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StarPhoenix article (Blades watch draft)

June 27 2012 at 7:10 AM
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N. W. Bruin  (Login NW_Bruin_GM)

Blades watch draft

By Daniel Nugent-Bowman, The StarPhoenix

June 27, 2012 8:46 AM

Lorne Molleken

Photograph by: Greg Pender , Saskatoon Star Phoenix

Without a first-round pick in this morning's Canadian Hockey League import draft, Lorne Molleken will just kick back and relax.

"We'll just kind of watch it from a distance to see what other teams do," Molleken said, "but we won't be involved at all this year."

The Blades won't have one of the 60 first-round selections when the draft begins at 7 a.m. local time.

Their original pick - 35th overall - was sent to the Brandon Wheat Kings in January 2011 as part of a trade that brought centre Brayden Schenn to Saskatoon for the remainder of the 201011 WHL season.

Their only pick in the two-round draft is 98th overall but, because the team has committed its two import roster spots to left-winger Matej Stransky and goaltender Andrey Makarov, they cannot make the selection.

Stransky, from Ostrava, Czech Republic, led the Blades in scoring last season with 39 goals and 81 points - good for 19th in the WHL. He was selected by Saskatoon 61st overall in the 2010 import draft.

Makarov, from Kazan, Russia, was the Blades' team MVP last season after going 29-21-1-1 with a 3.01 goalsagainst average, a .913 save percentage and two shutouts.

The Blades selected Makarov 30th overall in the 2011 import draft after the Quebec league's Lewiston MAINEiacs folded.

With Stransky and Makarov expected to play key roles with the Blades next season, the 98th overall selection is meaningless to the Blades.

"We're going to pass with our second pick because Makarov and Stransky will be back with us," Molleken said.

Because the Blades' draft pick isn't in the first round, Molleken added it has "no value" in a potential trade.

BLADE BITS: The team's office at Credit Union Centre will be closed for two weeks, beginning Friday afternoon. The office will reopen on Monday, July 16.


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