Thirty three young men from 17 different WHL clubs heard their names called during the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center in Chicago this past weekend.
Of those 33 players, the seven WHL players selected in the first round of the 2017 NHL Draft represented the most prospects provided out of any league in the world during the opening round of the draft. The 33 WHL players selected in the 2017 NHL Draft represented the second-most prospects provided out of any league in the world.
Here’s what a few of those WHL players had to say on social media about one of the most exciting days of their hockey careers:
— Cody Glass (@Cody12Glass) 24 June 2017
— The WHL (@TheWHL) June 24, 2017
Portland Winterhawks forward Cody Glass became the first player ever drafted by the NHL’s newest franchise when the Vegas Golden Knights selected him with the sixth overall pick. The Winnipeg product had 32 goals and 62 assists in 69 games played in 2016-17.
— Michael Rasmussen (@mrasmussen16) June 25, 2017
— The WHL (@TheWHL) June 25, 2017
Michael Rasmussen was the first of four Tri-City Americans taken in the draft as the Detroit Red Wings selected the Surrey, B.C. native with the ninth overall pick. Rasmussen notched 32 goals and 55 points in 50 games for the Americans this season.
Tri-City import defenceman Juuso Valimaki kept the hot streak going for his WHL club later in the first round after being selected 16th overall by the Calgary Flames. Valimaki had 19G and 42A in 60 games for the Americans this season.
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Keeping the ball rolling for U.S. Division teams in the first round, Spokane Chiefs forward Kailer Yamamoto was all smiles after being drafted by the Edmonton Oilers at 22nd overall. The 5-foot-9, 160-pound right winger led the Chiefs in goals (42), assists (57) and points (99) this year.
Henri Jokiharju of the Portland Winterhawks won’t be changing his jersey colours after making the jump to the NHL. The Chicago Blackhawks took the Oulu, Finland prospect with the 29th overall pick.
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Thanks to the @Canucks for making my dream a reality, excited to be a nuck! Can’t wait for what’s to come
— Kole Lind (@klind13) June 24, 2017
Kelowna Rockets forward Kole Lind got the ball rolling for WHL prospects on day two of the draft as the Shaunavon, Sask. skater was picked in the second round, 33rd overall by the Vancouver Canucks. Lind led the Rockets in scoring last season, notching 30 goals and 87 points in 70 games.
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WHL Rookie of the Year Aleski Heponiemi capped off a very successful 2016-17 season by being selected in the second round (40th) by the Florida Panthers. The Tampere, Finland product had 86 points (28G-58A) in 72 games playing up the middle for the Swift Current Broncos this season.
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Spokane Chiefs forward Jaret Anderson-Dolan is So-Cal bound after being selected in the second round (41st) by the Los Angeles Kings. The Calgary product played all 72 games for the Chiefs this season, notching 39 goals and 76 points.
What a weekend to remember! Thanks to everyone who has helped along the way. Can’t wait to get things started with the @GoldenKnights ⚔️
— Jake Leschyshyn (@JakeLeschyshyn7) June 25, 2017
It didn’t take long for the Vegas Golden Knights to return to the Dub, using their second round pick (62nd overall) on Regina Pats forward Jake Leschyshyn. In 47 games for the Pats this year, Leschyshyn had 40 points (27G-13A).
Brandon Wheat Kings forward Stelio Mattheos donned the red and black jersey of the Carolina Hurricanes after being selected in the third round (73rd). Mattheos was one of three Wheat Kings players taken in the draft.
— stuart skinner (@ssskipy_74) June 25, 2017
Lethbridge Hurricanes goaltender Stuart Skinner was the first WHL goalie to be taken in the 2017 draft as his hometown Edmonton Oilers selected him in the third round, 78th overall.
— Cale Fleury (@CJF_98) June 25, 2017
The whole family was in town to support Kootenay ICE d-man Cale Fleury as he was drafted in the third round, 87th overall by the Montreal Canadians. Cale’s older brother Haydn, a former Red Deer Rebel, was a first round draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes in 2015.
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Mason Shaw of the Medicine Hat Tigers was excited to don the Minnesota Wild’s new green uniforms after being selected in the fourth round (97th). Shaw was one of three Tigers players to have his name called over the weekend.
Though he wasn’t in Chicago for the Draft, Prince Albert Raiders goalie Ian Scott celebrated with his family after being selected in the fifth round (110th) by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
— Dylan Ferguson (@dferg_98) June 24, 2017
— Dylan Ferguson (@dferg_98) June 27, 2017
It turned out to be an eventful weekend for Kamloops Blazers goalie Dylan Ferguson. Originally taken by the Dallas Stars in the seventh round (194th) on Saturday, the Lantzville, B.C. product didn’t get much of a chance to settle in with his new team before being dealt to the Vegas Golden Knights along with a second round draft pick in 2020 on Monday evening in exchange for defenceman Mark Methot.