ST. PAUL, Minn. – After a remarkable 2010-11 season, this weekend marks one of the biggest few days in Saint John Sea Dogs franchise history.
The National Hockey League’s Entry Draft begins this evening at 8:00 pm AST with the first round being shown live on TSN. The following rounds begin tomorrow morning and can be seen on NHL Network.
Jonathan Huberdeau and Nathan Beaulieu appear to be locks for the first round tonight. Huberdeau looks poised to be a top six pick tonight while Beaulieu is likely to go somewhere in the top half of the first round. Then there is Zack Phillips and Tomas Jurco who are both projected to be selected later on in the round.
In the six-year history of the Sea Dogs, only once have they had a first round pick. That came in 2009 when the then Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins selected Simon Despres with the 30th overall pick. If this year’s draft projections prove true, there could be four Sea Dogs selected before the 30th pick.
Other Sea Dogs drafted into the NHL in the past include Felix Schutz, Alex Grant, Chris DiDomenico, Yann Sauve, Steven Anthony, Stanislav Galiev, and Stephen MacAulay. You could also throw Nick Petersen and Mike Hoffman into that mix who were both Sea Dogs property at the time they were drafted.
A few things to note:
- Huberdeau was ranked third by Central Scouting, International Scouting Services, and TSN. He was ranked fourth by Puck Prospectus and fifth by The Hockey News.
- Beaulieu was ranked fifth by Central Scouting, eighth by Puck Prospectus, 11th by TSN, 14th by ISS, and 18th by THN.
- Phillips was ranked ninth by THN, 15th by Central Scouting, 24th by Puck Prospectus, 28th by TSN, and 34th by ISS.
- Jurco was ranked 20th by Central Scouting, 25th by ISS, 28th by THN, 29th by TSN, and 35th by Puck Prospects.
- Jurco will be just the third European Sea Dog to be drafted into the NHL. Schutz and Galiev were the others.
- According to Bodog, Huberdeau has a 20/1 chance of going first overall to the Oilers.
- It’s a big draft for the province of New Brunswick. Along with all of the Sea Dogs, there is also Drummondville Voltigeurs forward Sean Couturier who will be taken early tonight.
- Huberdeau’s agent, Allan Walsh, tweeted that he would not look at or touch the Stanley Cup last night. "Allan, I don't want to look at the Cup, I want to win the Cup," said the Sea Dogs forward.
In the later rounds which begin tomorrow at the Xcel Energy Center, Aidan Kelly, Scott Oke, and Ryan Tesink are all possibilities to be selected. Joining them are former Sea Dogs defensemen Gabriel Bourret and Guillaume Cloutier.
With all of the Sea Dogs and the likes of Couturier, Phillip Danault, David Honzik, and Xavier Ouellet, this has the makings of a solid draft for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Photo Credits: Marc Henwood/Station Nation