Finnish winger Julius Miettinen played for HIFK Helsinki’s under-20 team last season. (Photo provided by Silvertips)

Finnish winger Julius Miettinen played for HIFK Helsinki’s under-20 team last season. (Photo provided by Silvertips)

Silvertips select Finnish winger Miettinen in import draft

Everett drops Swiss goaltender Tim Metzger and elects to keep Czech winger Dominik Rymon on the roster.

EVERETT — The Everett Silvertips are changing tack with their European roster spots.

The CHL import draft took place Wednesday, and Everett elected to use its first-round pick on big 17-year-old Finnish winger Julius Miettinen. To make room for Miettinen, the Tips dropped Swiss goaltender Tim Metzger.

There was an air of uncertainty about what Everett would do in this year’s import draft. WHL teams are allocated two European roster spots, and the Tips’ two Euros from last season, Metzger and Czech winger Dominik Rymon, were both eligible to return this season. However Rymon, who’s heading into his 19-year-old season, missed most of last season because of injury, meaning the Tips didn’t get a good read on what he can do. Meanwhile Metzger, who’s going into his 18-year-old season, played sparingly as the back-up goaltender despite being listed by NHL Central Scouting for this year’s NHL draft — Metzger ended up going unselected in the NHL draft.

But Everett has overage goaltender Tyler Palmer returning, and the Tips traded for 19-year-old netminder Ethan Chadwick during the WHL prospects draft in May. Therefore, it no longer made sense to use an import spot on a goaltender. The Tips passed in the second round of the import draft, meaning they will keep faith with Rymon, who had two goals and nine assists in 18 games during his rookie season before being shut down because of an upper-body injury.

“Tim is a great guy, a great teammate,” Everett general manager Dennis Williams explained. “But once we traded for Chadwick we felt we’d give Tim the opportunity to go back into the draft (Metzger went unselected Wednesday) because I do think he has great potential. I can’t speak enough about Tim as a person, but we had to make a decision from an organizational standpoint. We have three other guys battling for his spots (Palmer, Chadwick and 18-year-old-to-be Donavan Bodnar), and with us losing guys like Jackson Berezowski and Raphael Pelletier we needed to look at bringing in another forward to complement our returning group.”

In Miettinen the Tips are getting a player with good size at 6-foot-3 and 203 pounds, as well as a player who could spend several years in Everett given his 2006 birth year. Last season he played for HIFK Helsinki’s under-20 team, registering 10 goals and 12 assists in 38 games. He also represented Finland at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge, scoring three goals in seven games as the Finns took home the bronze medal.

“Alessandro (Benin), who oversees this part of the draft for us, did a really good job of identifying Julius early at around Christmas time,” Williams said. “So we were able to view a lot of his games, and right from the get-go we identified him as a player we wanted to pursue. He has a big frame, he has really good skill, he competes. He definitely has the potential to be a pro.

“If you look at our guys returning, especially up front, we’re not a big team,” Williams added. “We’re fast, competitive and resilient, but at the same time we wanted to add some size and grit to go along with the skill. We think (Miettinen) will fit in nicely.”

Everett still has to receive a commitment from Miettinen to play for the Tips in the 2023-24 season. Everett has historically been successful in recruiting its import draft picks.

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