The CHL import draft is Wednesday, and the Tips are hoping to strike gold one more time.
Everett has the 10th overall pick in the draft, which distributes European players to the CHL’s 60 teams. The Tips will be hoping for a repeat from last year, when they selected Swiss defenseman Mirco Mueller 11th overall. Mueller went on to become the team’s top defenseman as a 17-year-old and a first-round NHL draft pick. Obviously, Everett would love similar production out of its import pick this year.
Tips general manager Garry Davidson has already said he will take a forward at No. 10. The Tips return just about all of their forwards from last season, but there’s no doubt they could really use an impact top-six guy, considering the team’s struggles to score goals the past three years.
But here’s a twist. The Tips will be able to pick in the second round, too. Teams are allowed just two Europeans, and with Mueller already in the fold the Tips should only be able to add one more Euro. However, apparently the CHL instituted a new rule recently. If a team has a European selected in the first round of the NHL draft, it’s allowed a third Euro as insurance against the first rounder sticking with his NHL team. If the first rounder doesn’t make his NHL team, then the CHL team has to get back down to two. With Mueller getting picked in the first round Sunday, Everett falls into this category. Davidson said he intends to use his second rounder, though he wasn’t sure exactly how.
Lastly, this is the final chance for CHL teams to select an import goaltender. Hockey Canada has compelled the CHL to phase out European goalies because of a perceived lack of development of Canadian goalies. European goalies currently in the CHL can play out their eligibility, as can those selected this year (goalies can only be picked in the first round). But next year they’ll be barred from the draft. Come to your own conclusions about the wisdom of that decision.