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CHL Import Draft – who is drafting and what do they need?

Brandon Wheat Kings:

Daniel Bukac (D) – 1999 – drafted in 2016.

With the losses of Evan Weinger and Ty Lewis up front they could use an impact forward that could play in their top-six. The Wheat Kings will select twice at the import draft, meaning that Bukac has been released from the team. Martin Kaut, who was not with the team in 2017-18 was selected in the first round of the NHL Draft meaning that the Wheat Kings can draft twice while still retaining Kaut’s rights.

Calgary Hitmen:

Vladislav Yeryomenko (D) – 1999 – drafted in 2017.

Egor Zamula (D) – 2000 – drafted in 2017 by Regina and then claimed off of waivers by Calgary.

With two talented blue liners in the fold already, Calgary has decided to pass on their selections at the Import Draft.

Edmonton Oil Kings

Andrei Pavlenko (RW) – 2000 – drafted in 2017.

Tomas Soustal was the other import on the roster last year and he aged out of the WHL. In order to make room for him, Edmonton waived Artyom Baltruk and he cleared waivers. They will make one pick and they could use a talented forward up front since they lose two of their top three scorers in 2017-18 in Soustal and Colton Kehler.

Everett Silvertips 

Martin Fasko-Rudas (LW) – 2000 – drafted in 2017.

The defending Western Conference champions lose Ondrej Vala to the pro ranks so they will make one selection in the draft. Fasko-Rudas seems primed for a big year after breaking out in the long Silvertips postseason run. They lose six of their top eight scorers from last year so I could see them bringing in a forward. Do not be surprised if he is on the younger end of things.

Kamloops Blazers

After dealing away Vala and releasing Justin Sigrist, Kamloops has no imports coming back. They can thus make two selections. New general manager Matt Bardsley may be able to carry some ties in Europe from Portland’s successful run while he was there and land a big fish or two. There is quite a bit of talent on the roster and adding both a forward and a d-man from Europe could really add what they need to not only make it back to the playoffs, but make it further than they have been in quite some time.

Kelowna Rockets

Libor Zabransky (D) – 2000 – drafted in 2017.

Marek Skvrne chose not to come back to the Rockets, so they will be making one choice in the draft. With so much talent leaving the roster, they could really use a play maker.

Kootenay ICE

Martin Bodak (D) – 1998 – drafted in 2017.

Gilian Kohler (LW) – 2000 – drafted in 2017.

Bodak improved as the year went on last season but bringing him back would mean he takes up two spots on the roster. There are no real slam dunks for overage spots though so it certainly would not be shocking if he came back. Another possible outcome is that Bodak impresses enough at Development Camp for the Vegas Golden Knights that he gets a contract and plays his 20-year-old year in the AHL.

Kohler was expected to be more productive as a rookie but the flashes of talent that he did show hint at a possible breakout season – his second in North America. Because Bodak is an overage, the ICE will make one pick and allow themselves another option if Bodak goes pro.

Lethbridge Hurricanes

Igor Merezhko (D) – 1998 – drafted in 2016.

So far Merezhko has not gotten an invite to a Development Camp. I wonder if he does not see much opportunity to play professionally here, he decides to pursue a pro deal back in Europe. It certainly looks like Merezhko could earn two spots on a team that could use the big blue liner. Having a veteran of two trips to the Eastern Conference final certainly would not hurt.

Because he is an overager though, the Hurricanes will make two selections. The reason the other spot is open is because forward Egor Zudilov is not coming back.

Medicine Hat Tigers 

Linus Nassen (D) – 1998 – drafted in 2017.

With Kristians Rubins taking up two spots as an import and overage player, the Tigers are no stranger to using two spots on a d-man. Nassen was drafted by Florida and could easily play in the AHL. The Tigers will draft twice and roll the dice to see if Nassen comes back.

Moose Jaw Warriors

Oleg Sosunov (D) – 1998 – drafted in 2017, signed by Tampa Bay.

Dmitri Zaitsev (D) – 1998 – drafted in 2016.

The Warriors can and will draft twice on Thursday. Sosunov has signed with Tampa Bay and will play in this year. Zaitsev was not signed by Washington and became a free agent.

Portland Winterhawks

Joachim Blichfeld (RW) – 1998 – drafted in 2016, signed by San Jose.

Henri Jokiharju (D) – 1999 – drafted in 2016, signed by Chicago.

Blichfeld will play in the AHL this year and it is still up in the air whether Jokiharju can do that as well. With Jokiharju being a first round pick though, Portland can make two picks in the draft and will. They picked Samuel Fagemo last season and rumors were flying around saying that the Winterhawks had found a loophole that allowed them to keep him and Blichfeld and Jokiharju. It does not seem those rumors were true. There is not another team with a better recent history of imports and it would not be shocking to see them land another couple of extremely talented Euros. Portland will select twice in the import draft.

Prince Albert Raiders

Sergei Sapego (D) – 1999 – acquired via import waivers from Tri-City.

Vojtech Budik (D) – 1998 – drafted in 2015.

The Raiders swung for the fences last year and tried to bring in German-born Domink Bokk. He did not come over and was still taken in the first round of this year’s draft by St Louis. They kept a spot open for a bit until they scooped up Sapego. Budik was drafted by Buffalo in 2016 but was not signed and is not a free agent. P.A. will make a pick since he is an overage but they may be happy with bringing him back to take up two spots.

Prince George Cougars

Vladislav Mikhalchuk (RW) – 1999 – drafted in 2017.

The Cougars will make one selection in the 2018 import draft. It would not be surprising to see them bring in a defenseman with some offensive flair if they are able to unearth one. Mikhalchuk made steady improvements throughout the season and will be back with the team for training camp.

Red Deer Rebels

Kristian Reichel (C) – 1998 – drafted in 2017.

Alexander Alexeyev (D) – 1999 – drafted in 2016.

The Rebels have an interesting situation at hand in that they can actually draft two players this season and with the 17th and 77th overall picks, could be poised to bring in a couple of fresh faces. This is because Alexeyev was drafted in the first round by the NHL’s Washington Capitals and Reichel being 20-years-old. Red Deer does not expect that Reichel will be back but they do expect to see Alexeyev back sometime shortly after the beginning of the regular season. Red Deer will make two selections at the import draft.

Regina Pats

Libor Hajek (D) – 1998 – drafted in 2015, signed by New York Rangers

Regina is going to be looking to add two imports as it is virtually a lock that Hajek will be playing professionally in the Rangers organization. The Pats tend to go the route of one defense and one forward with their import picks but they will be looking to replace a lot of offense lost after being the hosts of the Memorial Cup. The Regina Pats will use both of their selections.

Saskatoon Blades

With Mark Rubinchik signing a deal overseas, the Blades will use both their import picks in the up coming draft. Don’t be surprised to see them pick a forward and a defenseman.

Seattle Thunderbirds

The Thunderbirds announced on June 26th that they will be making two import picks in the draft. Sami Moilanen has signed with Tappara of the Finnish Liiga and will not return to the team. 2000-born Nikita Malukhin was released from the team.

Spokane Chiefs

Filip Kral (D) – 1999 – drafted in 2017

Spokane announced today that they released Milos Fafrak and therefore will make one selection at the Import Draft.

Swift Current Broncos

Artyom Minulin (D) – 1998 – drafted in 2015

Swift Current is wise to be selecting twice in the import draft and bringing the players over for camp and see what they have. The team is going to need to fill a lot of positions after their run to the WHL Championship and will have a plethora of ’98 born players on the team that will need to be moved around or released. A tough decision will remain once all three players are in camp in August.

Tri-City Americans

Roman Kalinichenko (D) – 2000 – drafted in 2017

A young defenseman on a team that will still have a decent squad to head into the season with, the Americans will only need to use their first round pick at the import draft. Jusso Valimaki will be playing in a professional league as a 20-year-old.

Vancouver Giants

Milos Roman (C) – 1999 – drafted in 2017

Yannik Valenti (RW) – 2000 – drafted in 2017.

After riding out the season with just one import, the Giants had another diamond in the rough with Roman. They then signed Yannik Valenti from Germany in the off-season, he was their second round pick in the 2017 import draft and thus will not select an import in the draft.

Victoria Royals

Igor Martynov (LW) – 1999 – drafted in 2017

Andrei Grishakov (LW) – 1999 – drafted in 2016

Despite the fact both players are listed on the roster and no announcement has been made by the Royals, they will select an import.

While we strive to ensure all information is accurate, some of the information may have changed since this post was released.

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