Sunday, June 26, 2011

Four Saginaw skaters drafted Saturday

The Saginaw Spirit were well represented at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, with four of its players being selected within the top 100 picks.

Brandon Saad (pictured) was picked by the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round, while Vincent Trocheck and Anthony Camara went in the third round, to the Florida Panthers and Boston Bruins, respectively. Josh Shalla was selected in the fourth round by the Nashville Predators.

Saad was the first active Spirit player taken in the draft. The Blackhawks pegged the Gibsonia, Pa., native with the 43rd overall pick. Saad tallied 27 goals and 28 assists for 55 points last season with the Spirit.

Trocheck was selected with the 64th overall pick by Florida. The Pittsburgh native posted 26 goals and 36 assists for 62 points last season with the Spirit. Trocheck joins Spirit teammate John McFarland, the Panthers 33rd overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, in the Florida system.

The 2011 Stanley Cup champion Bruins picked Camara with the 81st overall pick. The gritty forward, a native of Toronto, posted eight goals and nine assists for 17 points as well as 132 penalty minutes last season for the Spirit.

Rounding out the Spirit’s participation in the draft was Shalla. Shalla, a native of Whitby, Ont., was selected 94th overall by the Predators. Shalla, who went undrafted in the 2010 edition of the draft, lead the Spirit’s point production this past season with 47 goals and 25 assists for 72 points.

Saad, Trocheck and Camara are slated to return to Saginaw for the 2011-2012 season unless they make their NHL clubs. Shalla, who would be entering next season as a 20-year-old overager candidate, would be eligible to return to Saginaw at the discretion of the Predators. If returned, they would re-join an intrepid group on ice for the 2011-2012 season that could include fellow draft picks McFarland (Florida Panthers, 33rd overall in 2010), Brandon Archibald (Columbus Blue Jackets, 94th overall in 2010), Ivan Telegin (Winnipeg Jets/Atlanta Thrashers, 101st overall in 2010), Jordan Szwarz (Phoenix Coyotes, 97th overall in 2009) and Ben Chiarot (Winnipeg Jets/Atlanta Thrashers, 120th overall in 2009).

Other notes from the 2011 NHL Entry Draft: Former Spirit prospect Mark Scheifele, currently with the Barrie Colts, was selected seventh overall by the newest NHL team, the Winnipeg Jets. The trade of Scheifele’s rights was part of last summer’s deal that saw the Spirit acquire goalie Mavric Parks. Spirit prospect Jamieson Oleksiak was selected 14th overall by the Dallas Stars. Oleksiak was selected by the Spirit with the 137th overall pick in the 2008 OHL Priority Selection. Former Spirit player and Buffalo native Alex Lepkowski, now with the Barrie Colts, went 137th overall to the Buffalo Sabres.

Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

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