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Flint Firebirds 2018 NHL Draft Central

Flint Firebirds NHL Draft OHL HockeyA record five Flint Firebirds are listed in NHL Central Scouting’s ‘Final Rankings’ for the 2018 NHL Draft, which takes place this Friday, June 22nd and Saturday, June 23rd at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.

National television coverage for the first round begins Friday at 7 p.m. (ET) on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) in the United States, Sportsnet in Canada, and in French on TVA Sports in Canada. International radio coverage begins at 3 p.m. (ET) on SiriusXM NHL Network, Channel 91. Coverage of rounds 2-7 begins Saturday morning at 11 a.m. (ET) on the NHL Network in the United States and on Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada.

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With 31 teams in the NHL, Flint’s Ty Dellandrea was the highest Flint Firebird recognized, listed at #25 among all North American skaters eligible for the draft. Connor Roberts (#146), Hunter Holmes (#148) and Riley McCourt (#161) were also listed in the final rankings, while Dennis Busby was one of three players labeled LV for ‘limited viewing’ due to a season long injury this campaign. Additionally Ryan Littlejohn and Jack Wismer are also two first time eligible players to be selected in the NHL Draft.
Flint Firebirds' Forward Ty Dellandrea is ranked #25 among North American Skaters to be selected in the NHL Draft.
Flint Firebirds’ Forward Ty Dellandrea is ranked #25 among North American Skaters to be selected in the NHL Draft.

“Having five Firebirds’ recognized by NHL Central Scouting is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the players,” said Flint Firebirds Vice President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Barclay Branch. “It’s a strong reflection of the Firebirds’ program and our commitment to player development.”

For the past five seasons, the OHL has sent more players to the NHL than any other league in the world. The OHL leads in total players selected in the NHL Draft (199), first and second round selections combined (76), defenseman (66) and forwards (122). On NHL opening day rosters in October, one-in-four players (26.4%) competing in the NHL were alums of the OHL, which is the highest percentage in the world. (See Info Graphic Here)

120 of the organization’s alums dating back to the Plymouth Whalers have been drafted in the NHL, including 17 first-round picks. However, Ty Dellandrea has the opportunity to become the first Flint Firebird to be selected in the first round of an NHL Draft. Most recently, Fedor Gordeev was selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the fifth round, 141st overall of the 2017 NHL Draft last June (Read More).

At least one player with Flint or Plymouth ties has been selected in the NHL Draft for the past 27 consecutive years dating back to 1991.

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Connor Roberts, Hunter Holmes and Riley McCourt all completed the 2017-18 season by increasing their point-production from a year ago. Roberts finished third on the Firebirds’ roster with 35 points (18G, 17A) in 66 games throughout the 2017-18 season. Holmes posted seven more points (11G, 9A, 20P) in 27 less games from a season ago and McCourt tallied 13 points in 30 games after being acquired in a trade in January.

Despite only playing in two games throughout the 68-game season, Dennis Busby is eligible to be selected in the NHL Draft this weekend as well. However, being selected in the Draft is not the only way to the NHL. Former Firebirds Kyle Keyser, Kole Sherwood and Jalen Smereck were each signed as free agents after not being selected in the NHL Draft.

Since the Flint Firebirds’ inception three season ago in 2015, the club has had 13 drafted or NHL signed players on its roster consisting of Will Bitten (Montreal), Nick Caamano (Dallas), Connor Chatham (New Jersey), Fedor Gordeev (Toronto), Kyle Keyser (Boston Bruins), Nick Mattinen (Toronto), Brent Moran (Dallas), Alex Nedeljkovic (Carolina), Alex Peters (Dallas), Vili Saarijarvi (Detroit), Kole Sherwood (Columbus), Jalen Smereck (Arizona) and Josh Wesley (Carolina).

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The organization had one of its strongest showings four seasons ago in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft when five Whalers’ players were selected: Alex Nedeljkovic (Carolina, 2nd round, 37th overall), Connor Chatham (New Jersey, 3rd round, 71st overall), Alex Peters (Dallas, 3rd round, 75th overall), Josh Wesley (Carolina, 4th round, 96th overall) and Matt Mistele (Los Angeles, 6th round, 180th overall).

Of the 120 drafted players, 14 former skaters from the organization played in the NHL in the 2017-18 season: Jared Boll (Anaheim), Connor Carrick (Toronto), Ryan Hartman (Nashville), Sonny Milano (Columbus), JT Miller (New York Rangers), James Neal (Vegas), Michal Neuvirth (Philadelphia), Stefan Noesen (New Jersey), Rickard Rakell (Anaheim), Tyler Seguin (Dallas), Chris Thorburn (St. Louis), Vincent Trocheck (Florida), Justin Williams (Carolina) and 2018 Stanley Cup Champion Tom Wilson (Washington).

The highest alum to be drafted in the NHL is Bryan Berard who was picked with the first overall selection by the Ottawa Senators in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft. The next highest alums to be drafted after Berard are Tyler Seguin (2nd overall in 2010 by Boston) and David Legwand (2nd overall in 1998 by Nashville). The most players ever picked in an NHL draft came in 2000 when six Whalers were selected: Justin Williams, Tomas Kurka, Libor Ustrnul, Kris Vernarsky, Jared Newman and Nate Kiser.

The Firebirds’ training camp will take place Monday, Aug. 27 through Wednesday, Aug. 29. The camp will be held at the Firebirds’ official practice facility, Iceland Arenas, and is open to the public with free admission for all on-ice sessions. Stay tuned to FlintFirebirds.com for more information on the NHL Draft and Training Camp.

Season ticket packages for the Flint Firebirds 2018-19 season are on sale now and can be purchased at the Dort Federal Event Center Box Office, Monday thru Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET). Season ticket holders receive FREE parking this season. For more information, contact the Dort Federal Event Center Box Office at (810) 744-0580 or email mary@dorteventcenter.com.

 

For more information:

Dominic Hennig
Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club
dominic@flintfirebirds.com
(810) 519-9347