Catch­ing a draft Lamb’s key to suc­cess

The Prince George Citizen - - Sports -

Prince George Cougars head coach and gen­eral man­ager Mark Lamb, who took over as in­terim head coach Feb. 7 when Richard Matvichuk was fired, thinks he can build a cham­pi­onship con­tender in Prince George, like he helped do in Swift Cur­rent, know­ing the Cougars have been ac­quir­ing young talent and stock­pil­ing high draft choices the past few sea­sons.

That started in 2017 when then-Cougars GM Todd Harkins dealt D Tate OI­son to Lethbridge for a third rounder in 2018 which turned out to be D Ethan Sampson.

The 2018 draft also brought F Blake East­man (Van­cou­ver’s sec­ond-round pick they gave up in the Brad Morrison deal) and F Ty Mueller (Regina’s third-round pick the Pats sent to the Cougars in the Jesse Gabrielle trade).

Harkins pulled off the Jan­uary 2018 deal that sent D Den­nis Cholowski to Port­land and that paid off hand­somely for the Cougars.

They picked up the Win­ter­hawks’ first-round pick in 2020, sec­ond-round picks in 2018 (D Hud­son Thorn­ton) and 2019 (D Jaren Brin­son) and a third-rounder in 2020. The deal also brought to Prince George F Ili­jah Colina and F Con­nor Bowie.

The Kody McDon­ald trade in 2018 to Prince Al­bert gave the Cougars D Rhett Rhine­hart and D Austin Cross­ley and the Raiders’ ninth-over­all pick in 2018, which the Cats used to se­lect F Craig Arm­strong.

The Cougars also shipped D Josh An­der­son to Swift Cur­rent be­fore the 2018 dead­line to ac­quire the Bron­cos’ first-rounder in 2018 (which they used to pick G Tyler Bren­nan 21st over­all) and Swift Cur­rent’s first-rounder 2019, which the Cats used this past May to se­lect Keaton Dowha­niuk, con­sid­ered the best de­fence­man avail­able in the draft.

Dowha­niuk went third over­all af­ter the Cougars sent the sec­ond-over­all choice to the Win­nipeg Ice, who gave up their third-round pick to Prince George in 2020.

The Cats used their own first-rounder this year, fourth over­all, to pick F Koehn Ziem­mer, who played with Dowha­niuk at Okana­gan Hockey Academy-Edmonton.

Next year, the Cougars will have two first-round se­lec­tions, a sec­ond-round pick, and three choices in the third round.

They also have an ex­tra sev­enth-round choice, ac­quired the Kjell Kjemhus trade from Moose Jaw.

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