(Guelph, ON) — The Guelph Storm’s line-up came into sharper focus last week when general manager Mike Kelly drafted two Swiss born players in the Ontario Hockey League’s Import draft. The team used the 26th pick overall to take left defenceman Phil Baltisberger and the 38th selection to pluck left-winger Pius Suter.
Baltisberger comes with the best resume having played on Switzerland’s last two World Junior teams. The 18-year-old played 39 games against men in the Swiss B league last season notching three goals, 12 assists and 48 penalty minutes.
“We think he is an impact guy,” said Kelly. “He’s played in two World Junior Championships as a 16 and 17-year-old and as a pro against former Storm players Jamie Wright and Brent Kelly and held his own.”
The GM figures that Baltisberger will play in the team’s top four d-men along with Matt Finn, Zac Leslie and Ben Harpur.
“He’s a lot like Finner, a little thicker and not quite as offensive,” said Kelly. “He certainly shoots the puck real well and will see some time on the powerplay but he is a physical, shutdown type of defenceman. At 6”1” and 210lbs this kid can log major minutes.”
Suter isn’t quite as well known but is still seen as a dynamic, skilled forward.
“He has real good speed and played with the Swiss Under-18 team as a 16-year-old against Storm forwards Jason Dickinson and Hunter Garlent (in the last tournament),” said Kelly.
In that event he led the Swiss in goal scoring with three goals in five games. Baltisberger, who captained that squad, led that team in minutes played and also had a goal and three assists. Both players are represented by Guelph hockey agent Roly Thompson.
Suter, 17, was listed as being 5’11” and 150lbs for the U18 tournament, so he has some growing to do.
“I’m confident he’ll be a regular for us up front but we’ll have to see where he ends up on the depth chart,” said Kelly who says Suter’s older brother is a solid 6’1”.
(North Bay, ON) — Stan Butler, the North Bay Batallion general manager and head coach, chose Swiss left winger Vincent Praplan in the two-round event Wednesday.
Butler canvassed European contacts and National Hockey League scouts before the draft.
“In Vincent’s case, the head coach of the Swiss national team, Sean Simpson, is from Brampton. Vincent was with their junior team last year and was the last player cut. I got very good reports from Sean on him.
“We didn’t want young players. We feel we have a lot of good young Canadian players on our team. We wanted to get players who would have a big impact on our team right away.”
A right shot, Praplan, five-foot-11 and 181 pounds, scored 33 goals and added 29 assists for 62 points with 83 penalty minutes in 34 games last season with the Kloten Flyers of the Swiss Elite Junior A League.
“He’s a 19-year-old, and a lot of teams are looking for younger guys,” noted Butler. “The biggest thing for me was talking to Sean and one of my former players, John Fust, and they both spoke highly of him.”
Said Praplan: “I hope to help the team with my offensive skills.”
(Kamloops, BC) — The Kamloops Blazers have selected defenseman Edson Harlacher with the 55th overall pick in the 2013 CHL Import Draft. Harlacher is listed at 6’2”, 187lbs and hails from Switzerland.
Harlacher joins the Blazers after playing last season with the U-20 Kloten Flyers in the Swiss Elite Jr. A League. Last season, Harlacher finished with a goal and five assists in 34 games with the U-20 team. He also played for the Kloten Flyers U-17 team and had four goals and two assists in six games.
He is a 1996-born defenseman who recently played with Switzerland at the 2013 U-18 World Championships in Sochi, Russia as an underage player. He played five games in the tournament for Switzerland as his country finished sixth.
Harlacher will arrive in Kamloops prior to training camp which will begin on August 22nd, 2013.
(Charlottetown, PEI) — The Charlottetown Islanders of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) took part in the CHL European Selection Draft today and added forward, Marco Sedlar, from Germany, with selection # 31. The CHL European draft takes place each year consisting of two rounds for all 60 CHL members to add depth to their respective rosters.
Islanders General Manager, Grant Sonier, said, “We added a top 6 forward to help replace some of the offense that was lost from last season which has been a focus from day one. Marco played in Landshut, Germany, last season in the German Jr. Elite League, where he register 19 goals and 23 assists,in 36 games. He also had a taste of the Men’s Professional League in Germany, seeing action the past two seasons. Coach Gordie Dwyer and I spoke with Marco and he was so excited he could hardly speak on the phone from his home in Landshut.”
The Islanders passed on their pick in the second round, reconfirming today that Matej Beran, from the Czech Republic, will be returning to the lineup. Sonier said, “Beran and his agent’s commitment along with the selection of Sedlar puts us in a good situation with our European players moving forward.”
It has been an exciting four days in the Islanders organization with today’s European selection and three Islander players chosen in Sunday’s NHL Entry Draft (Yan Pavel Laplante, was drafted by Phoenix in the 3rd round, Ryan Graves went to the New York Rangers in the in the 4th round and Antoine Bibeau was selected by Toronto in the 6th round). Season tickets continue to be a hot item as sales remain steady. Training camp begins August 12 with a large number of returning plays and many exciting new faces.