Flint Firebirds 2020 NHL Draft Central
Two Flint Firebirds are listed in NHL Central Scouting’s ‘Final Rankings’ for the 2020 NHL Draft, presented by EA SPORTS NHL 21. This year’s draft will be held virtually over two days, with Round 1 set for 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Oct. 6 (NBCSN, SN, TVAS) and Rounds 2-7 scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Oct. 7 (NHLN, SN, SN1).
For the fifth consecutive year, at least one current Flint Firebird player is expecting to hear their name called on NHL Draft day. Flint’s Evgeniy Oksentyuk (#109) and Riley Piercey (#129) are among the players identified by NHL Central Scouting in their Final Rankings for the 2020 NHL Draft. Additionally, after placing among the top five defenseman in the Ontario Hockey League with 62 points this past season, Riley McCourt may become the first Firebird to hear his name called two seasons after his initial draft year (2018).
Sportsnet’s Sam Cosentino believes the OHL will be well-represented in the first round. A total of nine OHL players are included in his top-31, with Sudbury Wolves centerman Quinton Byfield leading the way at number three. Ottawa’s Marco Rossi, Erie’s Jamie Drysdale, Saginaw’s Cole Perfetti and Ottawa’s Jack Quinn are also included inside the top-10.
For the past five seasons, the OHL has sent more players to the NHL than any other league in the world. The OHL is first in the world in total players selected in the NHL Draft (197), first and second round selections combined (76), defenseman (80) 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 also the highest percentage in the world.
National television coverage for the first round begins Tuesday 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 7 p.m. (ET) on SiriusXM NHL Network, Channel 91. Coverage of rounds 2-7 begins Wednesday morning at 11:30 a.m. (ET) on the NHL Network in the United States and on Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada.
With 31 teams selecting in the NHL Draft this season, Flint’s Evgeniy Oksentyuk is expecting to hear his name called a year after his initial draft year and is projected to be selected between the second and fourth rounds. Riley Piercey is projected to be selected between the fourth and seventh rounds. Additionally Tyler Deline, Peyton Grainer, Marcus Gretz, Jack Harper, Sahil Panwar and Zack Terry are also first time eligible players to be selected in the NHL Draft.
Oksentyuk was selected by the Firebirds in the first-round (5th overall) of the 2019 CHL Import Draft. He recorded the most points out of all 81 players taken in the 2019 CHL Import Draft. Oksentyuk also led the Firebirds with 78 points (33G, 45A) in 58 games this past season. The Brest, Belarus native set a franchise record for the longest point-streak by a single player, recording a point in 17 consecutive games from Nov. 15, 2019 – Jan. 17, 2020.
Forward Riley Piercey was acquired in a trade with the Barrie Colts on Jan. 7, 2020. Prior to coming to Flint, Piercey recorded 13 points (9G, 4A) in 35 games and then added another 21 points (8G, 13A) in eight less games with the Firebirds. The Mississauga, Ont. native finished his NHL Draft season with 34 points (17G, 17A) in 62 games this campaign.
Despite being a defenseman, McCourt finished fifth among all OHL defenseman in points and also finished third on the Firebirds roster in points last season, recording 62 points (18G, 44A) in 63 games. He increased his point-production in each of his four seasons in the OHL and currently leads the Firebirds franchise all-time records among all defenseman in career goals (28), assists (79) and points (107) and leads the Firebirds’ franchise among defenseman in goals (18), assists (44), and points (62) in a single season.
Defenseman Tyler Deline recorded six points and 23 penalty minutes in 43 games last season, Jack Harper tallied two points and four penalty minutes in 39 games and goaltender Peyton Grainer played in 29 minutes of action, making six saves on seven shots.
The Firebirds have had seven players selected through the past four NHL Drafts. Last June, Vladislav Kolyachonok (Florida Panthers) and Ethan Keppen (Vancouver Canucks) were tabbed in the 2019 NHL Draft.
In 2018, Ty Dellandrea became the first Flint Firebird to be selected in the first round of an NHL Draft when he was picked 13th-overall by the Dallas Stars. Dennis Busby was also selected that year in the fifth-round (145th overall) by the Arizona Coyotes.
Flint’s best showing at an individual NHL Draft is two players selected, which has happened in three of the four NHL Drafts since the Firebirds have been a member in the OHL. Flint has the opportunity to set a franchise record this weekend if three or more Firebirds hear their name called.
Since the Firebirds’ inception in Flint, Michigan five seasons ago, there have been nine Firebirds that have played in a NHL regular or preseason game. A total of 18 players that have worn a Firebirds jersey have either been drafted and/or signed by NHL clubs: Will Bitten (Montreal), Dennis Busby (Arizona), Nick Caamano (Dallas), Connor Chatham (New Jersey), Ty Dellandrea (Dallas), Fedor Gordeev (Toronto), Kyle Keyser (Boston Bruins), Ethan Keppen (Vancouver), Vladislav Kolyachonok (Florida), Nick Mattinen (Toronto), Brent Moran (Dallas), Alex Nedeljkovic (Carolina), Alex Peters (Dallas), Vili Saarijarvi (Detroit), Kole Sherwood (Columbus), Jalen Smereck (Arizona), Tyler Tucker (St. Louis) and Josh Wesley (Carolina).
Firebirds Hockey Network (FHN) On-Demand:
- Evgeniy Oksentyuk Highlights
- Riley Piercey Highlights
- Riley McCourt Highlights
- Gotta See It: Oksentyuk does the lacrosse move
- McCourt sets franchise record for points by a defenseman
- Keppen & Kolyachonok selected in 2019 NHL Draft
- Keppen addresses the media at the NHL Draft
- 2019 NHL Draft Day Preview
- Dellandrea becomes first Firebird selected in 1st round
- FHN spotlights Dellandrea and previews NHL Draft
Since 1969, a total of 2,379 OHL players have been selected in the NHL Draft representing over 20% of all players chosen by clubs and a figure higher than any other league solidifying the OHL as the number one supplier of NHL talent.
Stay tuned to www.FlintFirebirds.com/NHLDraft for all-access coverage of the Firebirds at the 2020 NHL Draft.
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