The Guelph Storm took a highly-regarded Russian defenceman with the second pick of the Canadian Hockey League Import Draft Tuesday.
Dmitri Samorukov, 17, is a left-shooting defenceman who had four goals and 12 asssists in 28 games with the CSKA Moscow Red Army under-17 team last season.
"I think the perception was that we needed to go with a forward, but we're looking forward rather than the rear-view mirror," said Storm general manager Mike Kelly.
"We think we've got lots of pretty good forwards and we think our need next year, when we graduate some defenceman, is going to be defencemen rather than forward."
Kelly said he realizes the numbers issue on the blue line will have to be addressed "at some point in time" if Samorukov is in Guelph. He would make nine blueliners.
Samorukov was tied for the points lead for the Russian team at the under-18 World Championships in Grand Forks, N.D., recording a goal and four assists in five games last year, playing against players a year older.
"I saw him at the 5 Nations tournament and then again at the Under-18s and was really impressed," Storm general manager Mike Kelly said.
"We think he will be a good defenceman for the next three years for us," Kelly said.
In the second round they took Czech forward Albert Michnak, who had eight goals and 10 assists in 36 games with Sparta junior B last season.
While neither player has committed to the Storm, Kelly said he is "confident of the process" involved in negotiating their releases from their home federations.
Michnak, 17, is listed as five-foot-10 and 163 pounds. A left winger on the draft list, Kelly said his true position is centre.
"We've seen video and we think he's a dynamic and instinctive player," Kelly said. "We think there's something there. We left a lot of good wingers on the board but we were certainly looking for a puck guy and a dynamic player and we think he's going to be a good one."
Michnak is a late 1998 birth date, making this upcoming season his draft year.