Silvertips focus on defense in import draft

EVERETT — The Everett Silvertips looked at their roster and found a shortage of experience on defense. Tuesday morning they reached into Europe to address that issue.

Everett made a double dip into the defensive well during Tuesday’s Canadian Hockey League import draft, selecting defensemen Rasmus Rissanen and Radko Gudas with their two first-round picks.

Rissanen, a soon-to-be 18-year-old from Finland, was taken with the 17th-overall pick, which the Tips acquired from Regina during last year’s import draft. Gudas, a 19-year-old from the Czech Republic, was taken with Everett’s own pick at 20th overall.

And defense was always the plan for the Tips.

“Today was a happy day,” said Everett general manager Doug Soetaert, who was pleased with the way the draft unfolded. “The two guys we drafted are very physical, stay-at-home, shut-down guys who play hard every night.”

Rissanen and Gudas will fill Everett’s two European roster slots, which were both vacant. Soetaert said both Rissanen and Gudas are committed to playing in Everett next season rather than remaining in Europe.

Rissanen and Gudas bring plenty of experience to the table. Rissanen was a sixth-round pick in last weekend’s NHL draft by the Carolina Hurricanes and also played for Finland at the U-18 World Championships. Gudas has played at the top professional level in the Czech Republic and was also a member of the Czech team at the World Junior Hockey Championships.

Adding experience to the back end was crucial for the Tips. Everett lost minute-eating defensemen Taylor Ellington and Graham Potuer as graduated overagers. Shayne Brown, who was originally counted on to be an overager next season, will not return because of a chronic hip-flexor injury. And 19-year-old Trevor Bauer may also not return, though the Tips have invited him back.

Everett was staring at the possibility of throwing several young defensemen straight into the fire next season. But in one fell swoop the Tips appear to have solved that problem.

“We felt we were real thin on the back end,” Soetaert said. “We have defensemen who are young and talented, but they’re not ready to carry the load in this league. We had to have some older guys, and today we got one player who was drafted (into the NHL) and the other is 19.”

Soetaert said Rissanen was Everett’s primary target from the start. The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder hails from the Finnish town of Kuopio and is the first Scandinavian to ever grace Everett’s roster. Last season he played for KalPa in the Finnish junior league, where in 29 games he had one goal, eight assists and 56 penalty minutes. He also featured in all six of Finland’s games at the U-18 World Hockey Championships, helping the Finns to the bronze medal.

“He’s not your typical Finn,” Soetaert said. “He’s a puck mover, he’s not going to join into the rush. But he’s very physical and has good size.”

Gudas is the son of Leo Gudas, a 12-year veteran of European professional hockey who was a member of the Czechoslovakian team that won the bronze medal at the 1992 Olympics. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound native of Kladno in the Czech Republic split time between two professional teams in his home country last season. He played seven games for Kladno at the top level, registering one assist and eight penalty minutes, then played 21 games for Berounsti Medvedi one level below, totaling three assists and 74 penalty minutes. He also played in all six games for the Czech Republic at World Juniors, amassing two goals, one assist and eight penalty minutes while being selected one of his team’s top three players.

“With Brown not coming back we felt we really needed an older defenseman, and he’s a guy who really competes hard,” Soetaert said. “He was very good at the World Junior Championships, even though his team was not. He’s very dominating physically, finishes his checks and keeps the game simple.”

Both Rissanen and Gudas are expected to report to Everett for training camp in late August, then will attend NHL training camps in September — Rissanen with Carolina, Gudas with the Los Angeles Kings.

Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog:

Talk to us

More in Sports

Arlington’s defense stuffs Ferndale running back Talan Bungard on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, at Arlington High School in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Arlington steamrolls Ferndale in 3A Wesco North showdown

The Eagles light up offense in the first half, finish business to earn a 46-14 win.

Lake Stevens High School head football coach Tom Tri hoists his team’s championship trophy during a community parade and celebration Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022, in Lake Stevens, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
The Herald’s 2022-23 Man of the Year in Sports: Tom Tri

The Lake Stevens coach guided the Vikings to Snohomish County’s first large classification football state title in more than 30 years.

West Linn’s Ryan Vandenbrink (23) runs with the ball during a football game between Lake Stevens and West Linn at Lake Stevens High School in Lake Stevens, Washington on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023. West Linn won, 49-30. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Turnovers cost Lake Stevens in loss to Oregon power West Linn

The Vikings’ run of 35 straight home wins in the regular season ends in an interstate showdown of big-school state champions.

Marysville Pilchuck’s Christian Van Natta lifts the ball in the air to celebrate a turnover during the game against Marysville Getchell on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Prep football roundup for Friday, Sept. 22

Prep football roundup for Friday, Sept. 22: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report… Continue reading

Lynnwood teammates mob senior Abbie Orr (4) after her impressive dig led to a point against Jackson during a volleyball match Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, at Lynnwood High School in Bothell, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lynnwood volleyball team continues rise to prominence

After ending a 20-year state drought last season, the Royals are surging again and have vaulted to No. 3 in Class 3A in the new WSVCA poll.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) scrambles up field during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Seahawks set to host Panthers, honor past while focused on present

Seattle will honor the 10-year anniversary of its only Super Bowl championship during Sunday’s game.

Jackson High’s Ben Lee lunges to get to the ball against Kamiak on Thursday, Sep. 22, 2022, at the Kamiak Tennis Courts in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Prep boys tennis season preview: Players and teams to watch

A look at the area’s top athletes and teams on the tennis court this fall.

Fall prep sports roundup.
Prep roundup for Saturday, Sept. 23

Also, Friday’s non-football prep results.

Austin Roest prepares to take a wrist shot during the first day of Silvertips training camp on Thursday, August 31, 2023, at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Dad is an NHL bigwig, but Silvertips’ Roest carving his own path

The 19-year-old forward and son of Stanley Cup-winning executive Stacy Roest leads the Silvertips into the 2023-24 season.

Most Read