Friday, June 26, 2015
They did managed to swing a trade, swapping out the 29th and 61st picks with the Toronto Maple Leafs to move up in the first round and select at No. 24, but there were no surprises and no lunkheads taken with either slot.
At No. 7, Hextall nabbed 18-year-old defenseman Ivan Provorov, whose first North American season was an unqualified success. The left-handed shooter compiled team highs for defensemen with 15 goals, 46 assists and 61 points over 60 games for the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Yes, it's a coincidence. Hextall was himself a Wheat King in juniors, while the second-best defenseman on the club in the 80s -- Brad McCrimmon -- was himself trained in Brandon. Adding to the serendipitous selection, is McCrimmon's brother Kelly is the Wheat Kings' current head coach.
Go ahead and acquaint yourself with the young Russian's accomplishments in the linked video.
Late in the first round, it was Travis Konecny, an 18-year-old, second-year pivot from the Ottawa 67s of the Ontario Hockey League.
Following a 70-point campaign in his first season playing for Canada's capital which netted him OHL Rookie of the Year honors, the London, ON native responded with 68 points (29G, 39A) over 60 regular-season appearances -- good enough for second in all three offensive categories.
At 5-foot-10, 175 pounds, Konecny is drawing comparisons to another smallish, competitive former Flyer in Danny Briere. Said by Hextall to possess the "heart of a lion," the youngster netted the E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence, given to a player who contributes in a significant manner to the community.
Take a gander at his season highlights by banging the link.