Leason not taken in opening round of NHL Draft

Prince Albert Raiders forward Brett Leason will have to wait until Saturday to hear his named called at the 2019 National Hockey League Draft.

Projected as a late first round pick by some scouting outlets, the 20-year-old from Calgary was not among the first 31 selections Friday night in Vancouver.

The New Jersey Devils took US NTDP forward Jack Hughes with the first overall pick and the New York Rangers chose Finland’s Kaapo Kakko with the second selection.

The first Western Hockey League player was taken third overall as the Chicago Blackhawks selected Saskatoon Blades forward Kirby Dach, while the Vancouver Giants’ Bowen Byram was the first defenceman to be drafted as he went to the Colorado Avalanche with the fourth pick.

Lethbridge Hurricanes forward Dylan Cozens (#7 – Buffalo Sabres), Winnipeg Ice forward Peyton Krebs (#17 – Vegas Golden Knights), Kelowna Rockets blueliner Lassi Thomson (#19 – Ottawa Senators), Rockets forward Nolan Foote (#27 – Tampa Bay Lightning) and Moose Jaw Warriors forward Brayden Tracey (#29 – Anaheim Ducks) were the other WHL players selected on Friday.

Russian forward Vasily Podkolzin, who was drafted by the Medicine Hat Tigers in the 2018 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft, was taken 10th overall by the Vancouver Canucks.

US NTDP blueliner Cameron York, a ninth round pick by the Red Deer Rebels in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft, went to the Philadelphia Flyers with the 14th pick.

Spencer Knight of the US NTDP became the first netminder to be picked in the first round in two years when he was taken by the Florida Panthers at 13.

The second day of the draft, which feature the other six rounds of the event, gets underway at 11 a.m. and will air nationally on Sportsnet.

Leason’s linemate Aliaksei Protas is projected to be picked in the late stages of the third round.