From Connor McDavid to Andrei Svechnikov, Ontario Hockey League fans have been treated to some very high-end NHL Draft-eligible talent over the past few years.
GET READY for a sophomore surge. The Western Hockey League’s hottest second-year players are set to take the season by storm after leading Canada to a gold medal in a perfect run at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup last month. Here’s a breakdown of what a few of those rising stars have to offer their respective teams as they enter their NHL draft year:
Sting forward Drake Rymsha is being fitted for a new crown. Selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the fifth round (138th overall) in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, the Huntington Woods, Mich., product has signed a three-year, entry-level deal with the club.
Count HockeyNow 2016 Player of the Year for Alberta Bowen Byram as one of the elated Team Canada members celebrating gold at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup tournament in Edmonton earlier this month.
Thirty-four Western Hockey League prospects have been selected to audition for Hockey Alberta’s Canada Games team. Of the 35 players invited, all but one are WHL prospects as Alberta loads up in an attempt to win gold at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer.
The NHL’s Dallas Stars have signed Kitchener Rangers left-winger Adam Mascherin to a three-year, entry-level contract. Mascherin, 20, recorded 86 points (40g 46a) for the Rangers in 67 OHL regular-season games during the 2017-18 campaign.
The Canadian Hockey League has a reputation for developing the best and brightest players up for grabs each year in the NHL Entry Draft, and this year was no exception.
Ty Smith has been drawing the eyes of scouts for years. The 18-year-old Spokane Chiefs defenceman worked his way onto the hockey radar as a bantam in Lloydminster before playing a year with Delta Prep Academy and going first overall in the 2015 Western Hockey League bantam draft.
Andrei Svechnikov took the OHL by storm last season. Entering the league with high expectations, the first overall pick in the 2017 CHL Draft made an immediate impact with the Barrie Colts, scoring 10 goals in his first games.
In this year’s NHL entry draft, Noah Dobson could be the second defenceman to hear his name called by a big league GM. Everybody knows that Swedish defender Rasmus Dahlin will be selected first overall by the Buffalo Sabres.
If Lloydminster Minor Hockey product Ty Smith is feeling edgy heading into the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, he’s not showing it. “I’m not losing sleep or anything like that,” the 18-year-old defenceman says. “I’m just going to try and enjoy it and try not to look at everything. I’m just going to try and enjoy everything instead of worrying about it.”
It’s Luka Burzan’s turn. Like countless players before him, Burzan is sitting on pins and needles as he waits for his name to be called at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
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