25 players selected to WHL teams in 2020 CHL Import Draft

The 2020 CHL Import Draft took place online Tuesday morning with 25 players from eight nations selected by WHL teams.

66 players overall from 11 nations were selected in this year’s draft between the three leagues of the CHL.

Top picks and WHL summary

In the WHL, Calgary, Swift Current, Tri-City, Vancouver, and Winnipeg used both their picks, while Portland and Everett passed on both picks, already having two non-North American players on their rosters.

The Swift Current Broncos had the first pick among WHL teams and selected Slovakian defenseman Oliver Fatul from Tappara Tampere Jr. Last season, Fatul spent most of the year with HKM Zloven of the Slovakian professional league and scored two assists in 29 games.

WHL teams selected 20 players in the first round and five more in the second round.

The North Bay Battalion from the Ontario Hockey League kicked things off, selecting Matvei Petrov, a right winger from Russia, with the first overall pick. The Acadie-Bathurst Titan from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League then selected Czech goalie Jan Bednar with the second overall pick.

The WHL also had two more picks in the top ten. The Moose Jaw Warriors selected left winger Martin Rysavy with the sixth overall pick. Rysavy appeared in 20 games last season with HC Vitkovice, scoring seven goals and 12 assists for 19 points. At No. 9, the Tri-City Americans selected goalie Tomas Suchanek. Last year, Suchanek averaged 2.53 goals against with a .922 save percentage in 18 games for the Czech Under-16 team. He also appeared in 15 games for HC Frydek-Mistek where he posted a 2.72 GAA with an .899 save percentage. Both Suchanek and Rysavy are from the Czech Republic.

Full draft results can be found at CHL.ca.

Russia leads with 15 picks, Czech leads WHL

After the Czech Republic saw the most players drafted into the CHL in 2018 and 2019, Russia claimed the top spot this season with 15 players drafted. The Czech Republic came close behind with 13 picks, while Slovakia came in third with nine picks.

Here is the full breakdown on the number of draft picks per country:

Russia – 15

Czech Republic – 13

Slovakia – 9

Belarus – 8

Finland – 8

Switzerland – 4

Sweden – 3

Denmark – 2

Latvia – 2

Germany – 1

Slovenia – 1

Meanwhile, in the WHL, the Czech Republic led the way with seven selections, including two in the top ten overall. Slovakia came in second with five picks, while Finland had four.

Below is the WHL breakdown by country:

Position and NHL prospect summary

This year’s draft saw 38 forwards, 22 defensemen, and six goalies selected. In comparison, there were 48 forwards, 27 defensemen and six goalies selected in last year’s draft. Only 16 players out of 60 picks were taken in the second round this year.

In the WHL, 13 forwards, 10 defensemen, and two goalies were selected. Below is the full breakdown of WHL selections in the first and second rounds, including who passed on their picks.

There is also plenty of talent that could be coming to the WHL soon. Out of the 25 players selected into the WHL, six are ranked by NHL Central Scouting for the 2020 NHL Draft. Michael Krutil, chosen 24th overall by Kelowna, leads the NHL CSS rankings in the WHL from this year’s draft class at No. 27.

2020 NHL CSS Ranked Players

Pick/Team/Player/NHL CSS Ranking

3. Swift Current – Olivier Fatul – 70

18. Red Deer – Tomas Chlubna – 52

21. Seattle – Samuel Knazko – 42

24. Kelowna  – Michael Krutil – 27

56. Kamloops – Viktor Persson – 44

58. Edmonton – Janis Svanenbergs – 76

This year’s import draft also featured a pair of 2019 NHL Draft picks. With the 42nd pick, the Winnipeg ICE selected Henri Nikkanen from Finland. In last year’s NHL draft, the Winnipeg Jets selected Nikkanen in the fourth round with the 113th overall pick. Meanwhile, the Saginaw Spirit took Swedish forward Albin Grewe in the second round. Last year, the Detroit Red Wings chose Grewe in the third round in the NHL Draft.

You can read more about the WHL selections in today’s import draft here. 

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