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Greyhounds hope Swedish forward could be good fit

'He's got a lot of potential,' - Greyhounds general manager Kyle Raftis on Swedish forward Noel Nordh
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Like a lot of teams over the years, the Soo Greyhounds history in the Canadian Hockey League Import Draft has had its shares of ups and downs.

The annual draft has yielded the likes of defenceman Rasmus Sandin, now of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who was a key contributor on the 2017-18 Greyhounds team that went to the Ontario Hockey League final; as well as current defenceman Kirill Kudryavtsev, who is coming off s solid rookie season with the club.

The draft has also seen players who have spent limited time with the club before moving on, as was the case with the likes of Roman Pucek or Makar Tokarev, players who played limited roles with the team in their lone seasons in Northern Ontario.

With Kudryavtsev in the mix already for the 2022-23 Ontario Hockey League season, the Greyhounds added Swedish forward Noel Nordh on Friday, selecting the 2005-born winger 44th overall in the Import Draft.

A 6-1, 187-pound winger, Greyhounds general manager Kyle Raftis spoke of Nordh checking a lot of boxes.

“He’s got a lot of potential,” Raftis said. “He fits in well with our core group and where our team is headed. He gives us some size, but he’s a player that has skill and has all those other attributes.”

Raftis said Nordh’s current situation in Sweden allows for the possibility of the young forward coming to North American to play.

“He’s in a situation in Sweden where there’s the potential for him to make a switch for us and that’s why we decided to take that shot,” Raftis said.

With the ongoing situation involving Russia and Ukraine, the CHL announced well ahead of the draft that players from Russia and Belarus would not be up for selection in the 60-team draft.

The few players from either country that were selected were players who were already playing in North America or, in the case of Russian Ivan Miroshnichenko, were selected in last year’s Import Draft. Those were the lone players from either country eligible.

For the Greyhounds, the rules meant entering the draft with a slightly different plan with the talent pool very different from what it had been in past years.

“We had a couple of different plans going into it,” Raftis said. “With the talent pool shrinking like that, it gave us a little bit of flexibility.”

“It forced some teams to roll the dice,” Raftis also said of the rules. “For a lot of teams, instead of just taking someone that’s going to be okay, there were a lot more teams swinging for the fences.”

Julian Lutz, who was the Greyhounds second selection in the 2021 Import Draft also remains on the Greyhounds list heading into the season.

Raftis said Saturday that he has spoken with Lutz and his agent and the door hasn’t closed on the OHL being a possibility for the German winger as well.

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Brad Coccimiglio

About the Author: Brad Coccimiglio

A graduate of Loyalist College’s Sports Journalism program, Brad Coccimiglio’s work has appeared in The Hockey News as well as online at FoxSports.com in addition to regular freelance work with SooToday before joining the team full time.
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