It’s a day every young hockey player dreams of and for another batch of young prospects it’s finally arrived. The 2018 NHL Entry Draft gets underway June 22 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
It won’t take long for a familiar face to Barrie Colts hockey fans to hear his name called. Russian sensation Andrei Svechnikov enters this year’s draft as the NHL Central Scouting’s top ranked North American skater and it’s expected the Carolina Hurricanes will make the dynamic power forward the second pick overall.
The Buffalo Sabres, who hold this year’s top pick, will use it take standout Swedish defenceman Rasmus Dahlin.
The Ontario Hockey League’s rookie of the year, Svechnikov arrived in Barrie with plenty of hype and the six-foot-two, 192-pound power forward delivered on those big expectations. The native of Barnaul, Russia led all OHL rookies with 40 goals and 72 points in just 44 games. He averaged 1.65 points per game, tops among rookies and fifth overall in the league. A hand injury in mid-October forced Barrie’s first overall pick in the 2018 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft to miss six weeks of action along with suiting up for Russia at two international tournaments, including the World Junior Hockey Championships. He would miss 24 games in total.
Barrie native Jacob Ingham, 18, enters this year’s draft ranked 13th among North American goaltenders on the NHL scouting list. The second-year Mississauga Steelheads netminder got into 43 games this season, recording a 3.44 goals against average (GAA) and .880 save percentage. The six-foot-four, 191-pound Ingham was Mississauga’s second-round pick (26th overall) in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection.
Ingham’s Barrie Colts triple-A minor midget teammate Connor Corcoran is No. 123 in the NHL scouting rankings. The Spitfires second-year defenceman and Beeton native had three goals and 24 points in 63 games this season with Windsor. The six-foot-two, 185-pounder helped Windsor win a Memorial Cup as a rookie in 2017, splitting time on the ice between the blue line and up on the wing.
After Svechnikov, the player with a local connection most likely to hear his name called is Jack McBain. A first-round pick (20th overall) of the Barrie Colts in the 2016 OHL draft, the six-foot-three, 201-pound centre decided not to sign with the Colts and has committed to play for Boston College this upcoming season. The Toronto native, who is the son of former Winnipeg Jets forward Andrew McBain, played with the Toronto Jr. Canadiens this season where he received the Ontario Junior Hockey League top prospect award and was named OJHL first team all-prospect after scoring 21 times and adding 37 assists in 58 games.
Blue liner Joey Keane is coming off a breakout year last season with the Barrie Colts and is ranked No. 111 by NHL scouting. The six-foot, 180-pound Chicago native had 12 goals and 44 points in 62 games and was among the league leaders in plus/minus with a plus 45.
Keane’s Barrie teammate and fellow defender Tyler Tucker is No. 171 on the NHL scouting list. The rugged second-year point man was Barrie’s 14th overall pick in the 2016 OHL draft. The six-foot-one, 204-pounder had three goals and 20 assists in 59 games and is considered among the best bodycheckers in the OHL.
Other names familiar to Barrie fans who could be selected in this weekend’s draft include former Barrie Colts triple-A minor midget player and Flint Firebirds defender Denis Busby, who missed almost all of last season after injuring his clavicle just two games in.
Former Barrie Colts goaltender Christian Propp, who was dealt last year to the North Bay Battalion, is No. 11 on the NHL scouting list for North American goaltenders, while former Colt and current Sudbury Wolves winger Kirill Nizhnikov could be a late pick.
Collingwood native and Oshawa Generals centre Allan McShane is No. 50 on the NHL scouting rankings.
Seen here, Barrie native Jacob Ingham is hoping to hear his name called June 22 at the NHL Entry Draft. Terry Wilson/OHL Images photo