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Welcome Potential New Knights!

June 30, 2012

The 2012 CHL Import Draft was held 27 June – Per league rules, each team can carry two import players each season. Teams can trade or pass on their picks at any given time. Depending on their situations, teams have been seen to pass on their picks due to the expectation of retaining existing import players.

While the Knights didn’t trade all the way up to the top of the draft like last year, they did grab the 9th overall pick from Peterborough in exchange for their 2nd round pick in the 2013 OHL Draft, their 4th round pick in the 2014 and their 7th round pick in 2015. Strange as it may seem – these late round, future year draft picks are often in play in junior trades. Unlike the NHL, these draft picks seem to be actually valued, although in the same sense – they are valuable in name only (see the recent Jonas Gustavsson to Winnipeg for a 7th rd pick in 2013 trade).

The sense around the league was that London was looking for some insurance against the possible loss of star goalie, Michael Houser. Houser, while undrafted again this year, is set to attend either of the Florida Panthers or Winnipeg Jets’ prospect camps on a try-out basis.  Given his situation as an over-ager, there is a chance House may have played his last game as a Knight.  Oscar Dansk (2nd rd, 31st overall, Columbus Blue Jackets) and Andrei Vasilevski (1st rd, 19th overall, Tampa Bay Lightning) were seen to be the likely targets.

With Dale Hunter back behind the bench, Mark Hunter was back at his GM best. Neither of the top goalies was available, so the Knights selected big defenceman Nikita Zadorov from Russia (Moscow CSKA Red Army). With captain Jarred Tinordi off to Montreal to start his professional career, a big bruising defenceman to clear the crease was another need crossed off the list – if he decides to report to London.

You know the Hunters have done their homework with respect to import picks and are confident that being Russian won’t be a deterrent with respect to the chances of their picks reporting to the OHL when they selected Russian winger Nikolai Prokhorkin (4th rd, Los Angeles Kings) at #58. Prokhorkin is hoped to replace some of the offence that could be lost with Austin Watson, Greg McKegg, Vladislav Namestnikov and Jared Knight off to pro camps as well.

As noted by John Matisz of Metro – 15 regulars from the Knights’ roster are off to NHL camps this fall.  Since the OHL season starts prior to the NHL regular season and there is always the chance of 10-game trials, this means a good chunk of the team that reached the final of the Memorial Cup this year, will potentially be absent when the Knights start the defence of their OHL title.

To help fill those holes in the line-up, the Knights added forward Adam Restoule (19) from Sudbury for a 2015 12th rd pick and youngster Mike McCarron (17), also a forward, from the Belleville Bulls for a 5th rd pick in 2015. The McCarron deal has 3 conditional picks – 2nd rd 2015, 2nd rd in 2017 and 2nd rd in 2018 going to Belleville if McCarron reports to the Knights.The budding power forward is a 2011 Belleville pick out of the US NTDP that was committed to Michigan State, but according to Mark Hunter, will bypass the NCAA to head to the OHL.  This isn’t the first time the Hunters have been able to convince a NCAA commit to come to London, but I hope he’s worth all those high draft picks if he does.

Restoule split time between Plymouth and Sudbury in 2011/12 and appears to be a role player, possibly brought in for some toughness to go alongside the young skill currently bolstering the Knights.

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