Wednesday, June 27, 2012

CHL Import Draft: A Look Back

It’s Import Draft day in the Canadian Hockey League.

It is on this day that your team drafts players you have probably never heard of from teams you don’t you know from places you can’t locate on a map. Good times.

The Sea Dogs are expected to pick twice today to replace Stanislav Galiev and Tomas Jurco. Saint John currently owns picks 34, 52, and 112. The Sea Dogs have made six picks all time at the Import Draft and, if nothing changes, this will be just the second time that the franchise has picked a player not in the top five.

So let’s take a look back at the Sea Dogs’ previous European picks.

2005: 5th overall - Martin Bartos
Saint John’s first ever import pick, Bartos played just one season with Saint John, recording 11 goals and 17 assists in 43 matches. He was traded to Bathurst prior to the 2006-07 season in exchange for goaltender Maxime Joyal and a third round draft pick. Ugh.

Bartos registered 81 points with the Titan in 06-07 and another eight in the playoffs. He headed top Europe the following year.

According to Elite Prospects, he played in Austria last season and had 14 points in 13 games.

2005: 41st overall - Felix Schutz
Schutz had 52 points in 65 games during his rookie campaign with the Sea Dogs in 2005-06. He was drafted in the fourth round, 117th overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2006 NHL Draft.

Schutz registered 11 points in 18 games with the Sea Dogs during the first half of the 2006-07 season. He was traded to the Val-d’Or Foreurs during the holiday trading period for Alexandre Leduc and Bruno Desjardins.  The German had 33 points in 27 games with Val-d’Or and then added another 15 points during the Foreurs’ 20-game playoff run.

According to Elite Prospects, Schutz played in Europe in 2007-08 before heading back overseas to play with the Sabres’ American Hockey League affiliate at the time, the Portland Pirates. He played two seasons with the Pirates before returning to play in Germany.

2006: 4th overall – David Stich
A fan favourite in Saint John, the defenseman was never known for his offensive output but rather for his toughness and strong defensive play. He spent three seasons with the Sea Dogs from 2006-07 to 2008-09. He served as team captain in the second half of the 2008-09 campaign after Alex Grant was traded.

Stich didn’t turn pro after the 08-09 season despite suiting up for the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack for a few games after the Dogs were eliminated from the playoffs. He returned to junior for the 2009-10 season but the Sea Dogs had no room for him so he was traded to the Montreal Juniors.

Per Elite Prospects, he has played in the Czech Republic the last two seasons.

2007: 3rd overall - Robert Mayer
The only goaltender the Sea Dogs have ever taken in the Import Draft, Mayer played in 32 games in his rookie season in 2007-08, compiling a 16-10-1 record with a 3.77 goals against average and a 0.887 save percentage. He was mainly the backup to Travis Fullerton. He played for Switzerland at the 2008 World Juniors.

In 2008-09, Mayer was Saint John’s No. 1 ‘tender but didn’t have the greatest season. He went 26-25-4 with a 3.25 GAA and .900 save percentage. The Dogs were then swept in the first round of the playoffs. He was often criticized by then head coach Jacques Beaulieu in the media.

Mayer, who was signed by the Montreal Canadiens as a free agent after going undrafted, has spent the past three seasons in the Habs system. He won an ECHL title with the Cincinnati Cyclones in 2009-10 and has played with the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs the last two years.
2009: 1st overall – Stanislav Galiev

2009: 4th overall – Tomas Jurco

Photo Credit: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

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