Former Penticton Vees forwards Wade Murphy and Jedd Soleway are now NHL prospects.
Murphy and Soleway had their names called at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft in Newark, New Jersey, on Sunday. Murphy was the first pick in the seventh and final round, chosen 185th by the Nashville Predators, while Soleway became a Phoenix Coyote eight picks later at 193.
“He’s very skilled and plays a lot like Tyler Bozak in Toronto,” said Predators North American amateur scout Glen Sanders of Murphy on the Predators website. “He has the skills to score goals. He’s competitive on the puck. We liked his hockey sense and he’s going to a good program in North Dakota for the next couple of years, so we think highly of him down the road. His year was very good. They had a very good hockey team in the Penticton Vees. They went all the way last year and won the BCHL Championship in tier-2 hockey. This year they came back and didn’t quite make it all the way, but he was very successful and scored some big goals. We liked the whole package.”
Murphy, 19, led the Vees in scoring with 23 goals and 70 points in 50 games, good for seventh best in the league. He followed that up with five goals and 11 points in 15 playoff games as the Vees appeared in their second consecutive Fred Page Cup Final. In 2012, he was named the Vees Co-Playoff MVP, helping guide the Vees to the 2012 RBC Cup National Junior A Championship. Murphy also won a silver medal with Team Canada West at the 2012 World Junior A Challenge last November in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
On Twitter, Murphy, who could not be reached for comment, said, “Honoured to be picked by the @PredsNHL thanks to everyone who has helped me in life and especially my dad whos always been there for me.”
Soleway, 19, came to the Vees in December in a trade with the Vernon Vipers for Dexter Dancs. Soleway collected 14 goals and 29 points in 22 regular season games after the trade. The power forward then scored five goals and added 11 points in 15 games. In 122 career games between Penticton and Vernon, Soleway compiled 37 goals and 82 points. Soleway is off to Madison, Wis., to play for the University of Wisconsin. Soleway, who also couldn’t be reached for comment said on his Facebook page that he’s excited to be part of the Coyotes organization.
Vees general manager Fred Harbinson said the organization is obviously excited for both players.
“They have put in a lot of work over their hockey career,” said Harbinson, who attended the NHL draft. “It’s always every bodies dream to get their name called on draft day. It was special for both those players. Here are two guys who are definitely well deserving of it.”
In other Vees news, the team has commitments from two goalies for the 2013-14 season. Twenty-year-old Olivier Mantha and Hunter Miska, 18. Mantha spent the past three seasons playing college hockey in Quebec at Laflèche College in Trois-Rivières. He appeared in 75 games for the Dragons and was named a league all-star in 2012 and 2013. The La Tuque, Que., product was second in save-percentage this past season. Mantha was a standout at the Vees spring camp where he made a lasting impression on coaches and scouts.
Miska comes from the US National Development Team. The North Branch, Minn., native played for both the under-17 and under-18 teams in his two years with the USNTDP. Miska has also experienced international competition as he won silver in Sochi, Russia, in April with Team USA at the under-18 World Hockey Championships. He also earned silver at the 2012 World U-17 Hockey Challenge in Windsor, Ont.
Harbinson said both goalies will provide the Vees with a good 1-2 punch in net.
“For me they are just both really quality kids, hard working kids,” said Harbinson. “We will have good competition with the two of them. The style we play in front of them is going to help them. They are going to solidify a strong back end that we are putting together.”