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Sharks Assign 1st Round Pick to Wichita Thunder

Weisblatt joins former Wichita Thunder forward Alex Bourret as the only other opening-round draft pick to put on a Thunder uniform.

Sharks Assign 1st Round Pick to Wichita Thunder

WICHITA, Kan. – For just the second time in franchise history, a first round NHL draft pick will suit up for the Wichita Thunder.

Today, the San Jose Barracuda assigned 2020 first round draft pick (31st overall), Ozzy Wiesblatt, to the Thunder. Weisblatt joins former Wichita Thunder forward Alex Bourret as the only other opening-round draft pick to put on a Thunder uniform.

The 20-year-old forward has yet to play this season for the Barracuda, but did play in six games for them at the start of last season, where he posted three points (1G, 2A). After that, he was sent to the Western Hockey League’s Prince Albert Raiders, where he posted 41 points (10G, 31A) in 43 games before a shoulder injury ended his season. In his four-year WHL career, he racked up 179 points (58G, 121A) in 195 games.

A native of Calgary, Alberta, Wiesblatt helped Prince Albert to a WHL title and a Memorial Cup appearance in 2018-19. He was teammates with current Thunder forward Brayden Watts during the 2019-20 campaign. Wiesblatt finished that season with 70 points (25G, 45A) in 64 games, which was second on the team in scoring, while Watts finished third with 61.

He also represented Team Canada during the Hlinka Gretzky Cup and won a silver medal, tallying three points (1G, 2A) in five games.

Scouts were high on Wiesblatt prior to and after his name was called at the NHL Draft, with one calling him “a human cheat code” in transition. This quote comes from Elite Prospects’ Mitchell Brown, who wrote this about Wiesblatt after a WHL game in early 2020:

“Wiesblatt is a human cheat code in transition. Seven entry attempts, all controlled and all successful — three of them inside lane. He was so aggressive carrying the puck, but almost never got pushed to the outside unless he deemed it was the best option. His decision-making in transition is so refined and he’s not afraid to attack layers.”

Dobber Prospects wrote this about Wiesblatt:

“Wiesblatt is a high-energy player who plays a quick, determined brand of hockey. The dual-threat right-winger makes things easier on his linemates, consistently being engaged in the play. Plays with a killer bee mentality using his speed and skill to baffle opponents and open up extra ice for his linemates. His skating and passing abilities make him a dangerous playmaker, yet there are still a few areas that will need improving before he is considered an NHL threat. On occasion, Wiesblatt has shown a lightning-quick release on his shot, but it remains inconsistent. Improving his shot and release should be a focus in his development.”

There will be some additional roster shuffling as head coach Bruce Ramsay gets things lined out ahead of the season’s first three-in-three, which starts this Friday night, when the Thunder host the Tulsa Oilers.

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    Matthew Harding is the Managing Editor for Field Pass Hockey, covers the ECHL and the Wichita Thunder. Follow and interact with him on Twitter @FPHThunder.

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