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Capitals' Burakovsky tops NHL picks in CHL draft

by Adam Kimelman

Andre Burakovsky, taken by the Washington Capitals with the 23rd pick of the 2013 NHL Draft, was selected Wednesday by the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League with the fifth pick of the Canadian Hockey League Import Draft.

Burakovsky, 18, had four goals and seven assists in 43 games with Malmo in Sweden's Allsvenskan, the second-highest professional league in the country. He also had team-highs of four goals and five assists in five games to help Sweden win the silver medal at the 2013 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.

At the draft, Burakovsky said he was open to playing in the CHL in 2013-14 and that he would discuss it with the Capitals and his agent.

Capitals director of amateur scouting Ross Mahoney said at the draft he wasn't concerned with where Burakovsky played in 2013-14.

"I think either situation [Sweden or the CHL] would be good for him," he said. "He'll be a year older and have a chance to play more with the men, but also playing in major junior, playing against his peers, he's going to get lots of ice time with the quality of athlete he is. Either way it's a win/win situation for him."

Erie already has one Swedish player on the roster -- goaltender Oscar Dansk, a Columbus Blue Jackets 2012 draft pick. In addition, he'd likely play on a line with 16-year-old phenom Connor McDavid, the OHL rookie of the year in 2012-13 and the early leader to be the first pick of the 2015 NHL Draft.

Burakovsky was the first NHL-drafted player selected in the two-round process used by the 60 CHL teams to determine the rights of the top European junior-age players. Each team has two slots for European players.

The first four players selected all are eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft.

Russian defenseman Dmitri Osipov was taken by the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League with the first pick. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound blueliner also was the first pick of the 2013 Kontinental Hockey League draft.

With the second pick, the Ottawa 67s of the OHL selected Finnish defenseman Alex Lintuniemi. The 6-2.75, 205-pounder had 14 points in 38 games and served as team captain for Jokerit's under-20 team. He also had two assists in seven games to help Finland win the bronze medal at the World Under-18 Championship.

At No. 3, the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League selected Russian left wing Maxim Lazarev. A 5-9, 150-pound right wing, Lazarev had nine goals and 10 assists in 32 games with Kazan in the MHL, Russia's top junior league. He also had a team-best 10 points for Russia at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

The fourth pick was Slovakian right wing David Soltes, chosen by the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL. In 19 games Kosice in Slovakia's under-20 league, the 6-foot, 183-pound forward was second on the team with 13 goals.

There were a few other NHL-drafted players selected in the first round. Slovakian right wing Matej Paulovic, a 2013 fifth-round pick of the Dallas Stars, was taken No. 8 by the Peterborough Petes of the OHL. Swedish center Jacob de la Rose, taken by the Montreal Canadiens in the second round of the draft on Sunday, was taken by the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL at No. 11. Another Stars prospect, defenseman Dmitry Sinitsyn, a 2012 seventh-round pick, was taken by the Regina Pats of the WHL at No. 16.

Swedish center Viktor Crus Rydberg, a fifth-round pick of the New York Islanders, was selected by the Plymouth Whalers with the 41st pick. Swiss right wing Fabrice Herzog, a 2013 fifth-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs, was picked at No. 42 by Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL. The Portland Winterhawks used the 60th and final pick of the first round on Swedish defenseman Anton Cederholm, a 2013 fifth-round pick of the Vancouver Canucks.

In the second round, the Kootenay Ice of the WHL used the 85th pick on Finnish left wing Artturi Lehkonen, a 2013 second-round pick of the Canadiens.

A change in the draft rules this year allowed for goaltenders only to be taken in the first round, leading to next season's ban on selecting goaltenders in the Import Draft. Only one goaltender was chosen Wednesday, with the Barrie Colts of the OHL picking Slovakian Daniel Gibl at No. 47. Gibl is eligible fore the 2014 NHL Draft.


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