Winnipegger eyed as possible Top 3 pick for WHL draft

Winnipegger eyed as possible Top 3 pick for WHL draft

Carson Lambos’ life could change dramatically Thursday morning, but the 15-year-old Winnipegger says he’s not worried.

Hockey scouts say Lambos, 15, is likely to be one of the Top 3 picks — if not the top pick — in Thursday’s Western Hockey League Bantam draft. 

“I just kind of go out and perform, right, and just see what happens. But pressure has never really gotten to me,” said Lambos.

The six-foot, 190-pound defenceman is currently the captain of the Bantam Prep team at Winnipeg’s Rink Hockey Academy. The team is part of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League’s bantam division.

One of Lambos’s coaches, Sandy Henry, praised the teen’s leadership skills along with his on-ice expertise.

“Physically strong, very good skater, very good puck skills, pro shot, and then on top of that he’s our captain — very good leader,” said Henry, who is assistant coach for the team.

“When other players were having their ups and downs, he was there with those guys.… I would give the analogy of, he’s a 16, 17-year-old person with a 14-year-old birth certificate.”

Carsen Lambos is expected to be among the first to be drafted into the WHL bantam league Thursday. (Warren Kay/CBC)

Lambos’s love of hockey began before he started elementary school. Thanks to an older brother, Jonathon, he always played against others who were older.

“I started playing when I was four, and just kind of kept playing as I got older and just like it more every day,” Lambos said. 

He’s also following in his brother’s footsteps — Jonathon is a prospect for the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Carson Lambos says the buzz surrounding his own draft chances is “pretty cool,” but said just being drafted would be an honour.

American hockey scouts have also been swirling around the ice, but Carson said his goal has always been the WHL. He hopes the NHL is in his future.

“It’s just a really good path for development and the way I play the game,” he said.

“Being able to be a really good player at a younger age, the WHL is a better league and better option for somebody like myself.”

Rink Hockey Academy Bantam Prep assistant coach Sandy Henry watches his team during practice. (Warren Kay/CBC)

Despite the attention, Carson’s ego remains in check.

“It hasn’t made him into a different person,” said Henry.

“He just goes about his work every day with the understanding that wherever he’s picked, whatever happens for him after that is going to be based on what he does from that point on.”

Wherever Lambos ends up, that team is getting a young, unusually strong prospect, Henry added.

“It can be a difficult league when you’re 16 years old for a couple reasons. One, you’re playing against 20-year-old players. B, it’s a heavy schedule — it’s got a lot a lot of travel, it’s demanding physically, mentally also,” Henry said.

“I think Carson’s one of those players that could bridge that gap. Where his skill level is, and his physical maturity certainly, he’s going to be able to handle it there.”

Published at Wed, 02 May 2018 06:00:00 -0400