On Thursday, June 1, the Melfort Mustangs welcomed nine young men to the Herd as part of the 2023 SJHL Draft.
“We are very happy with the draft this year,” said Mustangs Director of Player Personnel Rick Oakes. “We have added some very good players to our prospects list and we look forward to watching their progress over the next couple of years. The majority of these kids have attended our camps in the past and we are excited to welcome them to the organization.”
Round 1 – 5th Overall: Tao Flory (D) (6’1”/183lbs) (Saskatoon, SK)
After a trade that saw the Mustangs acquire the fifth overall selection in the draft, the Mustangs decided to go to the blueline, drafting right-handed defender Tao Flory out of the Battlefords Stars U18 AAA program. In 41 games this season, Flory notched six assists for the Stars. Prior to his time in U18, Flory was part of the 2021/2022 SAAHL U15 Champions, the Saskatoon Bandits. He earned nine points in 29 games that season, along with four in nine playoff games.
Round 1 – 9th Overall: Jaxon Kehrig (F) (6’/165lbs) (Tisdale, SK)
With the Mustangs second pick in the first round, the Mustangs selected a Northeast local in Jaxon Kehrig. The Tisdale product spent this past season with his hometown Tisdale Trojans, scoring eight goals and adding 10 assists for 18 points in 29 games. Kehrig also dressed in six games for the Trojans during the 2021/2022 season, but was held pointless. During his U15 AA career, Kehrig played a total of 34 games with the North East Wolfpack, scoring 39 goals and adding 39 assists for 78 points, leading the team in scoring in 2021/2022 with 74 points in 31 games. He was also top 10 in the SAAHL in scoring that season.
Round 2 – 13th Overall: Trey Markus (F) (5’10”/168lbs) (Warman, SK)
With the first pick in the second round, the Mustangs decided to head to Warman for their selection, taking forward Trey Markus with the 13th overall selection. Markus played 31 regular season games for the Warman Wildcats U18 AA squard, scoring 17 goals and adding 17 assists for 34 points. In the playoffs, Markus was second on the team with 15 points (five goals, 10 assists). He also dressed in four games with the Warman Wildcats U18 AAA club, scoring once.
Markus is signed to play U18 AAA with the Warman Wildcats for the 2023/2024 season
Markus is a second-generation Mustang as his father Todd Markus played three seasons for the Mustangs between 1991 and 1994.
Round 2 – 21st Overall: Kale Johns (F) (5’8”/141lbs) (Lumsden, SK)
With the Mustangs fourth selection in the draft, it was another forward as Kale Johns joins the Mustangs prospect crop. Johns played 34 games this season for the Lumsden/Bethune Lions U18 AA club, scoring 22 goals and adding 17 assists for 39 points. He was third on the team in points and goals. Johns would also add one goal in three playoff games. During the 2021/2022 season, Johns played for Prairie Storm’s U15 AA squad, notching 39 points in 31 games.
Johns is signed to play U18 AAA with the Yorkton Maulers for the 2023/2024 season.
Round 4 – 41st Overall: Blake Girard (F) (5’8”/134lbs) (Eastend, SK)
After not selecting in the third round, the Mustangs went back to the Tisdale Trojans organization for the 41st overall selection, drafting Blake Girard. Girard starting the season with the Swift Current Broncos U18 AA team, scoring 11 goals and adding 16 assists for 27 points in 29 games before joining the Trojans in December. Girard played 19 games with the Trojans this season, scoring two goals and adding one assist.
Round 4 – 45th Overall: Lincoln Rogers (F) (5’9”/157lbs) (Prince Albert, SK)
The second of three fourth round picks in the draft saw the Mustangs go to Prince Albert for the 45th selection, drafting forward Lincoln Rogers. Rogers was a member of the Prince Albert Vulcans U18 AA team this season, scoring 11 goals and adding 15 assists, good for 26 points which was fourth on the Vulcans. Rogers also adding three goals and three assists in nine playoff games for the Vulcans. He joined the Prince Albert Mintos U18 AAA team for one game as well.
Rogers is signed to play U18 AAA with the Prince Albert Mintos for the 2023/2024 Season.
Rogers also becomes the second, second-generation Mustangs taken in this draft as his father Scott played three seasons between 1989 and 1992 and was the Captain in his final season.
Round 4 – 46th Overall: Josh Henry (G) (6’4”/190lbs) (Prince Albert, SK)
To finish off the 2007 portion of the draft, the Mustangs decided to add to the pipeline of goaltenders, drafting Josh Henry 46th overall. Henry also spent this season with the Prince Albert Vulcans, playing in 17 games, earning a 14-2-1 record with three shutouts. He gathered a 1.85 goals-against-average, and a .943 save percentage. His GAA and sv% were both second in the SAAHL U18 league this season.
Henry was also a member of Team Saskatchewan at the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships back in May.
Round 1 – 9th Overall: Ethan Hamilton (F) (5’9”/141lbs) (Lanigan, SK)
In the 2008 portion of the draft, the Mustangs used their ninth overall pick on forward Ethan Hamilton out of the Humboldt Broncos U15 AA program. Hamilton scored 14 times, and added 13 assists for 27 points in 21 games. Hamilton would go on to add five goals in six games during the playoffs as the Broncos went on to win the U15 AA Provincial title. Hamilton also played one game with the Prince Albert Mintos this season.
Round 2 – 21st Overall: Eric Grandberg (D) (5’9”/141lbs) (Saskatoon, SK)
To wrap up the 2023 SJHL Draft, the Mustangs used their second pick in the 2008 draft to select Eric Grandberg, a defenceman that spent this season with the Saskatoon Outlaws U15 AA squad. Grandberg played in 30 games for the Outlaws, scoring 15 goals and adding 33 assists. He was second among defencemen in the SAAHL in points, and assists, and was third among blueliners in goals. He was also part of the SAAHL U15 Champion Saskatoon Bandits in 2021/2022.
Both Hamilton and Grandberg are signed to play U18 AAA with the Saskatoon Blazers for the 2023/2024 season.