their top scorer in 2018-19.

“You’re going to miss the odd player along the way, but at the end of the day they are 14 years old, they do develop at different stages,” Millar said.

In Regina, Pats GM John Paddock has said they’ll select Connor Bedard with their first overall selection in the WHL Bantam Draft.

The WHL Bantam Draft begins on Wednesday at 10 a.m.