Friday saw a pair of Soo Greyhounds move one step closer to their dreams of playing in the National Hockey League.
On day two of the NHL Entry Draft in Montreal, forward Bryce McConnell-Barker and defenceman Kirill Kudryavtsev had their names called by NHL clubs.
Coming off his rookie season with the team, McConnell-Barker was selected by the New York Rangers in the third round, 97th overall, while Kudryavtsev was selected by the Vancouver Canucks in the seventh round, 208th overall.
“It feels incredible,” McConnell-Barker said during a media availability with the Rangers. “It’s a great city. The building is unbelievable, and the fans are electric. I couldn’t be happier right now.”
A first-round pick by the Greyhounds in the 2020 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection, McConnell-Barker scored 23 goals and 49 points in 68 games in 2021-22.
Kudryavtsev, selected by the Greyhounds in the 2021 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft, also played in all 68 games with the team in 2021-22, scoring five goals and 39 points.
“He did a great job coming over and really establishing himself,” Greyhounds general manager Kyle Raftis said. “When you look at the blueline that he came into, for him to constantly carve out minutes, he’s such a smart player with a great stick and his defending really took a step (in the second half). A lot of times when a European defenceman comes over, it takes a little bit of time to adjust. He made some great adjustments.”
The Russian blue-liner spent much of the season playing on the top two defence pairings with the Greyhounds.
Julian Lutz, selected by the Greyhounds in the 2021 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft, was also selected on Friday.
The Arizona Coyotes selected the German forward in the second round, 43rd overall.
Asked about Lutz following the latest import draft, held late last week, Raftis said he has had discussions with Lutz since the draft and the door isn’t closed on 18-year-old potentially joining the team.
A pair of players selected by the Greyhounds in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection were selected by NHL clubs on Friday.
The Winnipeg Jets selected forward Rutger McGroarty in the first round, 14th overall.
McGroarty was a fourth round pick by the Greyhounds and is committed to play NCAA hockey at the University of Michigan. When drafted by the Greyhounds, the young forward was committed to play at Notre Dame before decommitting and committing to Michigan instead.
Goaltender Tyler Muszelik was picked in the sixth round, 189th overall, by the Florida Panthers.
Committed to play college hockey at New Hampshire beginning in the fall of 2023, Muszelik was selected in the 15th round of the 2020 draft by the Greyhounds.
McGroarty and Muszelik were teammates the past two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program.