Two top European prospects for the 2012 Entry Draft were taken with the first picks of the 2011 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft on Wednesday.
Olli Maatta, a defenseman playing for JYP's team in Finland's junior league, was selected by the Ontario Hockey League's London Knights with the first pick. London had to send a player and a package of draft picks to the Barrie Colts to move up to select the 6-foot-1 1/2, 196-pound blueliner.
Maatta had 8 points in 19 games with JYP's under-20 team, plus 5 points in 12 playoff games as he helped the team win its league title. He was the youngest player for Finland at the 2011 World Junior Championship, where he was held scoreless in six games. He also had 4 points in six games for Finland at the World Under-18 Championship.
With the second pick, the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League selected Mikhail Grigorenko, a 6-3, 185-pound center viewed by some scouts as an early candidate to be taken with the first pick of the 2012 Draft.
The Remparts had to send three draft picks to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies to move into the No. 2 slot.
Grigorenko had 17 goals and 18 assists in 43 games while helping CSKA's minor-league team win its league title. At the World Under-18s, he led the tournament with 14 assists in seven games, and his 18 points at the tournament were second only to linemate Nikita Kucherov.
With the third pick, the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League selected Swedish center Victor Rask. Rask was taken by the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round (No. 42) of the 2011 Entry Draft. A 6-2, 194-pound center, Rask had 11 points in 37 games with Leksand of the Swedish Elite League. He also had 5 points in six games for Sweden at the World Under-18 Championship.
With the fourth pick, the OHL's Peterborough Petes drafted Peter Ceresnak, a Slovakian defenseman who had been taken by the New York Rangers in the sixth round of last week's draft. The 6-3, 209-pound blueliner was scoreless in seven games with HK Dukla Trencin last season.
The Victoriaville Tigres of the QMJHL traded up to the fifth spot to select Czech defenseman Petr Sidlik, another well-regarded prospect for next year's draft. The 5-9, 158-pound blueliner had 3 points in 31 games with HC Dukla Jihlava in the Czech league's second division.
Goaltender Steffan Soberg, a 2011 fourth-round pick of the Washington Capitals, was taken by the WHL's Swift Current Broncos with the sixth pick. Soberg had a 4.17 GAA and .884 save percentage for Manglerud in Norway's top league. He also played for Norway last season at the World Junior Championship and World Under-18 Championship.
The 60 CHL teams can carry a maximum of two import players per team.
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