After contributing to a record-setting performance this past season, six members of the Owen Sound Attack were chosen in the 2017 NHL Draft, the most by any team in the Canadian Hockey League.
Nick Suzuki (13th overall, Vegas), Jonah Gadjovich (55th overall, Vancouver), Maksim Sushko (107th overall, Philadelphia), Markus Phillips (118th overall, Los Angeles), Trenton Bourque (175th overall, St. Louis) and Petrus Palmu (181st overall, Vancouver) all played a part in Owen Sound’s franchise record 102 point season.
The Bears finished with a 49-15-2-2 record in a highly competitive Western Conference, reaching the conference final before meeting their end at the hands of the eventual OHL champion Erie Otters.
The Attack were led by CHL Coach of the Year Ryan McGill who recently took an assistant coaching position with the Vegas Golden Knights. McGill’s influence was felt by the entire team.
“Ryan has had a big influence on my career,” said Suzuki, a 45-goal, 96-point scorer who also joins the expansion Golden Knights after being chosen 13th overall. “Both he and assistant coach Alan Letang have helped me a lot, whether that’s on the ice with the little things or off the ice as well.”
Suzuki becomes the highest drafted member of the Attack since Bobby Ryan went second overall to the Anaheim Ducks in 2005. The 17-year-old was the recipient of the William Hanley Trophy as the OHL’s Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year before also earning BRP Sportsman of the Year honours from the CHL.
Increasing his goal output from 14 in 2015-16 to 46 this past season, Vancouver Canucks second round pick Jonah Gadjovich was quick to credit general manager Dale DeGray for his role in Owen Sound’s success.
“I think we have a really bright future,” said the 6-foot-2, 200Ib. Gadjovich who is known for his power game and ability to finish around the net. “Dale has kept this organization competitive and has us as a contender again.”
An example of DeGray’s excellent management came in the selection of Maksim Sushko in the 2016 CHL Import Draft. The Belarusian forward recorded 32 points (17-15–32) in 54 games as a rookie and was chosen in the fourth round by the Philadelphia Flyers.
A former first round (9th overall) pick by the Attack in the 2015 OHL Priority Selection, defenceman Markus Phillips followed 11 picks later, going 118th overall to the Los Angeles Kings.
Phillips, who has been prominent on the radar of Hockey Canada after representing his country in the World Under-18 Hockey Championship and Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, wasn’t sure what to expect entering the big day.
“I had no idea where I was going,” he said with a laugh. “Los Angeles is a great organization and it’s a nice city too, so I’ll enjoy the warm weather.
“We have Jake Friend and Matt Schmalz both in the LA system,” Phillips continued, citing the organizational ties. “Mike Futa (Assistant GM) and Brian Denney (Ontario Amateur Scout) both came through Owen Sound too, so there’s good connections.”
Stay-at-home blueliner Trenton Bourque was chosen 175th overall by the St. Louis Blues before Finnish sniper Petrus Palmu, who led the club with 98 points (40-58–98) in 62 games was scooped up 181st overall by the Vancouver Canucks.
While they may have to fill potential gaps left by Palmu, CHL Goaltender of the Year Michael McNiven and captain Santino Centorame, the likely return of Suzuki, Gadjovich, Sushko, Kevin Hancock and overage eligible Ethan Szypula will have the Attack firing on all cylinders under new head coach Todd Gill in 2017-18.
OHL Players Selected in the 2017 NHL Draft:
(Click on a player to watch post-draft interview)
First Round (5 OHL Players):
10. Owen Tippett (Mississauga Steelheads) – Florida Panthers
11. Gabriel Vilardi (Windsor Spitfires) – Los Angeles Kings
13. Nick Suzuki (Owen Sound Attack) – Vegas Golden Knights
20. Robert Thomas (London Knights) – St. Louis Blues
27. Morgan Frost (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) – Philadelphia Flyers
Second Round (8 OHL Players):
32. Connor Timmins (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) – Colorado Avalanche
34. Nicolas Hague (Mississauga Steelheads) – Vegas Golden Knights
35. Isaac Ratcliffe (Guelph Storm) – Philadelphia Flyers
39. Jason Robertson (Kingston Frontenacs) – Dallas Stars
47. Alex Formenton (London Knights) – Ottawa Senators
53. Jack Studnicka (Oshawa Generals) – Boston Bruins
55. Jonah Gadjovich (Owen Sound Attack) – Vancouver Canucks
59. Eemeli Rasanen (Kingston Frontenacs) – Toronto Maple Leafs
Third Round (7 OHL Players):
64. Michael DiPietro (Windsor Spitfires) – Vancouver Canucks
69. MacKenzie Entwistle (Hamilton Bulldogs) – Arizona Coyotes
72. Matthew Villalta (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) – Los Angeles Kings
75. Nate Schnarr (Guelph Storm) – Arizona Coyotes
83. Zach Gallant (Peterborough Petes) – Detroit Red Wings
84. Dmitri Samorukov (Guelph Storm) – Edmonton Oilers
85. Ivan Lodnia (Erie Otters) – Minnesota Wild
Fourth Round (7 OHL Players):
101. Liam Hawel (Guelph Storm) – Dallas Stars
106. Matthew Strome (Hamilton Bulldogs) – Philadelphia Flyers
107. Maksim Sushko (Owen Sound Attack) – Philadelphia Flyers
108. Noel Hoefenmayer (Ottawa 67’s) – Arizona Coyotes
109. Adam Ruzicka (Sarnia Sting) – Calgary Flames
118. Markus Phillips (Owen Sound Attack) – Los Angeles Kings
123. Brandon Crawley (London Knights) – New York Rangers
Fifth Round (6 OHL Players):
131. Cole Fraser (Peterborough Petes) – Detroit Red Wings
138. Drake Rymsha (Sarnia Sting) – Los Angeles Kings
141. Fedor Gordeev (Flint Firebirds) – Toronto Maple Leafs
143. Marian Studenic (Hamilton Bulldogs) – New Jersey Devils
146. Kirill Maksimov (Niagara IceDogs) – Edmonton Oilers
147. Jacob Golden (London Knights) – Minnesota Wild
Sixth Round (5 OHL Players):
164. Reilly Webb (Hamilton Bulldogs) – Detroit Red Wings
172. Ryan McGregor (Sarnia Sting) – Toronto Maple Leafs
175. Trenton Bourque (Owen Sound Attack) – St. Louis Blues
181. Petrus Palmu (Owen Sound Attack) – Vancouver Canucks
185. Sasha Chmelevski (Ottawa 67’s) – San Jose Sharks
Seventh Round (4 OHL Players):
188. Matt Brassard (Oshawa Generals) – Vancouver Canucks
189. Ben Jones (Niagara IceDogs) – Vegas Golden Knights
193. Brady Gilmour (Saginaw Spirit) – Detroit Red Wings
216. Jacob Paquette (Kingston Frontenacs) – Nashville Predators