The North Bay Battalion selected Russian-born forward Matvei Petrov with the first overall pick of the 2020 CHL Import Draft. Battalion General Manager Adam Dennis submitted the pick online at CHL.ca to begin the proceedings at 11:00am.
A 17-year-old from Gus-Khrustalny, Russia, Petrov spent the 2019-20 season with MHK Krylia Sovetov Moscow of Russia’s top junior circuit, recording nine points (5-4–9) over 21 games.
Petrov is added to an up-and-coming Battalion depth chart that also includes a fellow countryman in recently acquired Minnesota Wild prospect Matvey Guskov, in addition to 2020 first overall OHL Priority Selection choice Ty Nelson.
Petrov follows Andrei Svechnikov as the first Russian player to be selected first overall in the CHL Import Draft since 2017. Svechnikov went on to win OHL Rookie of the Year honours with the Barrie Colts in 2017-18 before being selected second overall by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2018 NHL Draft.
“Our group’s worked really hard on this one,” said Dennis. “We had a couple conversations with him prior to get comfortable and there was a familiarity with Matvey Guskov as well so we felt very comfortable with the selection and think he’s going to add a lot to our program.”
“He’s an extremely electryifing player, can shoot the puck, has high end skill, and he’s going to want to score goals,” added head coach Ryan Oulahen. “He’s the hockey addiction type of player that we want in our program right now.”
The Battalion franchise has found significant contributors inside the top ten picks at the CHL Import Draft four times before. Czech forward Patrik Machac was picked up at 10th overall by the Brampton-based club back in 2011. Czech blueliner Martin Lojek was chosen seventh overall in the 2002 CHL Import Draft and fellow countryman Kamil Kreps was taken by the Troops with the fifth overall pick of the 2001 selection. Big name blueliner Rostislav Klesla was selected by the Battalion fourth overall in the 1999 CHL Import Draft.
OHL First Overall Picks at the CHL Import Draft:
2020: Matvei Petrov, Russia (North Bay Battalion)
2017: Andrei Svechnikov, Russia (Barrie Colts)
2014: Pavel Zacha, Czech Republic (Sarnia Sting)
2011: Olli Maatta, Finland (London Knights)
2008: Nikita Filatov, Russia (Sudbury Wolves)
2005: Jakub Vojta, Czech Republic (Ottawa 67’s)
2002: Jiri Drtina, Czech Republic (Soo Greyhounds)
1999: Agris Saviels, Latvia (Owen Sound Attack)
1996: Maxim Spiridonov, Russia (London Knights)
1993: Sergei Olympiev, Belarus (Ottawa 67’s)