Vancouver, B.C. – The Canadian Hockey League today announced that 13 CHL players were selected in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft held Friday. The 13 CHL players represent nearly 42% of all players selected in the opening round.
Leading the way was Saskatoon Blades centre Kirby Dach, who went third overall to the Chicago Blackhawks, while Vancouver Giants blue-liner Bowen Byram followed one selection later to the Colorado Avalanche. At seventh overall, the Buffalo Sabres called the name of Lethbridge Hurricanes centre Dylan Cozens, marking three CHLers within the Top 10 selections.
“It’s an unreal feeling and it’s hard to describe,” Dach said of being drafted by the Blackhawks. “I’m pretty excited to be going to this city. It’s an Original Six team and I get to learn from a couple guys in Jonathan Toews and Dylan Strome (Erie Otters), both centremen to mentor me. It’s going to be awesome.”
Asked if he can make the Blackhawks as soon as next season, Dach added, “As a player and a competitor, you want to play at the next level as quick as you can, so it’s obviously a goal of mine to get there.”
As for Byram, who led the WHL in playoff scoring with 26 points in 22 games, he was one of three CHL defencemen selected Friday, headlining a group that included Thomas Harley of the Mississauga Steelheads, who went 18th overall to the Dallas Stars, followed by Lassi Thomson of the Kelowna Rockets, who was chosen by the Ottawa Senators with the next selection.
Thomson was one of three CHLers taken in the teens, beginning with Winnipeg ICE centre Peyton Krebs, who went 17th overall to the Vegas Golden Knights, followed Harley, who became just the sixth defenceman taken in the 2019 NHL Draft, while Thomson rounded out the teens at No. 19.
Beginning at pick No. 24, a run on forwards saw six consecutive CHL players chosen, with Niagara IceDogs centre Philip Tomasino leading the charge in going to the Nashville Predators. The string of picks also included Connor McMichael of the London Knights, who went 25th overall to the Washington Capitals. McMichael’s selection marked the fifth-straight year in which the Knights have supplied a first-round pick into the NHL, the longest active streak in the CHL.
There were plenty of bloodlines picks Friday too, including Ryan Suzuki, the brother of J. Ross Robertson Cup champion Nick Suzuki (Guelph Storm) of the Montreal Canadiens who went with the 28th pick to the Carolina Hurricanes. Also among that group was Sherbrooke Phoenix right-wing Samuel Poulin, the son of longtime NHLer Patrick Poulin, who was drafted 21st to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Poulin was one of a pair of selections from the QMJHL alongside Moncton Wildcats left-wing Jakob Pelletier, who was chosen by the Calgary Flames at 26th overall.
At No. 27, the Tampa Bay Lightning called the name of left-wing Nolan Foote, marking the second member of the Rockets selected Friday. Foote is the son of former NHL blue-liner Adam Foote as well as the brother of Cal Foote, a Rockets alumnus who was also chosen by the Lightning in the first round two years earlier. Meanwhile, closing out the selections from the WHL was Moose Jaw Warriors freshman Brayden Tracey, who went 29th to the Anaheim Ducks after leading all WHL rookies with 81 points.
From the three CHL leagues, leading the way was the WHL, which counted seven picks, while the OHL saw four players selected and the QMJHL saw two of its players chosen.
Rounds two through seven in the 2019 NHL Draft continue Saturday from Vancouver.
CHL Players Selected in the First Round of the 2019 NHL Draft:
Click on player name below to watch NHL Draft video
3. Kirby Dach (Saskatoon Blades) – Chicago Blackhawks
4. Bowen Byram (Vancouver Giants) – Colorado Avalanche
7. Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes) – Buffalo Sabres
17. Peyton Krebs (Winnipeg ICE) – Vegas Golden Knights
18. Thomas Harley (Mississauga Steelheads) – Dallas Stars
19. Lassi Thomson (Kelowna Rockets) – Ottawa Senators
21. Samuel Poulin (Sherbrooke Phoenix) – Pittsburgh Penguins
24. Philip Tomasino (Niagara IceDogs) – Nashville Predators
25. Connor McMichael (London Knights) – Washington Capitals
26. Jakob Pelletier (Moncton Wildcats) – Calgary Flames
27. Nolan Foote (Kelowna Rockets) – Tampa Bay Lightning
28. Ryan Suzuki (Barrie Colts) – Carolina Hurricanes
29. Brayden Tracey (Moose Jaw Warriors) – Anaheim Ducks
For more information on the 2019 NHL Draft, visit nhl.com.