Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Whalers draft pair at CHL Import Draft

The Plymouth Whalers selected two players in today’s Canadian Hockey League Import Draft, held via the internet throughout the CHL.

With the 41st overall selection, the Whalers took 17-year-old right wing Rickard Rakell (top left), who played last season for AIK in Sweden. Skating for the J-18 and J-20 teams of AIK in 2009-10, Rakell scored 28 goals and 17 assists for 45 points over 38 games. Rakell also played in international competition for Sweden, scoring eight goals with three assists for 11 points in 19 games last year in three tournaments.

Rakell – (pronounced ree-CARD ra-KELL) at 6-feet and 185 pounds and from Stockholm – was born on May 5, 1993 and is eligible for the 2011 National Hockey League Entry Draft.

With the 50th pick, Plymouth selected 17-year-old defenseman Dario Trutmann (top right), who played last season for EV Zug in Switzerland. Trutmann scored eight goals with 15 assists for 23 points and 78 PIM’s in 28 regular season games while contributing a goal and an assist in 10 playoff games. Trutmann – 6-feet and 183 pounds – scored five assists in six games in international competition last year for Switzerland.

Trutmann is eligible for the 2011 National Hockey League Entry Draft due to his late birthday (September 17, 1992).

“We like both players,” Plymouth coach-GM Mike Vellucci said. “They should fit right in with our team. We look for both of them to be impact players right away.”

“I’m very excited to be coming to Plymouth,” Rakell said in a phone interview. “It’s going to be fun. I don’t copy any one player, but I would say I’m a physical player with a good shot. So many Swedish players play for the Red Wings, it’s an inspiration. They are very successful.”

Rakell was to the point when speaking about his attraction to the CHL.

“I think it’s the best junior league in the world,” he said. “And my goal is to reach the National Hockey League.”

Trutmann expressed the same sentiments about the CHL.

“It’s the best junior league in the world,” Trutmann said in a phone interview. “It’s a dream come true to play in it. I pattern myself after Mark Streit, a Swiss who plays for the New York Islanders.”

CHL teams are allowed to carry two imports of their roster. With veteran defenseman Michal Jordan signing with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, Rakell and Trutmann fill Plymouth’s import quota.

Rakell and Trutmann are expected to report to Plymouth’s training camp in late August.

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