For the first time in nearly a decade, three Canadian-born World Junior A Challenge alumni were selected in the opening round of the NHL Entry Draft, with Tyson Jost leading the way.
The last time three Canadians went in Round 1 was in 2007, when Kyle Turris (3rd overall, Phoenix), Riley Nash (21st overall, Edmonton),
and Brendan Smith (27th overall, Detroit) were selected.
Jost was the highest alumnus chosen in Buffalo, N.Y., going 10th overall to the Colorado Avalanche, making him the second-highest
Canadian WJAC alum ever drafted, trailing only Turris.
The Jost selection came as no surprise; the Kelowna, B.C., native made his second appearance at the World Junior A Challenge in 2015, captaining Canada West to gold, earning MVP honours and a spot on the all-star team, and leading the tournament in scoring with nine points (three goals, six assists) in four games.
Dante Fabbro, who joined Jost on Canada West in 2014 and 2015, was the next alumnus selected, hearing his name called by the Nashville Predators at 17th overall.
Fabbro had five assists in four games during Canada West's gold medal run, trailing only Jost in team scoring, and tying him with Spenser Young from the U.S. as the tournament’s top-scoring defenceman.
Dennis Cholowski was the
third and final gold medallist off the board when the Detroit Red Wings made the defenceman their first-round selection with the 20th pick.
The Cholowski selection also marked the first time that a trio of World Junior A Challenge gold medallists was selected in the opening round of the NHL Entry Draft.
German Rubtsov capped off the opening round for WJAC alumni, going 22nd overall to the Philadelphia Flyers. The Russian set a tournament record with six points in a semifinal win over the United States last December, and finished tied for third in tournament scoring with seven points (two goals, five assists).
Dean Stewart (188th overall, Arizona) was the only other Canada West gold medallist selected.
Four Canada East alumni, who all played at the 2015 World Junior A Challenge, were chosen in Buffalo: Matthew Cairns (84th overall, Edmonton), Brett Murray (99th overall, Buffalo), Colton Point (128th overall, Dallas), and Adam Smith (198th overall, Nashville).
In total, 26 alumni were selected in the draft, including five members of the bronze medal-winning United States team from the 2015 World Junior A
Challenge (Colton, Laczynski, Peeke, Pitlick, and Zimmer), and four members of the Russian entry that won silver in Cobourg and Whitby, Ont. (Berdin, Kayumov,
Maltsev, and Rubtsov).
Since the first World Junior A Challenge in Yorkton and Humboldt, Sask., in 2006, 258 drafted players have taken part in the tournament, either prior to
their selection or after.
Tyson Jost | 10th overall, Colorado | 2014 & 2015 – Canada West
Dante Fabbro | 17th overall, Nashville | 2014 & 2015 – Canada West
Dennis Cholowski | 20th overall, Detroit | 2015 – Canada West
German Rubtsov | 22nd overall, Philadelphia | 2015 – Russia
Yegor Korshkov | 31st overall, Toronto | 2014 – Russia
Andrew Peeke | 34th overall, Columbus | 2015 – United States
Artur Kayumov | 50th overall, Chicago | 2015 – Russia
Dylan Gambrell | 60th overall, San Jose | 2014 – United States
Rem Pitlick | 76th overall, Nashville | 2015 – United States
Matthew Cairns | 84th overall, Edmonton | 2015 – Canada East
Anatoli Golyshev | 95th overall, New York Islanders | 2012 – Russia
Brett Murray | 99th overall, Buffalo | 2015 – Canada East
Mikhail Maltsev | 102nd overall, New Jersey | 2015 – Russia
Max Zimmer | 104th overall, Carolina | 2015 – United States
Rhett Gardner | 116th overall, Dallas | 2013 & 2014 – Canada West
Damien Riat | 117th overall, Washington | 2014 – Switzerland
Ross Colton | 118th overall, Tampa Bay | 2015 – United States
Colton Point | 128th overall, Dallas | 2015 – Canada East
Yegor Rykov | 132nd overall, New Jersey | 2014 – Russia
Mikhail Berdin | 157th overall, Winnipeg | 2015 – Russia
Tanner Laczynski | 169th overall, Philadelphia | 2015 – United States
Blake Hillman | 173rd overall, Chicago | 2014 – United States
Nikolai Chebykin | 182nd overall, Toronto | 2014 – Russia
Calvin Thürkauf | 185th overall, Columbus | 2014 – Switzerland
Dean Stewart | 188th overall, Arizona | 2015 – Canada West
Adam Smith | 198th overall, Nashville | 2015 – Canada East