The Saskatoon Blades have signed their top three draft picks from the 2017 WHL Draft to contracts today.
5th Overall pick: Defenseman Aidan de la Gorgendiere; 10th Overall pick: Forward Kyle Crnkovic; and 2nd round pick: Forward Braden Plaschewsky all put pen to paper after being picked in the first round of the draft earlier this month. De la Gorgendiere played for the YALE Hockey Academy Bantam Prep team in Langley, BC, scoring 5 goals and 21 assists for 26 points last year. Crnkovic is from Chestermere, Alberta and had 40 goals and 39 assists for 79 points last year with the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy. Finally, Plaschewsky had 35 goals and 40 assists for 75 points in 35 games with the Calgary Bisons. All three players are expected to be back in Saskatoon at the end of August for training camp in preparation of the 2017-18 season.
The official release is as follows:
For Immediate Release:
The Saskatoon Blades are extremely excited to announce the signings of 2002 born draft picks Aidan De La Gorgendiere, Kyle Crnkovic, and Braden Plaschewsky. Aidan, Kyle, and Braden signed Western Hockey League Standard Player Agreements this afternoon at SaskTel Centre.
Aidan De La Gorgendiere (D), a native of Langley, Britsh Columbia, was selected 5th overall by Saskatoon on May 4th at the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft. Saskatoon is where both Aidan’s parents grew up which made his decision to sign a little easier. “It’s pretty cool, I have a lot of family here, my grandparents live here and aunts and uncles, so it’s really exciting,” said De La Gorgendiere after signing his contract. “Right away as soon as I got drafted I knew I wanted to play here,” explained Aidan.
Kyle Crnkovic (F) was selected 10th overall by the Blades on May 4th, and he also inked his first WHL Standard Player Agreement Wednesday afternoon. Crnkovic notched 79 points this past season at the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy in Kelowna, British Columbia. Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Crnkovic was thrilled to sign with the Blades. “It’s what I’ve always wanted to do (play in the WHL), so to actually have this all happen, it’s amazing,” said Crnkovic.
Blades General Manager Colin Priestner expressed his excitement for the future after being able to lock down two first round picks in such short order. “To get a couple first round picks like this, and to sign them so quickly it’s a big relief for me honestly,” said Priestner following the player signings. “From the first game I watched Aidan I knew we needed that guy on the Blades, and then to get Crnkovic at 10… his speed is off the charts, he’s a sniper, he’s just remarkable to watch.”
The Blades then announced the signing of 2nd round pick, Braden Plaschewsky (F), who was selected 31st overall with the pick acquired from the Red Deer Rebels in exchange for Mason McCarty. Plaschewsky, another Calgary native, said he was super excited to find out he was drafted. “I’ve followed the draft for the past two or three years, and to be a part of it and actually get drafted is unreal,” Plaschewsky was at a loss for words when asked how he felt putting ink to paper on his WHL Standard Player Agreement. “Amazing… no words can explain it,” he said. “He’s big, he competes hard, he’s got a ton of skill and we feel he’s a great compliment to some of the other players we have in our organization,” added Priestner when asked about Plaschewsky.
All three players are expected to be back in Saskatoon at the end of August for training camp ahead of the 2017-18 WHL Season.