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CHL Produces 89 NHL Draft Picks in Chicago

By Marshall Mackinder on June 27, 2017
London Knights forward Robert Thomas was selected 20th overall by the St. Louis Blues in the 2017 NHL Draft. Thomas was one of four London Knights selected continuing the streak of a Knights player taken in the draft every year since 1969. (Photo by Matthew Mackinder)     

Every year following the NHL Draft, analysts from all around the globe break down the draft and critique why a specific player was taken, which player wasn't taken, why the Red Wings drafted a goalie, why the Panthers didn't draft a goalie, and so on. Players fall and players rise, NHL teams go off the board and select players nobody had in their rankings or NHL teams don't select the player everybody thought they would. 

All prospects who will be 18 years old on or before September 15, 2017 and not older than 20 before December 31, 2017 (and all non-American prospects 18 and over by September 15, 2017) were eligible for selection and were hoping to hear their names called by one of the 31 NHL teams where there are only seven rounds and 217 spots available. Out of the 217 selected players, 89 of them (40.6%) skated in the CHL this season with the Ontario Hockey League leading the way with 42 players, followed by 33 players from the Western Hockey League, and 14 players selected from the Quebec Major Junior League. However, the WHL beat out the OHL in first round selections for the first time since 2007 with seven selections compared to the OHL’s five.

Out of those 89 players, 14 were selected in the first round with five picks in the top 10 led by Nico Hischier of the Halifax Mooseheads selected first overall by the New Jersey Devils. However, the second round saw 16 CHL players selected bring the total to 30 after two rounds which accounted for 48.4% of all draft picks in those rounds. 

While the CHL was a big winner at the draft, individual teams saw a number of their players get selected, starting with the OHL's Owen Sound Attack who produced a franchise record six drafted players led by Nick Suzuki going 13th overall to the Vegas Golden Knights. The Western Hockey League's Tri-City Americans were second and also set a club record with five players selected, highlighted by Michael Rasmussen being taken by the Detroit Red Wings at 9th overall. Other teams who led the CHL were the Guelph Storm, Hamilton Bulldogs and London Knights of the OHL and Portland Winterhawks of the WHL who each had four players selected.

The Guelph Storm were the second worst team in the OHL in 2016-17 (21-40-5-2) but appear full of talented players and will look to build on their forgettable season in the coming year. 

Forty-three different CHL teams had a player selected and the London Knights continued their record streak of having a player chosen at every NHL Draft since 1969. Centre Robert Thomas was first off the board from the Knights as he was selected 20th overall by the St. Louis Blues. Twenty-eight NHL teams selected at least one CHL player with the Arizona Coyotes, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, Ottawa Senators, Vegas Golden Knights, and Vancouver Canucks each selecting five. The Buffalo Sabres, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Washington Capitals were the only NHL teams not to select a CHL player.

When it came to prospect rankings coming into the draft, many scouts had it right and ISS Hockey was spot on for quite a few, but as always there were a few surprise picks as well as a few surprise exclusions. Here is a quick look below:

10 highlighted CHL players who were expected to be drafted higher but were selected lower (according to ISS final rankings)

  1. Ivan Chekhovich (Baie-Comeau Drakkar, QMJHL) - San Jose Sharks (7th round, 212th overall) - ISS ranking #50 
  2. Sasha Chmelevski (Ottawa 67’s, OHL) - San Jose Sharks (6th round, 185th overall) - ISS ranking #74 
  3. Jacob Paquette (Kingston Frontenacs, OHL) - Nashville Predators (7th round, 216th overall) - ISS ranking #120
  4. Jarret Tyszka (Seattle Thunderbirds, WHL) - Montreal Canadiens (5th round, 149th overall) - ISS ranking #57 
  5. Jocktan Chainey (Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL) - New Jersey Devils (7th round, 191st overall) - ISS ranking #107
  6. Pavel Koltygin (Drummondville Voltigeurs, QMJHL) - Nashville Predators - (6th round, 176th overall) - ISS ranking #98 
  7. Markus Phillips (Owen Sound Attack, OHL) - Los Angeles Kings (4th round, 118th overall) - ISS ranking #45 
  8. Adam Ruzicka (Sarnia Sting, OHL) - Calgary Flames (4th round, 109th overall) ISS ranking #48 
  9. Matthew Strome (Hamilton Bulldogs, OHL) - Philadelphia Flyers (4th round, 106th overall) ISS ranking #58 
  10. Stelio Mattheos (Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL) - Carolina Hurricanes (3rd round, 73rd overall) - ISS ranking #33


10 highlighted CHL players who were expected to be drafted lower but were selected higher (according to ISS final rankings) *Not including unranked players 

  1. Zachary Lauzon (Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, QMJHL) - Pittsburgh Penguins (2nd round, 51st overall) - ISS ranking #174 
  2. Liam Hawel (Guelph Storm, OHL) - Dallas Stars (4th round, 101st overall) - ISS ranking #156 
  3. Maksim Sushko (Owen Sound Attack, OHL) - Philadelphia Flyers (4th round, 107th overall) - ISS ranking #154 
  4. Morgan Frost (Soo Greyhounds, OHL) - Philadelphia Flyers (1st round, 27th overall) - ISS ranking #72 
  5. Scott Walford (Victoria Royals, WHL) - Montreal Canadiens (3rd round, 68th overall) - ISS ranking #111 
  6. Lane Zablocki (Red Deer Rebels, WHL) - Detroit Red Wings (3rd round, 79th overall) - ISS ranking #115 
  7. Mason Shaw (Medicine Hat Tigers, WHL) - Minnesota Wild (4th round, 97th overall) - ISS ranking #132 
  8. Aleksi Heponiemi (Swift Current Bronco, WHL) - Florida Panthers (2nd round, 40th overall) - ISS ranking #68 
  9. Antoine Morand (Acadie-Bathurst Titan, QMJHL) - Anaheim Ducks (2nd round, 60th overall) - ISS ranking #88 
  10. Nate Schnarr (Guelph Storm, OHL) - Arizona Coyotes (3rd round, 75th overall) - ISS ranking #96 


10 highlighted CHL players who were ranked in the final rankings of ISS but did not get selected in the 2017 NHL Draft

  1. Ivan Kosorenkov - Victoriaville Tigres, QMJHL (ISS ranking #77)
  2. Greg Meireles - Kitchener Rangers, OHL (ISS ranking #78)
  3. Artyom Minulin - Swift Current Broncos, WHL (ISS ranking #94)
  4. Mark Rubinchik - Saskatoon Blades, WHL (ISS ranking #109)
  5. Joel Teasdale - Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, QMJHL (ISS ranking #112)
  6. Matthew Wedman - Seattle Thunderbirds, WHL (ISS ranking #117)
  7. Antoine Crete-Belzile - Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, QMJHL (ISS ranking #138)
  8. Austin Pratt - Red Deer Rebels, WHL (ISS ranking #146)
  9. Shawn Boudrias - Gatineau Olympiques, QMJHL (ISS ranking #149)
  10. Nicholas McHugh - Kitchener Rangers, OHL (ISS ranking #175)


Here are 10 highlighted CHL players who were not ranked in the final rankings of ISS but did get selected in the 2017 NHL Draft

  1. Matthew Villalta (Soo Greyhounds, OHL) - Los Angeles Kings (3rd round, 72nd Overall)
  2. Drake Batherson (Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, QMHL) - Ottawa Senators (4th round, 121st overall)
  3. Brandon Crawley (London Knights, OHL) - New York Rangers (4th round, 123rd overall)
  4. Cole Fraser (Peterborough Petes, OHL) - Detroit Red Wings (5th round, 131st overall)
  5. Leon Gawanke (Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, QMJHL) - Winnipeg Jets (5th round, 136th overall)
  6. Zach Fischer (Medicine Hat Tigers, WHL) - Calgary Flames (5th round, 140th overall)
  7. Jacob McGrew (Spokane Chiefs, WHL) - San Jose Sharks (6th round, 159th overall)
  8. Petrus Palmu (Owen Sounds Attack, OHL) - Vancouver Canucks (6th round, 181st overall)
  9. Jordan Hollett (Regina Pats, WHL) - Ottawa Senators (6th round, 183rd overall)
  10. Dylan Ferguson (Kamloops Blazers, WHL) - Dallas Stars (7th round, 194th overall)


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By Marshall Mackinder| June 27, 2017
Categories:  Major Junior|Events

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