|Country||Total Drafted||Top 2 Rounds||WJC Rank|
There weren't really any oddball picks here, although Germany getting five draft picks is definitely unusual, and their highest total in the previous six years to date. Canada's share dropped this year below 100 picks for only the second time since 2005, with the USA picking up their pace after having 44 and 53 selections in the previous two drafts. Finland again continues to not produce high end picks... Michael Granlund was a rare forward taken high in the draft, but their other six selections came after Round 3. That makes only five draft picks since 2005 in the first two rounds, of a total of fifty-one total selections. Sweden didn't have a first round pick this past year, after a record seven the year prior, but still picked up six 2nd round selections to post the third highest 'quality' total.
We continue after the jump with a look at the selections by source league.
|League||Total Picks||First 2 Rounds||Rank 2005-09|
The WHL led the way this year, though that was due to a run on WHL players in the 7th round (8 players) and an unusual goose egg in that department from the OHL. The QMJHL had it's worst year yet, but the total wasn't unusually low for them, they have been averaging between 23-27 selections since 2005. The difference, however, is in the quality, and certainly it is shocking to not see a single Quebec born and trained player in the top 60 picks at all. The NAHL, which ranked 6th in total draft picks from 2005-09, didn't have a single selection, in large part because the US National Team Development Program U-18 team moved from the NAHL to the USHL this past year. That development is why you see such high quality out of the USHL picks, as 9 of their 20 total came in the first two rounds.
In Sweden, the lack of first rounders certainly bares out in the fact that more players were drafted out of their junior circuit, the J20 SuperElit, than out of the Elitseren. No Russian players were drafted out of their own junior/KHL farm circuit this time, even though that has been a popular source for NHL teams in the past. Slovakia had a poor showing this year with only two selections, but it is notable that Martin Marincin was the first ever draft pick from Slovakia's own U20 team. The team is in the Slovak Extraliga, and is created in the model of the USNTDP which has been so successful in developing top American talent. You've got to start somewhere, and hopefully for Slovakia this will lead to more success in developing their own players. Most Slovak draft picks in recent years came from the Canadian Hockey League, and that has not proven fruitful for the national federation.
The five German picks came from five different leagues, in case you are wondering. Three came from different levels of the German club/junior system, plus one each from the OHL and QMJHL. And as for that Belarussian Jr. league player, that would be Edmonton's 7th round pick Kristians Pelss, a Latvian national. The only likely spot the Oilers saw him play was at the 2010 IIHF World U18 Championships in Belarus, where Latvia finished 9th and were relegated. Pelss was the captain of that team. The lone Norwegian, Toronto pick Sondre Olden, plays in the J20 SuperElit in Sweden, while the lone Dane (playing in Denmark's AL-Bank Ligaen), was Frederik Andersen, the 20 year old goaltender on their World Championships entry. Andersen was picked by Carolina in the 7th round, and as you can see in the FanShots section, he's getting a shot at his dream.
And, of course, a big congratulations to Nino Niederreiter, who made my job covering the 2010 World Junior Hockey Championships in Saskatoon quite easy. He becomes the highest Swiss national ever drafted, going 5th overall to the New York Islanders, where he'll be joined by his country's other star non-goalie, Mark Streit. His Portland Winter Hawks team of the WHL also saw an astonishing eight players taken in the draft, by far the most of any club not named the USNTDP. While Niederreiter has already established himself on the international team, his linemate, Ryan Johansen went one spot higher than Nino did, going fourth overall to the Columbus Blue Jackets.