Four Winterhawks go in first two rounds of NHL draft


The news was all good for the Portland Winterhawks: Four players picked in the first two rounds of the NHL draft, and each likely to return for the next Western Hockey League season.

Portland forward Sven Bartschi was the first to go in Friday's first round at St. Paul, Minn. The Calgary Flames took him with the 13th pick.

Then came defenseman Joe Morrow, who went to the Pittsburgh Penguins with the 23rd pick.

The second round took place on Saturday, and that was when Hawk forward Ty Rattie and defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon heard their names called.

The St. Louis Blues grabbed Rattie with the 32nd pick (the second in round two), and Calgary came back to take Wotherspoon at No. 57.

The Winterhawks also had two players (Ryan Johansen, Nino Niederreiter) drafted in the first round a year ago. The last time the franchise had two first-round picks in consecutive years was 1982-83.

Bartschi was the WHL Western Conference rookie of the year in 2010-11. He had 34 goals and 51 assists (85 points) in the regular season, plus 10 goals and 17 assists (27 points) in 21 playoff games. He also competed for Switzerland at the World Junior Championship, where the Swiss placed fifth.

Morrow led Portland D-men with nine goals and 40 assists, the most by a Hawk blue-liner since 2002-03. In the playoffs, he added six goals and 14 assists. His father, Dave, a former Hawk, was drafted in the fourth round in 1977, and his brother, Josh, went in the seventh round in 2002.

Rattie totaled 79 points last season, getting 28 goals and 51 assists. He then posted nine goals and 12 assists in the postseason.

Wotherspoon had two goals and 10 assists in the regular season, with three goals and one assist in the Winterhawk's run to the WHL finals.

The Hawks have had 12 players selected in the past two NHL drafts.