Tomas Jurco, a skilled European forward, was drafted by a team on Saturday that knows a thing or two about skilled European forwards.
“He’s a similar player to me,” Jurco said of Detroit Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk to the team’s website. “It’s going to be great to see what he can do on the ice and I’m just going to learn some of his moves.”
Jurco was the fifth pick of the second round and was Detroit’s first pick at the draft. Many pegged him to go in the first round, but after an up-and-down season with Saint John, he slid into the second.
“He had to take a backseat a little bit, because they had about six go-to guys,” assistant general manager Jim Nill said to the Detroit Free Press. “He kind of came in and was going to be the go-to guy, and they had a very good team, so he had to learn the team concept, which is important. And he still put up a lot of points.
“He’s been on our radar screen even last year. We kind of track under-agers, you want to see how good were they the year before, and then you keep track of them. You want to make sure they’re developing.”
The Free Press also mentions that Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant – a former Red Wing – endorsed Jurco. The Slovak credited his coach for Saint John’s successful season.
“He was a great player and he’s an even better coach,” said Jurco, of playing for the former Wing. “That’s why we were so successful, because he knew what to do with the team.”
TESINK TO THE BLUES
The Telegraph-Journal joined the 21st century this weekend by actually posting some updated news on their website. They spoke with Ryan Tesink about being selected in the sixth round by the St. Louis Blues.
“It’s awesome, I can’t describe it in words,’’ Tesink said about being drafted. “I’m very happy to be picked by them. It’s a great honour and a great opportunity.”It’s interesting to note that last year Sea Dogs forward Stephen MacAulay, who plays a similar style to Tesink, was selected by the Blues with the 164th overall pick. Tesink was picked by St. Louis with the 162nd pick.
“It’s definitely encouraging,’’ Tesink said about going to St. Louis. “They pride themselves in getting character players.’’
Unfortunately for Sea Dogs forward Scott Oke, “he has the distinction of being the highest-ranked skater on NHL Central Scouting's North American list (44th) who was not selected,” reports Buzzing The Net.
Oke has a championship ring from the MasterCard Memorial Cup and the unwanted distinction of being the highest-ranked skater on NHL Central Scouting's North American list (44th) who was not selected. The St. Lambert, Que., native played out of position in his first full major junior season since Saint John's depth pushed him to the fourth line. That didn't help his profile any, but many players get drafted even if their ice time is limited.Other Saint John skaters that were ranked but not selected include forwards Aidan Kelly (94) and Jason Cameron (124) as well as former Sea Dogs defensemen Gabriel Bourret (92) and Guillaume Cloutier (137).
The good news for Scott Oke is that it appears he has been invited to Dallas Stars rookie/development camp. Sea Dogs equipment manager David Kelly tweeted that, per their Facebook pages, Oke and defenseman Ian Saab had both earned camp invites. Saab received an invitation from the Vancouver Canucks.
Oke played in 54 games with the Dogs last season, recording five goals and five assists. He added a goal and five assists in 18 playoff games.
Saab, who was picked up by Saint John in the Lewiston Maineiacs dispersal draft, registered three goals and five assists in 46 games with the Maineiacs last year. He had two assists in 11 playoff games.
A few players from the QMJHL made Buzzing The Nets ‘all-steal squad.’ Drummondville’s Sean Couturier, Saint John’s Tomas Jurco, and Victoriaville’s beast like netminder David Honzik all made the list.
TIED FOR TOPS
The Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League finished tied with the Ontario Hockey League's Oshawa Generals for having the most drafted players from the Canadian Hockey League this year. Oshawa also had five players drafted during the opening four rounds.Saint John set the QMJHL record for the most players from one team selected in the opening round.
The total fell far short of the eight taken from the Western Hockey League's Portland Winterhawks during the 2010 Draft.
Prior to this year’s draft, only eight players in the history of the Sea Dogs had been drafted into the NHL.
In a Canadiens press release, general manager Pierre Gauthier had this to say about Nathan Beaulieu, their first round pick:
“He’s a player who plays very well under pressure,” confirmed Gauthier. “He won the Memorial Cup and he was an All-Star at the Memorial Cup tournament. It’s a very encouraging pick. We knew that at 17 there was going to be somebody very good left. This was the kind of draft where after seven or eight guys, there was still a whole long list of players who were very, very strong. We didn’t know which player it was going to be, but we’re very happy it was Mr. Beaulieu.”Beaulieu joins former Saint John netminder Robert Mayer in the Canadiens system.
“He’s one of those free-wheeling guys who wants to take charge of the game so he reminds us of PK Subban in that sense,” described Gauthier.
101 players from the Canadian Hockey League were selected this weekend and 22 of them were from the QMJHL. Five players from the Quebec League went in the first round.
"I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our players," commented QMJHL Commissioner Gilles Courteau said in a release. "The Entry Draft is a special day for our players, our clubs and our fans. It was a very positive weekend with the Canadian Hockey League demonstrating once again why it is the best development league in the world with one hundred and one players selected, including twenty-two from the QMJHL."
Here is a list of the players chosen:
Round #1HUBERDEAU PRESSER
3 – Jonathan Huberdeau (SNB) – Florida
8 – Sean Couturier (DRU) – Philadelphia
17 – Nathan Beaulieu (SNB) – Montreal
26 – Phillip Danault (VIC) – Chicago
28 – Zack Phillips (SNB) – Minnesota
35 – Tomas Jurco (SNB) – Detroit
48 – Xavier Ouellet (MTL) – Detroit
49 – Christopher Gibson (CHI) – Los Angeles
71 – David Honzik (VIC) – Vancouver
76 – Logan Shaw (CAP) – Florida
87 – Jonathan Racine (SHA) – Florida
90 – Alexandre Grenier (HAL) – Vancouver
96 – Jean-Gabriel Pageau (GAT) – Ottawa
102 – Yannick Veilleux (SHA) – St. Louis
108 – Olivier Archambault (VDO) – Montreal
135 – Troy Vance (VIC) – Dallas
136 – Samuel Noreau (BAC) – New York (R)
153 – Gabriel Beaupré (VDO) – Colorado
162 – Ryan Tesink (SNB) – St. Louis
183 – Dillon Donnelly (SHA) – Colorado
202 – Brent Andrews (HAL) – Nashville
208 – Ondrej Palat (DRU) – Tampa Bay
Jonathan Huberdeau meets the media after being selected third overall by the Florida Panthers
We can’t remember if we posted this, but here is Nathan Beaulieu speaking to the media.
PHILLIPS MEETS THE MEDIA
Drafted 28th overall by the Minnesota Wild, Sea Dogs forward Zack Phillips meets with the media.
Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher talking draft.
Wild assistant general manager Brent Flahr talking draft.
Photo Credits: Getty Images, Getty Images