The Guelph Storm went big on the blue line in the early rounds of Saturday’s OHL Priority Selection draft, choosing defencemen with its first two picks..
In the first round, seventh overall, they took 6-foot-2, 173-pound Daniil Chayka, who had 15 goals and 18 assists in 45 games last season.
He added six points - including four goals - at the OHL Cup.
A Moscow native who came to Canada last year to play minor midget hockey in his draft year, he was only declared eligible for the draft last week.
Chayka, who lists Bobby Orr as one of his idols growing up, was the second defenceman taken in the draft.
It was also a great day for local hockey players, with six members of the Guelph Jr. Gryphons being drafted in the first 10 rounds, with Logan Morrison leading the way, taken 18th overall by the Hamilton Bulldogs.
“I thought maybe they were going to take me. I hoped they were going to take me because it’s a hockey town and a very good team,” Chayka said in decent English over the phone Saturday from Moscow, where he is preparing to play for Russia in the Five Nations Cup tournament in Sweden.
He will be the team’s third Russian player on the roster, joining Dmitri Samorukov and Alexey Toropchenko.
“I know Samorukov. I used to be in the same school as him in Russia for maybe five years and I know him very (well),” Chayka said.
He described his playing style as a two-way defenceman who can play a physical game.
Reports are that Chayka has a cannon of a point shot.
Chayka is also a late birth date, meaning he is not eligible for the NHL Draft until 2021.
With their first of two picks in the second round they selected 6-foot-1 defenceman Zack Terry off the Oakville Rangers, where he had 48 points in 39 games.
Two picks later they chose their first forward, Ty Collins of the York Simcoe Express.
“Zack’s a terrific two-way defenceman. A dynamic skater and highly skilled,” Burnett said.
“We really thought that the group of defencemen that were in a position to play (in the OHL) next year was going to be limited to the end of the second round.”
Burnett said he had no qualms about taking two defencemen with his first two picks.
“Not at all,” he said.
He said Collins, who had 68 points in 31 games with the York Simcoe Express, has “tremendous hockey sense.”
They took their first goalie, 6-foot-2, 190-pound Owen Bennett of the Halton Hurricanes, in the fourth round.
“He played on a weaker team and faced a tonne of shots, but he was one of the elite goaltenders at the OHL combine last week. He has a good combination of athleticism and size.”
In the fifth round the Storm drafted Cooper Walker, the son of Storm co-owner and former coach Scott Walker.
Cooper Walker had an excellent year playing for his dad with the Cambridge Hawks.
Burnett said the 5-foot-9, 140-pound Walker he has all the smarts, skill and work ethic, he just needs to get a bit bigger and stronger.
In total, the Storm drafted 17 players" two goalies, three defencemen and 12 forwards.
Guelph Storm selections through the first 10 rounds:
1. Daniil Chayka, D, 6’2”, 173 lbs, Toronto Jr. Canadiens
2. Zack Terry, D, 6’1”, 180 lbs, Oakville Rangers
2. Ty Collins, RW, 6’, 157 lbs, York Simcoe Express
3. Spencer Smith, C, 5’8”, 152 lbs, Niagara North Stars
4. Owen Bennett, G, 6’2”, 190 lbs, Halton Hurricanes
5. Cooper Walker, C, 5’9”, 140 lb, Cambridge Hawks
6. Ben McFarlane, RW, 5’7”, 150 lbs, Cambridge Hawks
7. Matt Papais, RW, 5’10”, 164 lbs, Mississauga Reps
8. Luka Profaca, D, 6’1”, 166 lbs, Mississauga Senators
9. Quinton Pepper, RW, 6’1”, 167 lbs, London Jr. Knights
10. Anthony Califiore, RW, 5'6", 160 lbs, Long Island Gulls under-16
11. Will Craig, G, 6'1", 188 lbs, Peterborough Petes
12. Ayrton Martino, LW, 5'8", 142 lbs, Toronto Titans
13. Joseph Marra, C, 5'6", 168 lbs, Guelph Jr. Gryphons
13. Jacob Kelly, RW, 5'9", 163 lbs, Elliot Lake Wildcats
14. Cameron Garvey, C, 5'9", 148 lbs, Oakville Rangers
15. Joe Teasdale, C, 5'7", 161 lbs, Oakland Jr. Grizzlies