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Guelph Storm turns on the Jett with first pick in draft

Guelph takes two forwards and a defenceman in the first three rounds of the draft
LUCHANKO, JETT
Guelph Storm first round pick Jett Luchanko.

The name says it all for the Guelph Storm's first round pick in the OHL Priority Selection draft Friday.

WIth their first pick, 12th overall, the Storm chose speedy winger Jett Luchanko off the London Jr. Knights.

Luchanko scored 22 goals and added 35 assists in 27 games for the Jr. Knights last season. He also had 16 points in eight playoff games and a goal and an assist in four games playing up with the junior B Strathroy Rockets.

Luchanko is listed as five-foot-11 and 159 pounds.

"A very dynamic young player with elite speed," is how Storm coach George Burnett described the right shot who can play both wing and centre.

"Obviously we saw him play very regularly and he's a difference maker on his team. We got a good player."

What Neutral Zone scouting service says:

"Luchenko plays the game with purpose. He has above-average speed that helps him win the majority of loose pucks he pursues. It also helps him put his opponent under forecheck pressure immediately or before his opponent recognizes the pressure. When he has the puck he makes it difficult to be separated from it. Excellent body positioning prevents opponent sticks from accessing his stick blade. This helps him keep offensive zone plays moving. He has a quick, accurate release to the net, rarely with the need to cradle the puck before shooting."

With their second round pick (40th overall) Guelph took Hunter McKenzie, a five-foot-11, 201-pound centre from the Halton Hills Hurricanes. A late birth date, MacKenzie had 18 goals and 19 assists in 24 regular season games and nine points in six playoff games. McKenzie also played two games of junior B with Listowel, scoring once.

He hails from Holstein, just north of Mount Forest.

"Real good size and among the top players in the league he played in. A heavy, heavy shot and he plays a physical game. A high compete level."

What Neutral Zone scouting says:

"McKenzie is a perfect blend of size, power and skill and has all three in spades. He’s not just one dimensional offensive, he defends hard in his own end, he sacrifices his body to block shots and plays the body taking a few forwards clean off their feet. He needs to gain a step and play with a bit more pace in order to translate his production at the higher levels but he’s got the frame and the skill to play junior right now. McKenzie is a player who could develop into an elite 200 foot forward if he continues to improve his fitness."

In the third round they took six-foot-one, 190-pound, right shot defenceman Rowan Topp from the North York Rangers. Had seven goals and 10 assists in 45 games.

Burnett said Topp was a player they debated taking a round earlier.

"We had a terrific interview with him a few weeks back. He's jumping through the phone to get here. He actually phoned me back after I spoke to him tonight to thank me again," Burnett said.

The Storm coach said Topp was one of the names that came up during interviews with other potential picks as someone they didn't enjoy playing against.

"He's very physical and plays with an edge," Burnett said. "He's a little bit of a throwback."

What Neutral Zone scouting says:

"Finished the year strong, he makes himself tough to play against: went against top forward lines all year. He has a big body, he plays physical and he’s very good in that role. He looks like a really good defenseman with tons of potential, only really worry is compete level at times. When he’s on? He plays at a really high level: good skater, great shot from the point. When he gets a head of steam he can play the physical game well. He was dynamite early in the year: he dominated."

The first three rounds of the draft went Friday night, the remaining 12 rounds go Saturday.

Guelph has one pick in each round and two in the fifth round.


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Tony Saxon

About the Author: Tony Saxon

Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 30 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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