CHL Ties Record with 21 Players Selected in the First Round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft
For Immediate Release
St. Paul, MN – The Canadian Hockey League today announced that 21 CHL players were selected in the first round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft matching 1998 as the most successful first round of the NHL Entry Draft in CHL history.
“The Canadian Hockey League is very proud to see another strong contingent of CHL players selected in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft,” said CHL President David Branch. “On behalf of the CHL I would like to congratulate the players and their families on this very special day and wish all players the best of luck in their professional careers. With 21 players selected the CHL continues to be the number one provider of talent to the National Hockey League.”
The 21 CHL players selected include 11 from the Ontario Hockey League, five from the Western Hockey League, and five from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. This season marks the first time that 21 CHL players were selected in a first round that consisted of 30 picks, as there were only 27 selections made in 1998. 2011 also marks the first time since 1998 when one player from each of the three regional leagues had a player selected in the top three.
Among the 21 first round picks, seven of the top 10 players selected were from the CHL including first overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Red Deer Rebels who became the fifth straight CHL player to be chosen first overall and the first ever British Columbia born player to be taken at number one when he was selected by the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night.
“I'm definitely going to be able to relate to all the young guys in the system already,” Nugent-Hopkins said. “So just joining a group like that is very exciting for me. I just can't wait to get started.”
A native of Burnaby, B.C., Nugent-Hopkins was chosen first overall in the 2008 WHL Bantam Draft and went on to win the WHL’s Rookie of the Year in 2009-10 after scoring 24 goals and 65 points for the Rebels as a 16-year-old. This year Nugent-Hopkins led the Rebels and finished tied for third in the WHL in scoring with 106 points while claiming the Top Prospect Award at the annual CHL Awards Ceremony.
Following Nugent-Hopkins, the Colorado Avalanche selected Gabriel Landeskog with the second overall pick. Jonathan Huberdeau of the Saint John Sea Dogs went third overall to the Florida Panthers. Ryan Strome of the Niagara IceDogs went fifth overall to the New York Islanders, and the Winnipeg Jets selected Mark Scheifele of the Barrie Colts seventh overall. The Philadelphia Flyers then selected Sean Couturier with the eighth overall selection before Dougie Hamilton became the second Niagara IceDog of the day to be drafted when he went ninth overall to the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins.
Landeskog was the first OHL player selected at number two and despite missing 15 games to injury during the 2010-11 season, the captain managed to lead the Rangers in scoring with 36 goals. He was third on the team in points with 66 in just 53 games. The native of Sweden was a member of their National Junior Team at the 2011 World Junior Hockey Championship.
“I remember having Peter Forsberg up on my wall when I was a little kid, and I also had the 2001 Stanley Cup winning team poster up in my room,” Landeskog said. “That's my goal to be in that picture one day and to be there with the Colorado Avalanche. I'm very excited.”
Huberdeau was one of three members of the Sea Dogs selected in the first round. The Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy winner as MVP of the 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup led the Sea Dogs to their first ever Memorial Cup title. He was the first Quebec-born player to win the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy since Danny Groulx of the Victoriaville Tigres in 2002.
“It's a great feeling to be selected by Florida. It's a great team,” Huberdeau said. “It's a dream since you're young, and now to get called it's a foot in the door to make the NHL.”
Strome exploded for 33 goals and 106 points this past season and established himself as one of the OHL's top players. He helped the IceDogs finish with the third best record in the OHL during the regular season and then scored six goals and 12 points in 14 playoff games to help them advance to the Rogers Eastern Conference Championship Series for the first time in Niagara franchise history.
“Playing in Niagara has been great. I've gotten consistently better each day,” Strome said. “I can't thank the team enough, Marty Williamson, Mike Van Ryn, Billy Burke, and the owners are second to none. They're the greatest people in the world. They're probably the proudest people now,” Strome added. “It's such a welcoming organization and such a big family there. Everyone's been so great, and everyone's wished me the best of luck, and they're the best.”
Scheifele became the first pick by the relocated Winnipeg Jets organization going seventh overall. He emerged as an elite OHL scorer with the Colts this season, racking up 22 goals and 75 points. He is a power forward that also skates well and shot up scouting lists as the season progressed. He uses his big frame to cause havoc in the difficult areas of the ice.
“The opportunity to compete against the best players was an intriguing factor that Dale Hawerchuk brought up to me in our meeting when I talked to him last year in August,” Scheifele said. “He said, you won't be able to play against players like Hishon, Gudbranson and all these great players that have gone through here. To see all the guys that have played in the OHL like Jeff Skinner, Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin, to see what great players have been produced out of the OHL helped make up my mind and kind of intrigued me going into the OHL. To know it's such a great program there throughout all teams.”
Couturier was the Michel-Brière Trophy winner as the QMJHL’s Most Valuable Player. In his third year in the league, the Voltigeurs star scored 96 points in only 58 games. Couturier also finished with an exceptional +55. He helped the Voltigeurs to become the first team in league history to win at least 45 games three years in a row.
“I was really lucky to be part of a great organization, my three years in Drummondville were awesome,” stated Couturier. “They treated me well. They helped me a lot in my development and I thank them. It's probably one of the reasons why I'm here today.”
Hamilton won the Bobby Smith Trophy as the OHL's Scholastic Player of the Year before also claiming CHL Scholastic Player of the Year honours. The six-foot-five blueliner plays a solid game at both ends of the ice and scored 12 goals and 58 points with the IceDogs this season.
“I definitely think the OHL is one of the best leagues in the world,” said Hamilton. “They say the CHL is the best development league in the world, they're doing something right with the coaches and development. It's great to see all our players chosen tonight. I'm excited for all of them.”
The Saint John Sea Dogs led the way with three players selected in the first round. In addition to Huberdeau, Nathan Beaulieu going to the Montreal Canadiens with the 17th overall pick, and Zack Phillips going to the host Minnesota Wild with the 28th pick. Four CHL teams had two players selected in the first round beginning with the two IceDogs Strome and Hamilton in the top 10. Ryan Murphy of the Kitchener Rangers was chosen 12th overall by the Carolina Hurricanes joining Landeskog in the first round. Two Portland Winterhawks were selected including Sven Baertschi chosen 13th overall by the Calgary Flames, and Joe Morrow chosen 23rd by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Finally, two members of the Plymouth Whalers were selected including Stefan Noesen to the Ottawa Senators at 28, and Rickard Rakell to the Anaheim Ducks 30th overall.
The 2010 NHL Entry Draft featured eight CHL players selected in the top 10 including the first seven straight picks, while seven CHL players were selected in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft top 10 including the first five picks. Last season a total of 17 CHL players were selected in the first round.
The 2011 NHL Entry Draft continues Saturday June 25 with rounds two through seven at the Xcel Energy Centre.
CHL Players Selected in the First Round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft:
1. Ryan Nugent Hopkins (Red Deer Rebels) - Edmonton Oilers
2. Gabriel Landeskog (Kitchener Rangers) – Colorado Avalanche
3. Jonathan Huberdeau (Saint John Sea Dogs) – Florida Panthers
5. Ryan Strome (Niagara IceDogs) – New York Islanders
7. Mark Scheifele (Barrie Colts) – Winnipeg Jets
8. Sean Couturier (Drummondville Voltigeurs) – Philadelphia Flyers
9. Dougie Hamilton (Niagara IceDogs) – Boston Bruins
11. Duncan Siemens (Saskatoon Blades) – Colorado Avalanche
12. Ryan Murphy (Kitchener Rangers) – Carolina Hurricanes
13. Sven Baertschi (Portland Winterhawks) – Calgary Flames
17. Nathan Beaulieu (Saint John Sea Dogs) – Montreal Canadiens
18. Mark McNeill (Prince Albert Raiders) – Chicago Blackhawks
21. Stefan Noesen (Plymouth Whalers) – Ottawa Senators
23. Joseph Morrow (Portland Winterhawks) – Pittsburgh Penguins
24. Matt Puempel (Peterborough Petes) – Ottawa Senators
25. Stuart Percy (Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors) – Toronto Maple Leafs
26. Phillip Danault (Victoriaville Tigres) – Chicago Blackhawks
27. Vladislav Namestnikov (London Knights) – Tampa Bay Lightning
28. Zack Phillips (Saint John Sea Dogs) – Minnesota Wild
29. Nicklas Jensen (Oshawa Generals) – Vancouver Canucks
30. Rickard Rakell (Plymouth Whalers) – Anaheim Ducks