ST. PAUL -- Following an historic night that saw a team-high three players selected from its roster in Friday's opening round of the NHL Entry Draft, the Saint John Sea Dogs saw two more plucked during Saturday's six rounds at the Xcel Energy Center.
The Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League finished tied with the Ontario Hockey League's Oshawa Generals for having the most drafted players from the Canadian Hockey League this year. Oshawa also had five players drafted during the opening four rounds.
The total fell far short of the eight taken from the Western Hockey League's Portland Winterhawks during the 2010 Draft.
The Sea Dogs had nine players among the top 124 skaters rated on NHL Central Scouting's final list of North American skaters. Coach Gerard Gallant, named CHL Coach of the Year for the second straight season, saw his team score the most goals (324) while allowing the fewest (165) en route to recording a QMJHL record for wins this season with 58. The Sea Dogs were atop the CHL MasterCard Top 10 poll for the final 15 weeks of the season en route to capturing their first Memorial Cup.
Forward Jonathan Huberdeau, the highest-rated North American at No. 3, was the first player taken off the board when he was chosen No. 3 by the Florida Panthers.
"We like character, we like people who are passionate and we like skill obviously and Jonathan fits all those," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said. "He's a real kid, a solid two-way player and unselfish and he's everything you would want in a hockey player."
Huberdeau led the team with 43 goals, 62 assists, 105 points and a plus-59 rating in 67 regular-season games. Huberdeau's point total not only was the third-highest in the QMJHL, but set a new franchise standard for points in a season, surpassing the former mark of 95 set by Chris DiDomenico in 2007-08. Huberdeau also led the team in scoring during the QMJHL playoffs with 16 goals, 6 power-play goals, and 30 points to garner the Guy Lafleur Trophy as playoff MVP.
After Huberdeau, defenseman Nathan Beaulieu (Montreal Canadiens, No. 17), center Zack Phillips (Minnesota Wild, No. 28), right wing Tomas Jurco (Detroit Red Wings, No. 35) and Ryan Tesink (St. Louis Blues, No. 162) were next to go.
Among those Oshawa players selected were wing Nicklas Jensen (Vancouver Canucks, No. 29), center Boone Jenner (Columbus Blue Jackets, No. 37), left wing Lucas Lessio (Phoenix Coyotes, No. 56), center Andy Andreoff (Los Angeles Kings, No. 80) and Colin Suellentrop (Philadelphia Flyers, No. 116).
Beaulieu was the top-rated draft-eligible defenseman from the QMJHL, producing 12 goals, 45 points and a plus-44 rating in 65 regular-season games, including 11 multiple-point games. He really turned it on in the playoffs, leading all Sea Dogs defensemen with 17 points (4 goals, 13 assists) while sporting a plus-6 rating in 19 games.
Phillips, who routinely centered the team's top line, with Huberdeau on left wing and Washington Capitals prospect Stanislav Galiev at right wing, finished second on the team behind Huberdeau in goals (38), assists (57), points (95) and plus/minus (plus-48) in 67 regular-season games. His 15 power-play goals led the team and he won 45 percent of his faceoffs on a team-leading 969 attempts.
Phillips suffered a minor shoulder injury during the QMJHL playoffs, but still managed 9 goals, 24 points and a plus-8 rating in 17 games. In the Memorial Cup, he had 1 goal, 4 points and a plus-3 rating in four games.
For Jurco, visions of one day getting the chance to play with childhood idol Pavel Datsyuk filled his head.
"It's unreal, I still can't believe," Jurco said. "I might be able to see someone like him in person … that's hard to believe. I'm hoping I'm going to learn something from him and play well."
In addition to his 31 goals and 56 points in 60 games during the regular season, Jurco was 5-for-6 in shootouts this past season, after going 9-for-11 in his first season in the league.
His shootout percentage in two years is an impressive .823 (14-for-17) -- likely a prominent statistic for interested NHL scouts and general managers.
He struck for 6 goals and 18 points in 19 QMJHL playoff games and connected for a team-leading 4 goals in four games in the Memorial Cup. He is most noted for his tremendous stick-handling ability, which he showcased at the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Toronto in January.
He was the talk of the Showdown Breakaway Challenge during the skills portion of the event at Air Canada Centre on Jan. 18 following an amazing lacrosse-style scoop with his stick from between the circles, followed by a spin-o-rama backhand whip to record a goal that received the highest score among the 12 participants.
The Slovakian star, who represented his country at the 2011 World Junior Championship in Buffalo, N.Y., wants to be known as more than just a magician with the puck. He could get that chance in Detroit.
"Pavel Datsyuk has great hands, is a great player, but he's not a clown," Jurco told NHL.com. "That's his style of hockey. I'm not saying I'm Datsyuk, but I like to do those same moves and it's just a plus that I can do the stuff with my stick off the ice. I don't really like to be known as just a guy with the stick off the ice. I'm first a hockey player."
Tesink, a fan favorite, was one of two local rookie forwards on the roster -- along with Aidan Kelly. Despite limited ice time as a fourth-line grinder, he had 8 goals and 35 points in 59 games before contributing 3 goals, 5 points and a plus-6 rating in 19 playoff contests. He gave his team a 4-3 victory 19:16 into the second overtime of Game 4 of the President's Cup Final against the Gatineau Olympiques, ending the longest game in the history of the QMJHL championship series.
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale