Part of the reason I love the NHL Entry Draft so much is getting to hear about the interesting journey these kids took to get here. Although this is not the final destination for the players drafted, it is an important milestone on their journey. I’ve consolidated some audio from some of the more interesting stories I heard at the draft.
Cam York (USA) 1st Round #14 Overall | US NTDP
Philadelphia Flyers | Defense
Why is he interesting? Cam York is a member of the US National Team Development Program. As best as I can tell, Cam is the highest first round hockey player that was born and trained in California, a non-traditional hockey market. He did not come from a hockey family, but got into hockey by way of roller hockey.
Alex Newhook (CAN) 1st Round 1 #16 Overall | Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL)
Colorado Avalanche | Center
Why is he interesting? The traditional path for elite Canadian hockey players is to play Major Junior (WHL, OHL, or QMJHL). Alex instead decided to play in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL), a junior A level league, to keep his NCAA eligibility. He then committed to attending and playing at Boston College this the fall. (In hockey, players retain their NCAA eligibility even after they are drafted into the NHL, provided they don’t sign a professional contract.) Another interesting item of note is that he is actually from Newfoundland, Canada and chose to move to Victoria, BC for hockey for the last two years. Alex had 102 points in 53 games for the Grizzlies.
Ryan Johnson (USA) 1st Round #31 Overall | Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)
Buffalo Sabres | Defense
Why is he interesting? Johnson was the last player selected in the 1st round. He was the second Californian native selected in Round 1 and grew up playing with #14 overall Cam York. He is committed to the University of Minnesota, where his father, Craig Johnson, played in college.
Alex Vlasic (USA) 2nd Round #41 Overall | US NTDP
Chicago Blackhawks | Defense
Why is he interesting? Another NTDP player. Alex is from Illinois and was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks, but he actual grew up a San Jose Sharks fan. His cousin, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, has played the last 13 years with the San Jose Sharks. He is headed to Boston University next year with several of his teammates from the NTDP. Make sure you stick through the end to hear why he doesn’t speak any French.
Adam Beckman (CAN) 3rd Round #75 Overall |Spokane Chiefs (WHL)
Minnesota Wild | Center
Why is he interesting? Adam played the last season with Spokane, so has the local connection. The interview was just fun and insightful. Seems like a great kid and certainly someone I will be rooting for next season and beyond.
Layton Ahac (CAN) 3rd Round #86 Overall | Prince George Spruce Kings (BCHL)
Vegas Golden Knights | Defense
Why is he interesting? Layton was drafted by the Seattle Thunderbirds back in <year??>, but chose to play in the BCHL to keep his NCAA eligibility. He has committed to Ohio State next year.
Ethan Phillips (CAN) 4th Round #97 Overall | Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)
Detroit Red Wings | Center
Why is he interesting? Phillips is Canadian, but chose to go to a US academy for high school that focused on hockey for the last 3 years. He then went the NCAA route vs. the traditional CHL/Major Junior route for elite Canadian hockey players. Next year he will play for Boston University.
Henrik Rybinski (CAN) 5th Round #136 Overall | Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)
Florida Panthers | Forward
Why is he interesting? Rybinski started the 18-19 season at Medicine Hat in the WHL, left the team, and was eventually traded. Once he got to Seattle, his season took off. He averaged over a point per game with Seattle. He wasn’t planning on attending the draft because he had a driving test. Fortunately he lives in Vancouver and eventually made it to the draft event when his agent phoned him up to let him know he was drafted. Really fun interview from a kid who seemed to appreciate every opportunity he was given in Seattle.
Marshall Warren (USA) 6th Round #166 Overall | US NTDP
Minnesota Wild | Defense
Why is he interesting? He grew up on Long Island and is committed to Boston College next season. Started figure skating at 3 years old, but switched over to hockey after a couple years. This kid was holding court with the media and had a smile ear to ear when answering the questions.
Dustin Wolf (USA) 7th Round #214 overall | Everett Silvertips (WHL)
Calgary Flames | Goalie
Why is he interesting? Wolf is currently a Everett Silvertip. He came from California, a non-traditional hockey market, and went the non-traditional route for an American stand out goalie by opting for the WHL instead of the NCAA route. The knock-on Wolf has been his size. He was the last goalie selected in the last round of the draft. He’s an underdog, but with numbers like he’s been throwing up in Everett, someone was bound to give him a shot.