For weeks, if not months, hockey insiders have been warning anyone who would listen that the 2004 NHL Entry Draft would mark the weakest year for Canadian hockey players in many years. And yet, as the draft concluded in Raleigh, North Carolina, there were more players from Canada taken in the first round, in the first three rounds and in the entire draft than from any other country.
When the final numbers were in, 123 Canadians had been selected overall, of which 12 were taken in the first round and 37 on the first day, during the first three rounds. The next best country was the USA with 65 picks overall, 6 first round picks and 22 picks on the first day.
Leading the charge for Canada was Winnipegger Cam Barker, selected third overall by the Chicago Blackhawks. Somewhere down the line, Barker hopes to team up with other Program of Excellence alumnus Steve McCarthy and Brent Seabrook as key components of the Hawks’ blue line corps. Barker’s next challenge will be impress Team Canada’s coaching staff in a bid to get a spot on Canada’s lineup for the 2004 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship. Barker is one of 14 players drafted in Raleigh, who will be at the National Junior Team selection camp in August in Calgary, AB. Thirteen of those fourteen were selected on the first day of the draft, in the first three rounds.
Eight of the twelve Canadian first rounders selected on Saturday, have worn Team Canada’s colours as members of the National Under-18 Program in 2003-2004.
Canadian 1st rounders
3 – CHI - Cam Barker (Winnipeg, MB/ Medicine Hat Tigers, WHL)
4 – CAR - Andrew Ladd (Maple Ridge, BC/Calgary Hitmen, WHL)
8 – CBJ - Alexandre Picard (Lewiston MAINEiacs, QMJHL)
14 – EDM - Devan Dubnyk (Calgary, AB/ Kamloops Blazers, WHL)
18 – MON - Kyle Chipchura (Vimy, AB/ Prince Albert Raiders, WHL)
20 – NJ - Travis Zajac (Winnipeg, MB/ Salmon Arm Silverbacks, BCHL)
21 – COL - Woytek Wolski (Toronto, ON/ Brampton Battalion, OHL)
24 – CGY - Kris Chucko (Burnaby, BC/ Salmon Arm Silverbacks, BCHL)
27 – WAS - Jeff Schultz (Calgary, AB/ Calgary Hitmen, WHL)
28 – DAL - Mark Fistric (Edmonton, AB/ Vancouver Giants, WHL)
29 – WAS - Mike Green (Calgary, AB/ Saskatoon Blades, WHL)
30 – TBY – Andy Rogers (Calgary, AB/ Calgary Hitmen, WHL)
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