By Paul Krotz/CHL
The 2012 NHL Entry Draft is just a few days away beginning with the first round on Friday June 22 followed by rounds two through seven on Saturday June 23 in Pittsburgh. Excitement is surely building for this year’s group of prospects set to add to the CHL’s rich history of NHL Entry Draft success.
Last season in Minnesota the CHL tied a record set back in 1998 when 21 players were selected in the first round. The top three 2011 picks of Red Deer’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Kitchener’s Gabriel Landeskog, and Saint John’s Jonathan Huberdeau also matched that 1998 season when one player from each of the CHL’s three leagues were chosen in the top-three with Rimouski’s Vincent Lecavalier, Plymouth’s David Legwand, and Regina’s Brad Stuart.
The 101 CHL players selected last season was the fourth highest draft total since the event shifted to a seven-round format in 2005. That season 109 CHL Players were selected followed by 78 in 2006, 97 in 2007, 110 in 2008, 99 in 2009, and 107 in 2010.
The OHL led the way with 46 players selected in last year’s draft matching 2008 as the highest modern total along with 11 first round selections both years. 2008 however was a banner year for the OHL represented by the top four selections with Sarnia’s Steven Stamkos, Guelph’s Drew Doughty, Peterborough’s Zach Bogosian, and Niagara’s Alex Pietrangelo.
2008 was also successful for the QMJHL and WHL. The QMJHL had 27 total picks marking their highest total since 41 players in 1998 despite Jake Allen being their top pick at number 34. That year the WHL had nine first round picks led by Kelowna’s Luke Schenn chosen fifth overall which equalled 2007 as the WHL’s most successful first round.
The WHL’s most successful draft years have been 2010 and 2005 where 43 players were chosen headlined by Portland’s Ryan Johansen taken fourth overall in 2010 and Tri-City’s Carey Price taken fifth overall in 2005. Prior to this, the WHL had 66 players taken in the 11-round draft of 1994 and the 25-round draft of 1974. The 1974 draft also saw the OHL have 69 players selected among the 247 total picks including Wilf Paiement chosen number two behind Regina’s Gregory Joly.
In total since 1969 the CHL has had 4,886 players selected representing over 50% of all players drafted with 2,072 from the OHL (21.2%), 1,795 from the WHL (18.4%), and 1,019 from the QMJHL (10.4%).
The Peterborough Petes lead the CHL with 171 players selected, while the Portland Winterhawks and Saskatoon Blades each lead the WHL with 119 drafted players. In the QMJHL, the Shawinigan Cataractes are the top team with 85 drafted players. The London Knights have had five first overall draft picks including John Tavares in 2009, Patrick Kane in 2007, Rick Nash in 2002, Rob Ramage in 1979, and Rick Green in 1976.
The last five first overall selections have come from the CHL with Kane, Stamkos, Tavares, Windsor’s Taylor Hall, and Nugent-Hopkins last season.
With 146 players listed among the 245 North American Skaters and Goaltenders ranked by NHL Central Scouting for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, the CHL is poised to have another terrific year as the top supplier of talent to the NHL.
By Paul Krotz/CHL