CALGARY (JUNE 23, 2000) – The Carolina Hurricanes completed the first day of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft today by selecting forwards Tomas Kurka in the second round (32nd overall) and Ryan Bayda in the third round (80th overall). The Hurricanes have two picks in the fourth round (107th, 109th), single selections in the fifth (146th), sixth (180th) and seventh rounds (211th); two picks in the eighth (234th, 243rd), and a final pick in the ninth round (275th) when the 2000 NHL Entry Draft resumes tomorrow at the Canadian Airlines Saddledome in Calgary.
Kurka, 18, completed his first season in the Ontario Hockey League last year, compiling 64 points (36g, 28a) and 37 penalty minutes in 64 games for the Plymouth Whalers. Kurka (5’11”, 190 lbs.) ranked second on the team in goals and fifth in scoring. A native of Litvinov, Czech Republic, Kurka totaled 13 points (7g, 6a) and six penalty minutes in 17 playoff games as the Whalers advanced to the OHL Finals.
Bayda, (5’11”, 185 lbs.) finished his freshman season with the North Dakota Fighting Sioux of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) last year. Bayda, 19, ranked fourth on the team in goals and fifth in scoring while totaling 40 points (17g, 23a) in 44 games as the Fighting Sioux captured the NCAA Championship.
Earlier in the day, Carolina acquired four-time All-Star defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh and a second round pick (32nd overall) in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft in exchange of defenseman Nolan Pratt, the Hurricanes’ first round pick (14th overall) and two second round picks (47th and 63rd) in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.
Ozolinsh, 27, completed his eighth season in the NHL last year, posting 52 points (16g, 36a) and 46 penalty minutes in 82 games. Ozolinsh (6’3”, 205 lbs.) finished tied for seventh among NHL defensemen in scoring last season and was named to start in the All-Star game for the third time in his career. He has played in a total of four All-Star games and won a Stanley Cup as a member of the 1995-96 Colorado Avalanche. During the 1996-97 season, the Riga, Lativa native was named a finalist for the Norris Trophy which recognizes the league’s top defenseman after establishing career highs in assists (45) and points (68).
Drafted by San Jose in the second round (30th overall) of the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, Ozolinsh spent four seasons with the Sharks before being traded to Colorado in exchange of Owen Nolan on October 26, 1995. Ozolinsh has totaled 368 points (115g, 253a) and 369 penalty minutes in 505 games in the NHL.