East Division contenders look for gems in Import Draft

The Memorial Cup hosts were one of the busiest teams during the Canadian Hockey League’s annual import draft.

The Regina Pats selected at the end of each of the draft’s two rounds, but used both of their picks to try to replace Filip Ahl and Sergey Zborovskiy.

The Pats closed out the first round by selecting Yegor Zamula, a 2000-born defenceman who had 26 points in 36 games with the Metallurg Magnitogorsk under-17 team in Russia.

With the last of the draft’s 72 picks, the Pats selected Emil Oksanen, a 98-born left winger from Finland. Oskanen was on the Finnish under-18 team that won the IIHF worlds in 2016.

Last season, the six-foot-one, 189-pounder had 13 goals and six assists in 48 games with Espoo United in the Mestis League, the second flight of Finnish professional hockey. Two seasons ago, Oksanen had 59 points in 45 games in the Finnish under-20 league.

Oksanen was ranked 134th amongst European skaters by NHL Central Scouting for the 2017 draft and wasn’t selected.

After striking gold with Leon Draisaitl, the Prince Albert Raiders looked to Germany for another offensive-minded right winger in Dominik Bokk with the ninth overall pick.

Bokk, a six-foot-one, 161-pound 2000-born player, had 34 goals and 71 points in 41 matches with the Kölner EC under-19s.

Brandon drafted Martin Kaut from HC Dynamo Pardubice in the Czech Extraliga with the 20th selection. Kaut, a six-foot-one, 99-born right winger, played 26 games in the top men’s league in the Czech Republic last season.

Kaut also had 16 points in 22 games playing for HC Pardubice’s under-20 team.

Moose Jaw grabbed the biggest player in the draft when they selected six-foot-eight, 214-pound Russian defenceman Oleg Sosunov. The 1998-born left-handed shot was drafted in the sixth round, 178th overall, by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2016 NHL Draft.

Sosunov will join fellow Russian Dmitri Zaitsev on the Warriors blue line.

The Warriors traded Yan Khomenko to Victoria to free up an import slot at the bantam draft.

Prince Albert, Brandon and Moose Jaw each passed on their second selections.

Saskatoon and Swift Current both passed and didn’t make a selection. The Blades return defencemen Mark Rubinchik and Libor Hajek, while the Broncos have Aleksi Heponiemi and Artyom Minulin both returning.

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Matthew Gourlie

Matthew Gourlie is a freelance journalist who has covered the Western Hockey League for the past 15 years, most recently as the sport editor of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald.