McNabb Earns First Team All-Star Honors, Captains Ice To 4th Seed
Last night, Brayden McNabb was named a WHL Eastern Conference First-Team All-Star. Today, he leads the 4th seed Kootenay Ice into their first round Chynoweth Cup Playoffs matchup against the Moose Jaw Warriors as their captain. Next fall, he’ll dress in Portland black and red for the AHL’s Pirates.
Brayden was selected by the Buffalo Sabres with the 66th overall pick in the 3rd round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. He’s spent his entire junior career with the Kootenay Ice of the WHL. His rookie season, he only played 3 games but that quickly changed as he followed up with seasons of 65, 67, 64, and 59 games played. In those seasons, he’s scored 0, 11, 36, 57, and 72 points while tacking on 0, 63, 140, 121, and 95 penalty minutes.
It was the 2010/2011 season that saw McNabb start his campaign with the captaincy on the bench, sidelined with a shoulder injury for 7 games. His first game back, he demolished a Calgary Hitman with an open-ice check. He played the rest of that season with more discretion and clarity than ever before, putting up 1.22 points per game. His bid to become a member of the Canadian WJC fell short as he was one of the final cuts from the squad. His focus undiminished, he broke Kootenay’s franchise defenseman records left and right.
Now a first team all-star, the Davidson, Saskatchewan native leads his squad into the grueling Chynoweth Cup playoff against Dylan McIlrath (Rangers, 1st round, 10th overall) and the Moose Jaw Warriors. McNabb only has 20 games across three post-season appearances so he’s largely untested in the second season.
Regardless of the successes or failures of Kootenay in the Chynoweth Cup playoffs, the real payoff here is a chance to join the Portland Pirates this spring as a soldier to bolster the troops in their Calder Cup run as likely Atlantic Division champions. He’s a responsible, physical, productive defenseman that should be a great asset to Kevin Dineen and the Buffalo Sabres system. But for now, let’s see how he does in his current quest for WHL glory and a chance to play in the Memorial Cup.