Four Indigenous players chosen in National Hockey League’s Entry Draft

Monday, July 8th, 2024 2:47pm


Image Caption

Top row left to right: Cayden Lindstrom and Chase Wutzke. Bottom row left to right: Dalyn Wakely and Sam McCue.
By Sam Laskaris

An Indigenous player has been part of the Stanley Cup-winning squad in each of the past two years.

Zach Whitecloud, a member of the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation in Manitoba, helped the Vegas Golden Knights win the Cup in 2023.

And Brandon Montour of Six Nations of the Grand River in Ontario helped the Florida Panthers capture the league title last month.

Indigenous representation on league championship teams just might continue in the coming years. That’s because four Indigenous players were selected in the recent National Hockey League (NHL) Entry Draft.

The two-day draft, which concluded on June 29, was staged in Las Vegas.

For starters, Cayden Lindstrom, a member of Driftpile Cree Nation in Alberta, was one of the top picks.

He was selected in the opening round, fourth over-all, by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Lindstrom has spent the past two seasons with the Medicine Hat Tigers in the Western Hockey League (WHL).

Another WHL player, Chase Wutzke, a Métis goaltender, was the second Indigenous players drafted this year. He was chosen in the fifth round, 142nd over-all, by the Minnesota Wild.

Wutzke was a rookie with the Red Deer Rebels during the 2023-24 season.

Then, in the sixth round, Dalyn Wakely, a member of Curve Lake First Nation in Ontario, was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers.

Wakely, who was the 192nd pick over-all in the draft, spent the past three years with the North Bay Battalion in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).

Another OHL player, Sam McCue, a member of Odanak First Nation in Quebec, was the fourth and final Indigenous player drafted this year.

He was chosen in the seventh round, 216th over-all, by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

McCue, who has two years of OHL experience under his belt, started this past season with the Peterborough Petes before joining the Owen Sound Attack in a mid-season trade.

A closer look at this year’s four Indigenous draftees follows:

Cayden Lindstrom


Despite being one of the top picks in this year’s draft, Lindstrom is expected to return to Medicine Hat to continue developing his game this coming season.

Lindstrom displayed his offensive capabilities early on during the 2023-24 season with the Tigers. He collected 46 points, including 27 goals, in his first 32 regular season contests.

But a herniated disc in his back forced him out of the lineup last December for the remainder of the regular season. He returned to action in the playoffs and appeared in four of Medicine Hat’s five post-season outings, earning one goal and one assist.

Chase Wutzke


Wutzke will in all likelihood be returning to Red Deer for some more grooming this coming season.

That’s because he doesn’t even turn 18 until July 26. And he only has one full WHL season under his belt.

Wutzke, who is from the Saskatchewan village of Debden, appeared in 36 regular season appearances with the Rebels this past season. He had an impressive 19-10-2 mark and a 2.82 goals-against average.

His GAA was the ninth best in the 22-team league, a decent stat for a rookie.

Wutzke had also suited up for seven games with the Rebels the previous two years when he was playing minor hockey.

Daly Wakely


Wakely, who turned 20 this past March, was one of the oldest players available in this year’s draft. He had also been eligible for both the 2022 and ’23 drafts but was not chosen in either of those proceedings.

Wakely certainly made a name for himself this past season, his third with the North Bay Battalion in the Ontario Hockey League.

He racked up 104 points (39 goals and 65 assists) in 66 regular season outings. And in the playoffs, he collected 23 points, including 13 goals in 16 outings.

His 104-point regular season easily surpassed the amount of points, 83, that he had earned during his first two years with the North Bay franchise.

Sam McCue


McCue made some giant strides this past year during his second OHL season.

He had seen limited action as a rookie with the Peterborough Petes during the 2022-23 campaign. McCue failed to score a goal and earned just one assist in his 33 appearances with the Petes that year.

But McCue, who is billed as a solid two-way forward, produced quite a bit more offensively this past season for both teams that he suited up for.

He registered 16 points, including 11 goals, in 34 games with the Petes. And then, following his trade to Owen Sound, he added 21 points (12 goals and nine assists) in 34 regular season matches with the Attack.