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NHL Draft

2016 NHL Draft in review

Osmanski's selection by Sabres, historic first round for U.S. among highlights in Buffalo

by Mike G. Morreale @MikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

BUFFALO -- There were many firsts during the 2016 NHL Draft at First Niagara Center on Friday and Saturday.

The biggest, however, was when the Toronto Maple Leafs made Zurich center Auston Matthews the No. 1 pick. He is the first player raised in Arizona to be selected first.

"He's a real good player who is going to be a dominant center for the Leafs playing with or without the puck," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. "He'll be a championship-style center."

Here are 10 other notable moments from the draft:

LOCAL HERO

Mississauga defenseman Austin Osmanski received quite a surprise Saturday when he was selected in the seventh round (No. 189) by the hometown Buffalo Sabres.

The 6-foot-3, 196-pound Osmanski, who was born in East Aurora, N.Y., was No. 135 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters eligible for the draft. He is described as a shut-down defenseman with a good outlet pass off the transition. Osmanski had two goals and 10 points in 65 games in the Ontario Hockey League this season and spent 2014-15 with the Buffalo Jr. Sabres. He is a huge Sabres fan.

"I couldn't even dream of it," Osmanski said. "If you were to ask me a couple of years that this would happen, that I'd be wearing this sweater on this day, I don't think I'd even be able to give you an answer."

 

OH, CANADA

There was talk prior to the draft that a player born and raised in Canada would not be selected among the top five picks for the first time since 1999.

That proved to be incorrect when left wing Pierre-Luc Dubois of Cape Breton in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League was chosen at No. 3 by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Dubois was born in Ste-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec, the same town where Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin was born and raised.

"We did a lot of homework on him," Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. "Very seldom [do] you get a player where everything checks, where you are all excited about him on the ice, but then you go through the testing, through the interviews, and everything screamed that, yes, this is our guy."

The last time there was not a player born and raised in Canada chosen in the top five, Patrik Stefan (Czech Republic) went No. 1 to the Atlanta Thrashers, followed by Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin (Sweden) to the Vancouver Canucks, Pavel Brendl (Czech Republic) to the New York Rangers, and Tim Connolly (United States) to the New York Islanders.

 

AMERICAN MADE

Two records were set when 12 United States-born players, and nine with ties to USA Hockey's National Team Development Program, were selected in the first round Friday. The previous mark of 11 U.S.-born players in the first round was set in 2010. The most players to be selected in one draft after having played for the NTDP had been six, in 2006.

Five players selected in the first round grew up in the St. Louis area: left wing Matthew Tkachuk (No. 6, Calgary Flames), center Clayton Keller (No. 7, Arizona Coyotes), center Logan Brown (No. 11, Ottawa Senators), center Luke Kunin (No. 15, Minnesota Wild) and center Trent Frederic (No. 29, Boston Bruins).

Video: 12 Americans taken in Round 1 record

 

TOP TERRIERS

Boston University had four players or recruits selected in the first round, marking the first time since 2006 that four NCAA players or recruits (Erik Johnson, Phil Kessel, Kyle Okposo, David Fisher) from the same college (University of Minnesota) were picked in the same draft.

Right-handed shooting defenseman Charles McAvoy was the only one of the four to play with the Terriers in 2015-16; he was chosen at No. 14 by the Bruins. Penticton defenseman Dante Fabbro, also a right-hander, was selected at No. 17 by the Nashville Predators.

The two other Boston University recruits to be drafted were linemates with the NTDP Under-18 team: Keller and left wing Kieffer Bellows (No. 19, Islanders).

"I'm just happy for all those guys because I know how important the draft is to the players [in] this day and age," Boston University coach David Quinn told the school's website. "This is a moment they'll never forget, and in 48 hours it'll be back to reality and you have to be a player."

The Terriers led all NCAA schools with six players or recruits drafted over the two days.

"There's a lot more to making it to the NHL than just NHL talent," Quinn said. "I think one of the things that college hockey does a great job of is creating the work ethic, the nutrition, the mental toughness, the perseverance and being challenged every day in practice and in games."

 

FINNISH CONNECTION

For the first time in NHL Draft history, three players raised in Finland were selected among the top five. 

Right wing Patrik Laine of Tappara in Liiga went at No. 2 to the Winnipeg Jets, right wing Jesse Puljujarvi of Karpat in Liiga was picked at No. 4 by the Edmonton Oilers, and defenseman Olli Juolevi of London in the OHL was selected at No. 5 by the Canucks.

Puljujarvi was born in Alvkarleby, Sweden, but moved to Finland and played his minor hockey there. 

Four Finns were picked in the first round; the Florida Panthers selected center Henrik Borgstrom from HIFK's team in Finland's junior league at No. 23. It's the second-most Finns drafted in the first round; five were taken in 2002.

Video: Detroit Trades Datsyuk and a pick to Arizona

 

'MAGIC MAN' MOVE

Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland cleared the $7.5 million salary-cap charge of Pavel Datsyuk by trading him and the 16th pick to the Coyotes during the first round on Friday.

The Red Wings received the 20th and 53rd picks, as well as forward Joe Vitale. Arizona chose defenseman Jakob Chychrun with the 16th pick. Detroit selected defenseman Dennis Cholowski at No. 20.

Datsyuk last Saturday said he will play at home in Russia and not for the Red Wings next season. That decision left Detroit responsible for the NHL salary-cap charge associated with the final season of his three-year, $22.5 million contract.

 

BCHL WELL REPRESENTED

Three players from the British Columbia Hockey League were chosen in the first round of the draft for the first time.
Center Tyson Jost (No. 10, Colorado Avalanche) and Fabbro of Penticton, and Cholowski of Chilliwack each heard his name called Friday.

Yost and Fabbro were the first BCHL teammates selected in the first round together since 2004, when Travis Zajac was selected with the 20th pick by the New Jersey Devils and Kris Chucko went 24th to the Flames. Zajac and Chucko played for Salmon Arm.

The previous time two non-teammates were selected in the first round from the BCHL came in 2007, when Kyle Turris (Burnaby) was drafted at No. 3 by the Phoenix Coyotes and Riley Nash (Salmon Arm) was picked at No. 21 by the Oilers. Turris remains the highest draft pick out of the BCHL. 

Yost was the first BCHL player selected in the first round since Beau Bennett (Penticton) went at No. 20 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2010. Bennett was traded by the Penguins to the Devils on Saturday for a third-round pick (No. 77) in the 2016 draft.

Video: Coyotes draft D Jakob Chychrun No. 16

 

CHYCHRUN CATCHES 'WINK'

Sarnia defenseman Jakob Chychrun, No. 4 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, had a longer wait than expected in the first round. 

In the end, it was worth it. 

The Coyotes took him with the 16th pick, which they acquired in the Datsyuk trade with the Red Wings.

"It's funny, while sitting up in the stands and right after the No. 15 pick, I made eye contact with someone at the table from Arizona, and they actually gave me a wink," Chychrun wrote in his blog for NHL.com. "I figured something might be happening but didn't want to get too excited in case it didn't happen. When I reached the stage, the Coyotes management told me how much they really wanted me."

 

LONG WAIT FOR GOALIES

When the Philadelphia Flyers selected goaltender Carter Hart of Everett in the Western Hockey League in the second round (No. 48), it marked the latest the first player at the position was chosen in 30 years.

In the 1986 draft, Shawn Simpson was selected by the Washington Capitals in the third round (No. 60).

Flyers general manager Ron Hextall believes Hart has a good chance at becoming a No. 1 goaltender.

"[Goalie development coach] Brady Robinson spent time with him at the Canada camp within the last couple weeks and was really impressed by his ability, his work ethic," Hextall said. "Most importantly, the mental part of it. When referring to Hart, he kept saying 'mental, mental.'"

Hart uses the same sports psychologist as Capitals goalie Braden Holtby, John Stevenson of Zone Performance Psychology in Alberta, British Columbia.

"Goaltending is what you do, but not who you are," Stevenson said. "You must be in the moment. When you're at the rink, be at the rink. When with family, be with the family. Be 100 percent where you are at that moment."

Video: Carter Hart joins the guys live on NHL Tonight

 

AND LASTLY ...

Left wing Filip Helt (6-1, 176) of Litvinov Jr. in Czech Republic was the last player selected, going to the St. Louis Blues at No. 211.

Helt, who was not listed on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of international skaters, is hoping to follow the path of a few other prominent players chosen with the final pick.

In 2002, defenseman Jonathan Ericsson was selected at the end of the ninth round (No. 291) by the Red Wings. He has played in 478 NHL regular-season games and 76 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

In 2005, forward Patric Hornqvist was the last player chosen in the seventh round (No. 230), by the Predators. Hornqvist helped the Penguins win the Stanley Cup this season. He was traded by Nashville to Pittsburgh on June 27, 2014, and has 153 goals and 318 points in 509 regular-season games. He had nine goals and 13 points in 24 playoff games this season.

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