Chicago, IL – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that five OHL players were selected in the first round of the 2017 NHL Draft held Friday night at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
The five OHL players were among the 14 selected from the CHL that represented 45% of all players chosen in the draft’s opening round led by Halifax Mooseheads forward Nico Hischier selected first overall by the New Jersey Devils and Brandon Wheat Kings centre Nolan Patrick chosen second overall by the Philadelphia Flyers.
After Hischier, Patrick, Cody Glass of the Portland Winterhawks (6th overall, Las Vegas) and Michael Rasmussen of the Tri-City Americans (9th overall, Detroit) led things off for the CHL, three of the next four selections came from the OHL.
Mississauga Steelheads winger Owen Tippett was the first OHL player chosen, selected 10th overall by the Florida Panthers before Mastercard Memorial Cup champion Gabriel Vilardi of the Windsor Spitfires followed one pick later to the Los Angeles Kings. Owen Sound Attack centreman Nick Suzuki heard his name called two picks later, going 13th overall to the Vegas Golden Knights.
“It’s kind of a dream come true, ever since I was a little kid. There’s really no words to describe it,” said Tippett after donning the red, white and gold threads of the Florida Panthers. “It’s an amazing day to spend with my family. The support they’ve given me ever since I started has been unbelievable. My mom, my sister, my grandparents and close family friends that have always been there for me.”
“All your life you work so hard for this and to finally hear your name called is an amazing feeling,” added Vilardi one pick later. “Things just keep getting better.”
“It’s not every day you get picked by an expansion team,” added 13th overall selection Suzuki who is Las Vegas-bound. “I’ve never been there before but I’m really looking forward to getting there to see the building and the city.”
Other first round OHL picks included London Knights centreman Robert Thomas who was chosen 20th overall by the St. Louis Blues and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds forward Morgan Frost who was chosen 27th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers who traded up to acquire that selection.
“Obviously it’s everybody’s dream to hear their name called and to be drafted by a franchise like St. Louis is a real honour,” said Thomas after being chosen 20th overall. “It was a nerve-wracking day and it felt like it took awhile to get to this point but it all pays off.”
“It’s pretty special that they’d trade up for me, I definitely appreciate it,” added Frost who is now a Philadelphia Flyers prospect. “It’s such a whirlwind, it’s hard to know what to say. It was tough to sleep last night not knowing whether I’d go today or tomorrow, but I just kind of hung out with my family and explored Chicago. I’m super excited that I’m at this point now.”
The selection of Thomas marks the third straight year a London Knight has been chosen in the draft’s opening round representing the CHL’s longest active streak. In 2016 the club produced three first round selections in Olli Juolevi (5th overall, Vancouver), Matthew Tkachuk (6th overall, Calgary), and Max Jones (24th, Anaheim), while Mitch Marner (4th overall, Toronto) was selected in 2015.
This also marks the second straight year the Steelheads and Spitfires produced first round selections. The Steelheads were represented in 2016 by Alex Nylander (8th overall, Buffalo) and Michael McLeod (12th overall, New Jersey), while the Spitfires had three players including Mikhail Sergachev (9th overall, Montreal), Logan Brown (11th overall, Ottawa), and Logan Stanley (18th overall, Winnipeg).
Suzuki represents the sixth Owen Sound player to be selected in the first round and first since 2010’s Joey Hishon (17th overall, Colorado), and highest since 2005’s Bobby Ryan (2nd overall, Anaheim). 2006’s Bobby Sanguinetti (21st overall, NY Rangers), and Platers Jamie Storr (7th overall, Los Angeles), and Wayne Primeau (17th overall, Buffalo) round out the rest of Owen Sound’s first round history.
The selection of Frost marks the fourth time in the last five years the Greyhounds have produced a first round pick following 2015’s Zach Senyshyn (15th overall, Boston), 2014’s Jared McCann (24th overall, Vancouver), and 2013’s Darnell Nurse (7th overall, Edmonton).
OHL Players Selected in the First Round of the 2017 NHL Draft:
(Click on a name below to watch post-draft interview)
For more information on the 2017 NHL Draft including full results visit www.nhl.com.