Draft done; work begins

Record number 24 Swedes picked in two days

27.06.2009
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Montreal QC Canada

The NHL draft attracted many fans to the Bell Centre in Montreal. Photo: Richard Wolowicz / Getty Images

MONTREAL, Canada – The 2009 NHL Entry Draft concluded here on Saturday with the execution of the final six rounds. Sweden was far and away the most popular European country for teams as 24 of the 53 Europeans were from the land of Tre Kronor.

Ten came from Finland, seven from Russia, five from Slovakia, and only three from the Czech Republic. Thomas Larkin became the first Italian-trained player to be drafted by an NHL-team when Columbus selected the London, UK-born Italian U18 national team defenseman in the 5th round.

Larkin represented Italy in the 2007 and 2008 IIHF World U18 Championship Division I and has played for Exeter Academy High School and will next season join Colgate University (NCAA).

Belarus, Denmark, and Germany all had one player, all in the final round.

The 53 Euros is a small increase from 2008 and 2007 when 45 prospects from the old continent were claimed.

Sweden's 24 should thus be compared to 29 for the rest of Europe. As usual, Canada led all picks with 106 while United States produced 51. 

Of the 210 players selected, this European total represents 25.2 per cent of the total, about the same as the current participation this past season in the NHL.

Slovakia rebounded nicely from 2008 when not a single player from this Top-8 hockey country was drafted. The Czech Republic, the European country which has produced the most NHLers in the last decade, saw only three players being selected and only one in the four first rounds.

In comparison, in 2004, 21 Czech players were selected while 26 Czechs were picked in 2002.

Here is a summary for each round on Saturday:

Round 2
Nine Europeans were selected including five Swedes, two Slovaks, a Finn, and a Russian. Landon Ferraro, son of former NHLer Ray, was selected 32nd overall by Detroit, and Pittsburgh selected Philip Samuelsson, son of the former Swedish defensive star Ulf, with the 61st choice.

Round 3
Eight Europeans were chosen, including four Swedes, two Russians, one Czech, and one Finn. Ryan Bourque, son of Ray, was chosen 80th overall by the New York Rangers. One spot earlier, in 79th, Montreal chose Mac Bennett, grandson of Harvey, fomer NHLer.

Round 4
Six Europeans were chosen, three from Sweden, two from Finland, and one from Russia. Marcus Foligno, younger brother of Nick and son of Mike, was chosen by Buffalo with the 104th selection.

Round 5
This round included seven Europeans, two each from Sweden and Czech Republic, and one each from Slovakia, Russia and Italy (Thomas Larkin). Pittsburgh selected Andy Bathgate with the 151st selection. He is the grandson of the former New York Rangers’ star of the same name.

Round 6
Six more Europeans were chosen, three from Finland, two from Sweden, and one from Slovakia.

Round 7
Nine more Europeans were drafted to close out the proceedings, three from Finland and then six players from as many nations: Belarus, Slovakia, Denmark, Russia, Germany, and Sweden. Ironically, the Rangers chose Mikhail Pashnin 200th overall. Pashnin was the first selection by CSKA Moscow in the new KHL draft on June 1 in Moscow.

For a full listing of all 210 selections, go to www.nhl.com

ANDREW PODNIEKS

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