Montreal, QC – The Canadian Hockey League was front and centre during the first round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft producing 12 of the first 15 picks Friday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, including John Tavares of the London Knights who was selected first overall by the New York Islanders.
A total of 16 CHL players were taken in the opening round including seven from the Ontario Hockey League, five from the Western Hockey League, and four from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. All 16 players competed at the 2009 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.
Tavares became the third straight CHL player following Steven Stamkos (Sarnia Sting) and Patrick Kane (London Knights) to be drafted first overall when he was selected by the Islanders. Tavares also becomes the fifth member of the Knights organization to be selected with the first overall pick building on an NHL Entry Draft record, following Kane (2007), Rick Nash (2002), Rob Ramage (1979), and Rick Green (1976).
“It’s a special moment, it’s been talked about and I’ve been in the spotlight for a long time and I understand it’s only going to get even bigger” said Tavares. “I knew this is what I really wanted and to achieve this is a special honour and great accomplishment for myself.”
Matt Duchene of the Brampton Battalion was selected with the third overall pick by the Colorado Avalanche, a team he cheered for growing up. “Every kid dreams of playing for his boyhood team, it has not sunk in yet” said Duchene. “So many great players have gone at that position, it’s unbelievable, I can’t even describe it.”
Following Duchene were back-to-back selections from the WHL in Evander Kane of the Vancouver Giants who was taken fourth overall by the Atlanta Thrashers, and Brayden Schenn of the Brandon Wheat Kings taken fifth overall by the Los Angeles Kings.
“I’ve been looking forward to this day and am happy to be part of the Atlanta Thrashers organization” said Kane. “I think it’s definitely an honour to be a top five pick and especially going to a team like Atlanta I think is a great opportunity for me.”
“I’m happy to be an L.A King” said Schenn. “The team is headed in the right direction and this is really nice for our family, we are all really excited and I am looking forward to going to camp.”
Dmitry Kulikov was the first QMJHL player chosen when he was selected with the 14th overall pick by the Florida Panthers. The Russian born Kulikov joined the Drummondville Voltigeurs as a rookie import this season. “It is a pretty good feeling being the first Quebec League player drafted, I had great coaches in Drummondville and everybody was so great to me and they helped me a lot, without them I couldn’t have had this kind of success and I am so happy now” Kulikov said.
The 2009 NHL Entry Draft resumes Saturday morning June 27th at 10:00 am with rounds two through seven. Last season 20 CHL players were selected at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft including each of the first five picks.
Here is a complete list of all CHL players selected in the opening round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
1. John Tavares (London Knights) – New York Islanders
3. Matt Duchene (Brampton Battalion) – Colorado Avalanche
4. Evander Kane (Vancouver Giants) – Atlanta Thrashers
5. Brayden Schenn (Brandon Wheat Kings) – Los Angeles Kings
7. Nazem Kadri (London Knights) – Toronto Maple Leafs
8. Scott Glennie (Brandon Wheat Kings) – Dallas Stars
9. Jared Cowen (Spokane Chiefs) – Ottawa Senators
11. Ryan Ellis (Windsor Spitfires) – Nashville Predators
12. Calvin de Haan (Oshawa Generals) – New York Islanders (from Minnesota)
13. Zack Kassian (Peterborough Petes) – Buffalo Sabres
14. Dmitry Kulikov (Drummondville Voltigeurs) – Florida Panthers
15. Peter Holland (Guelph Storm) – Anaheim Ducks
25. Jordan Caron (Rimouski Oceanic) – Boston Bruins
27. Philippe Paradis (Shawinigan Cataractes) – Carolina Hurricanes
29. Carter Ashton (Lethbridge Hurricanes) – Tampa Bay Lightning (from Detroit)
30. Simon Després (Saint John Sea Dogs) – Pittsburgh Penguins
Photo by Aaron Bell/CHL