Chicago, IL – The Canadian Hockey League today announced that 14 CHL players were selected in the first round of the 2017 NHL Draft held Friday night at the United Center, home of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks.
The 14 CHL players represents 45% of all players selected in the draft’s opening round led by forward Nico Hischier of the Halifax Mooseheads chosen first overall by the New Jersey Devils. He was followed by second overall pick Nolan Patrick of the Brandon Wheat Kings who was selected by the Philadelphia Flyers.
Hischier’s selection marks the ninth time in the past 10 years that the Canadian Hockey League has produced the first overall pick of the NHL Draft. Hischier and Patrick are the latest 1, 2 combination from the CHL, following Aaron Ekblad (Florida Panthers/Barrie Colts) and Sam Reinhart (Buffalo Sabres/Kootenay Ice) in 2014.
“It feels unbelievable,” said Hischier, who becomes the first Swiss player to ever be taken first overall in the NHL Draft. “I was speechless there for a long time and I still can’t believe it. I hugged my mom first and I think she was crying a little bit so it was a lot of emotion. There are no words to describe this feeling.
“I didn’t know anything so it was from one second to the other.”
Selected second overall, Patrick embraced Flyers orange and looked ahead to his future home following the pick. He’ll join former Brandon Wheat Kings teammate Ivan Provorov in the City of Brotherly Love.
“I didn’t know where I was going to go, but I had a feeling I might end up in Philly and that’s a place that I’d be really excited to play. I try not to think too far ahead and I just want to enjoy the moment and take in the experience of being here.
“We’re completely different players,” Patrick said of his comparison to Hischier. “He might be a little more offensively dynamic than me and I might be a little more defensively than him.”
Hischier was one of two first round picks from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League along with defenceman Pierre-Olivier Joseph who became the highest selected player in Charlottetown Islanders history chosen 23rd overall by the Arizona Coyotes.
The Western Hockey League led the way with seven players selected in the first round of the NHL Draft which is the league’s highest total since 2014. Three of their seven picks were top-10 selections including Patrick, followed by Portland Winterhawks forward Cody Glass who became the first ever draft selection in Vegas Golden Knights history going to the expansion franchise at sixth overall. Following Glass, Tri-City Americans centreman Michael Rasmussen was chosen ninth by the Detroit Red Wings.
Kelowna Rockets blueliner Cal Foote was the first CHL defenceman selected going 14th overall to the Tampa Bay Lightning before Rasmussen’s Tri-City teammate Juuso Valimaki, a Finnish defenceman, went 16th overall to the Calgary Flames. Speedy winger Kailer Yamamoto of the Spokane Chiefs was chosen 22nd overall by the Edmonton Oilers before Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game standout Henri Jokiharju of the Portland Winterhawks was taken by the host Chicago Blackhawks at 29th overall.
With the selections of Rasmussen and Valimaki, the Tri-City Americans had two players chosen in the first round of the NHL Draft for the first time since 1996, marking the fourth time in franchise history that they’ve produced two or more first round selections.
The selections of Glass and Jokiharju give the Portland Winterhawks two first round NHL Draft selections for the first time since 2011 when Sven Baertschi (13th overall, Calgary) and Joe Morrow (23rd overall, Pittsburgh) were chosen.
The Ontario Hockey League saw five players selected in the first round led by Mississauga Steelheads winger Owen Tippett who was chosen 10th overall by the Florida Panthers. Mastercard Memorial Cup champion Gabriel Vilardi of the Windsor Spitfires followed one pick later to the Los Angeles Kings at 11th overall before Owen Sound Attack centreman Nick Suzuki was selected 13th by the Vegas Golden Knights. London Knights centreman Robert Thomas was chosen 20th overall by the St. Louis Blues while Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds forward Morgan Frost rounded out the OHL selections at 27th overall to the Philadelphia Flyers.
The selection of Thomas marks the third straight year a London Knight has been chosen in the draft’s opening round representing the CHL’s longest active streak. In 2016 the club produced three first round selections in Olli Juolevi (5th overall, Vancouver), Matthew Tkachuk (6th overall, Calgary), and Max Jones (24th, Anaheim), while Mitch Marner (4th, Toronto) was selected in 2015.
CHL Players Selected in the First Round of the 2017 NHL Draft:
(Click on a name below to watch post-draft interview)
1. Nico Hischier (Halifax Mooseheads) – New Jersey Devils
2. Nolan Patrick (Brandon Wheat Kings) – Philadelphia Flyers
6. Cody Glass (Portland Winterhawks) – Vegas Golden Knights
9. Michael Rasmussen (Tri-City Americans) – Detroit Red Wings
10. Owen Tippett (Mississauga Steelheads) – Florida Panthers
11. Gabriel Vilardi (Windsor Spitfires) – Los Angeles Kings
13. Nick Suzuki (Owen Sound Attack) – Vegas Golden Knights
14. Cal Foote (Kelowna Rockets) – Tampa Bay Lightning
16. Juuso Valimaki (Tri-City Americans) – Calgary Flames
20. Robert Thomas (London Knights) – St. Louis Blues
22. Kailer Yamamoto (Spokane Chiefs) – Edmonton Oilers
23. Pierre-Olivier Joseph (Charlottetown Islanders) – Arizona Coyotes
27. Morgan Frost (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) – Philadelphia Flyers
29. Henri Jokiharju (Portland Winterhawks) – Chicago Blackhawks
For more information on the 2017 NHL Draft including full results visit www.nhl.com.