It was a solid weekend for the Soo Greyhounds and the city of Sault Ste. Marie as the NHL draft was held in Philadelphia, PA on Friday night and throughout the day Saturday.
In total, four members of the Soo Greyhounds and three players with ties to Sault Ste. Marie had their names called by various teams.
Former Sault native Brendan Perlini led the way after being selected 12th overall by the newly named Arizona Coyotes.
After scoring 34 goals and 71 points in 58 games with the Niagara IceDogs in the 2013-14 season, Perlini said Friday night he has something to improve on as he prepares for the NHL game.
“I think I’m still filling into my body,” Perlini told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “Believe it or not, I would like to get to 215 or 220 maybe, while trying to keep my skill and my speed. That would be a pretty lethal combo.”
Centre Jared McCann was the highest drafted Greyhounds player, also hearing his name called on Friday night as he was a first round pick, 24th overall, of the Vancouver Canucks.
MCCANN (1st round)
“It’s pretty amazing and it was a special moment for me and my family,” McCann told CanucksTV. “I’m looking forward to the future with Vancouver.”
“I feel like I have one more year of playing in junior and then the next year I can step in and make a difference,” McCann told TSN’s James Duthie shortly after being drafted.
The pick was acquired by the Canucks earlier in the day from the Anaheim Ducks in a trade that sent veteran forward Ryan Kesler to California. It was the second of two first round picks the Canucks had. They used the first to select Calgary Hitmen forward Jake Virtanen at sixth overall.
Following his selection, McCann told reporters the whole event was a “learning experience.”
“I didn’t sleep very much,” McCann said of the night before round one. “It was tough but the process was a learning experience. It was good to go through.”
He also spoke highly of playing in Sault Ste. Marie.
“It’s a great place to develop and I feel like I’ve bettered myself by being there,” McCanntold reporters of playing in Sault Ste. Marie. “
Rookie goaltender Brandon Halverson was the second member of the Greyhounds to be selected as the New York Rangers took the netminder with the second-last pick of the second round.
Rangers Director, Player Personnel Gordie Clark said selecting Halverson fit their drafting philosophy at the time.
“We’ve always had the philosophy that we just don’t want to take any (goaltender) if we think he’s going to be a backup someday, we want a No. 1,” Rangers Director, Player Personnel Gordie Clark told BlueshirtsUnited.com. “In the end, (Halverson) was the best player available.”
Clark also went on to say he feels Halverson is still a ways away from being ready for the NHL level.
“(Halverson and fourth round pick Igor Shesterkin) are four, five, six years away from being at the NHL level and that fits in pretty good for us,” Clark said.
Two other Greyhounds rookies were selected on day two of the draft. Forward Michael Bunting was selected in the fourth round by the Coyotes while defenceman Kyle Jenkins joins veteran Greyhounds blueliner Tyler Ganly as a member of the Carolina Hurricanes organization.
Sault Ste. Marie native Michael Amadio was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the fourth round on Saturday.
“I can’t even put this into words,” Amadio told KingsVision. “It’s just an unbelievable feeling.”
“I didn’t know where I was going or who I was going to so it was a big waiting process in the stands,” Amadio also said.
Robby Fabbri, who has family in Sault Ste. Marie, was selected in the first round by the St. Louis Blues.
Other interesting selections include former Soo Eagles goaltender Zachary Nagelvoort. The current University of Michigan goaltender was selected in the fourth round by the Edmonton Oilers.
A pair of former Greyhounds draft picks were also selected on Saturday. Ryan Mantha, who recently had his OHL rights traded by the Greyhounds to the Niagara IceDogs, was selected by the New York Rangers in the fourth round while Anthony Angello was selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the fifth round after playing the 2013-14 season in the USHL with the Omaha Lancers.
GREYHOUNDS INVITED TO ROOKIE CAMPS
With the NHL draft complete, teams are looking ahead to prospect camps which will be held throughout the month of July.
In all, five members of the Greyhounds have been invited to camps.
Among the Greyhounds invited to camps are:
Charley Graaskamp – Anaheim
Alex Gudbranson – Minnesota
Dylan Corson – Montreal
Bryan Moore – New York Rangers
Jean Dupuy – Winnipeg
Photo: Sault Ste. Marie's Michael Amadio speaks to the media after being selected by the Los Angeles Kings. Aaron Bell/OHLImages