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Ducks, Kings, Sharks use NHL Draft as time to re-stock for the future

 

Akil Thomas of the Niagara IceDogs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

All three California-based NHL teams ventured to Dallas at the end of June to take part in the 2018 NHL Draft and the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks all came home feeling satisfied with their selections.

The Ducks drafted seven players, the Kings took seven as well and San Jose chose five players during the seven-round process.

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Anaheim started their picks with forward Isac Lundestrom being the 23rd overall pick in the first round. The Sweden native recorded 15 points in 42 games with Lulea HF in the Swedish Hockey League during the 2017-18 season.

In the second round with the 54th overall pick, the Ducks selected center Benoit-Olivier Groulx from the Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL), followed by Chicago Steel (USHL) forward Blake McLaughlin in the third round (79th overall), Czech Republic goaltender Lukas Dostal in the third round (85th overall), Minnesota high school forward Jackson Perbix in the fourth round (116th overall), Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL) goalie Roman Durny in the fifth round (147th overall) and Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL) defenseman Hunter Drew in the sixth round (178th overall).

“Really happy with our selections,” Ducks director of professional/amateur scouting Martin Madden said. “We’re definitely much deeper down the middle now. We’re really happy with Benoit-Olivier in the second round. We added two really skilled kids in the third round. We wanted to add some depth in net. Both kids are legitimate prospects. Two really good athletes who have performed really well on the international stage.”

After selecting Finnish forward Rasmus Kupari in the first round (20th overall), the Kings continued the draft on Saturday by adding six more players.

nhl_draft_2018“In the NHL, you certainly need to be fast, you need to be skilled, you need to be competitive and you need hockey sense,” said Kings director of amateur scouting Mark Yannetti. “We filled a lot of those needs (at the draft).”

In addition to Kupari, the Kings also drafted forward Akil Thomas from the Niagara IceDogs (OHL, pictured) in the second round (51st overall), forward Bulat Shafigullin from the Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik (KHL) and the MHL (Russian junior league) in the third round (82nd overall), Owen Sound Attack (OHL) forward Aidan Dudas in the fourth round (113th overall), St. Cloud State University (NCAA) goalie David Hrenak in the fifth round (144th overall), Swedish forward Johan Sodergran in the sixth round (165th overall) and Mississauga Steelheads (OHL) goalie Jacob Ingham in the sixth round (175th overall).

The Kings did not have a seventh-round pick as they traded the pick to the Tampa Bay Lightning to acquire forward Boko Imama back on May 31, 2017.

With the 21st overall selection, the Sharks selected Guelph Storm (OHL) defenseman Ryan Merkley.

Merkley recorded 67 points (13 goals, 54 assists) in 63 games with the Storm in 2017-18. He led all Guelph blueliners and ranked third amongst all OHL rearguards in points.

“We spent quite a bit of time on him. He’s a unique kid, high-end skill, high risk, high reward,” said San Jose GM Doug Wilson. “He’s a competitor and has the ability to be a difference maker. When the game is on the line, he wants the puck.”

San Jose also added Swedish forward Linus Karlsson in the third round (87th overall), Wenatchee Wild (BCHL) forward, BCHL MVP and University of North Dakota commit Jasper Weatherby in the fourth round (102nd overall), Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL) goalie Zach Emond in the sixth round (176th overall) and University of Massachusetts (NCAA) forward John Leonard in the sixth round (182nd overall).

Photo/Terry Wilson/OHL Images

— Matt Mackinder

(Aug. 3, 2018)