Seattle Thunderbirds defenseman Jarret Tyszka becomes the latest member of the organization to hear his name called at the NHL Entry Draft. The Langley, B.C. native went in the fifth round, 149th overall, to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday in Chicago.
Tyszka, of course, will attend the Canadiens development/rookie camp this summer then will be off to main camp in September. After that, it is back to Kent for his third season and a bigger role with the Thunderbirds.
Tyszka's selection continues a recent trend. Seattle has had a defenseman chosen by an NHL team every other year over the past five years. In 2013 it was Shea Theodore going in Round One to Anaheim. Two years later, 2015, it was Ethan Bear being selected in the fifth round by Edmonton and now here in 2017 Tyszka is picked by the Canadiens.
So, with that in mind, now that Las Vegas has a team in the NHL, I might go down to catch a game and while there, put a few dollars down on, oh, maybe Jake Lee to be selected in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
Speaking of Las Vegas, the Golden Knights have a bit of a Thunderbirds flavor to their roster. Former T-bird goalie Calvin Pickard was selected in the expansion draft off the Colorado Avalanche roster, the aforementioned Theodore was picked up by the Knights in a trade with the Ducks and on Day Two of the NHL draft, Las Vegas traded a second round pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Keegan Kolesar.
Along with Tyszka, 216 other players were chosen in this weekend's NHL Draft. That seems like a lot but in reality it's not, when you consider their are now 31 NHL teams. Among those eligible to be drafted more probably didn't hear their name called then did with each team having, on average, just seven selections
Among those not chosen was draft eligible T-birds Finnish winger Sami Moilanen. I saw a number of mock drafts that projected him as a sixth round pick but in the end, he was passed over. His size probably worked against him. I would not be surprised though to hear he gets invited to some team's rookie camp this summer. Moilanen was a bit of an unkown coming into this season, his first in North America, but with an extended playoff run with Seattle he should have gotten enough scouts' eyes on him that one team will give him an invite. NHL teams are always looking for that diamond in the rough.
I saw a stat that says only 12 percent of players drafted in rounds 3 through 7 ever have a meaningful NHL career, which for the sake of their study was considered to be 200-plus games. Even being a first round pick is no guarantee of success at the NHL level. In some draft year's less then 50-percent of first round picks have made a career at the NHL level.
Seattle's Director of Player Personnel Cal Filson was among the members of the T-birds staff who were in Chicago this weekend for the NHL Draft. No doubt he was there to talk with players and/or their agents ahead of next week's CHL Import Draft. The Import draft is slated for Wednesday at 8 a.m. Seattle time. The T-birds have the 56th pick in Round One.
Both of Seattle's current Import players are eligible to return for next season but the prevailing thought is that Alexander True, who would occupy both a 20 year old roster spot and an Import roster spot, is ready to move on to the pro ranks. If Seattle makes a selection with that 56th pick Wednesday, that would certainly mean True will not be returning to Kent.
There is also no indication that Moilanen won't return for another season with the T-birds, so I wouldn't anticipate Seattle using their second round pick Tuesday which is 116th overall.