Allan taken in first round by Chicago

Photo Courtesy of Keith Hershmiller/WHL Prince Albert Raiders blueliner Nolan Allan and Winnipeg Ice forward Rhys Raeside battle for the puck at the Brandt Centre in Regina earlier this season.

For the second year in a row, the Prince Albert Raiders have had a player selected in the opening round of the NHL Draft.

With the final pick of Friday’s first round, the Chicago Blackhawks used the 32nd selection to take blueliner Nolan Allan.

The 18-year-old from Davidson had been projected by many to be picked between the late second round and early fourth round of Saturday’s portion of the draft.

“Just shocked,” Allan said in a post-draft Zoom press conference. “I didn’t really know where I was gonna go.

“After hearing my name called on the last pick there, it was really exciting. The whole house erupted.”

The third overall pick by the Raiders in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft, Allan has recorded 11 points in 81 games with the team over the last two seasons.

He also represented Canada at this year’s World Under-18’s, where he suited up on the team’s top pairing and helped the squad earn a gold medal.

“If you look at Nolan’s past season, you could break down into three little segments,” Raiders general manager Curtis Hunt said to the Daily Herald last week.

“In his first few games in Regina, he hadn’t quite found his stride, but I thought he was fantastic in his final eight games. His timing was better, his execution was better and he was doing a better job at reading both ends of the ice.

“At the World Under-18’s, he was certainly the player that we anticipated he would be. He was physical, led their team in five-on-five minutes and had a really good tournament.”

In addition to extending their streak of having a player selected in the NHL Draft to 11 years, the Raiders also had a skater picked in the first round for the second straight year, as Kaiden Guhle and Ozzy Wiesblatt went to the Montreal Canadiens and the San Jose Sharks in the opening round of last October’s draft.

The last time that happened was in 2013 and 2014, when Josh Morrissey and Leon Draisaitl were picked by the Winnipeg Jets and the Edmonton Oilers respectively.

Allan is the second member of his family to be taken in the NHL Draft.

His uncle Chad, who had 115 points in 260 games as a member of the Saskatoon Blades blueline from 1992 to 1996 and won a pair of gold medals at the World Juniors with Canada, was taken in the third round (65th overall) in 1994 by the Vancouver Canucks.

“I’ve got to talk with my uncle quite a bit through this whole process and he’s been a great help, along with other members of my family and my close friends,” Allan said last week.

“I also got a lot of advice from Ozzy and Kaiden as they went through the draft experience last year.”

Allan was also one of two Saskatchewan products to be picked in the first round, as Regina’s Cole Sillinger was taken 12th overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Prior to Friday night, the last Raider to be picked by the Blackhawks was Mark McNeill, who was the 18th overall selection in 2011.

Other Raiders players who have been taken by Chicago are Mike McGhan (258th overall – 1993), Dean McAmmond (22nd overall – 1991), Tracy Egeland (132nd overall – 1989), Dave Manson (11th overall – 1985) and Bill Watson (70th overall – 1982).

Allan was one of three members of this year’s Raiders team to be ranked by NHL Central Scouting heading into the draft, as blueliner Landon Kosior and netminder Carter Serhyenko were both considered to be late round picks.

Rounds two through seven of the draft will start at 9 a.m. Saturday and will air nationally on Sportsnet.

Wolverines dominate opening round

The Michigan Wolverines were front and centre on Friday night during the first round of the 2021 NHL Draft, which was held virtually for the second straight year.

The top two picks went as expected as blueliner Owen Power went to the Buffalo Sabres and forward Matthew Beniers was picked by the expansion Seattle Kraken.

That marked the first time that teammates were taken back-to-back to start the draft since 1969, when Rejean Houle and Marc Tardif of the OHA’s Montreal Junior Canadiens were selected by the Montreal Canadiens.

Power also became the third NCAA player to be the top pick in the NHL Draft, with the other two being Michigan State Spartans forward Joe Murphy (Detroit Red Wings – 1986) and Boston Terriers netminder Rick DiPietro (New York Islanders – 2000).

After Peterborough Petes forward Mason McTavish was picked by the Anaheim Ducks, incoming Wolverines blueliner Luke Hughes of the US NTDP and Michigan forward Kent Johnson were taken by the New Jersey Devils and the Columbus Blue Jackets respectively.

Forward Dylan Guenther of the Edmonton Oil Kings was the first of five WHL players to be picked on Friday, as he was taken ninth overall by the Arizona Coyotes.

In addition to Sillinger and Allan, Oil Kings netminder Sebastian Cossa was the first goaltender taken in the draft by the Detroit Red Wings at pick 15 and Winnipeg Ice blueliner Carson Lambos was taken with 26th overall selection by the Minnesota Wild.

The selection of Cossa and Sweden’s Jesper Wallstedt, who was taken by the Wild with the 20th pick, marked the first time that two goalies were chosen in the opening round since Andrei Vasilevskiy (#19 – Tampa Bay Lightning) and Malcolm Subban (#24 – Boston Bruins) were picked in 2012.

The most controversial moment of the night occurred with the 31st overall choice as the Montreal Canadiens picked blueliner Logan Mallioux, who has signed with the OHL’s London Knights but has yet to play for the team on a full-time basis.

While playing for SK Lejon in Sweden, the 18-year-old was charged in November with taking and distributing an offensive photo without consent following a consensual sexual encounter, which didn’t become public knowledge until an article by Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff last week.

Considered to be a potential second round pick before the news came out, Mailloux released a statement on Tuesday saying “I don’t feel I have demonstrated strong enough maturity or character to earn that privilege (of being selected) in the 2021 Draft.”

Following their pick, the Canadiens said in a statement that “we are aware of the situation and by no means minimize the severity of Logan’s actions. Logan understands the impact of his actions. His recent public statement is a genuine acknowledgment of his poor behaviour and the first step on his personal journey.”

They added that “we are making a commitment to accompany Logan on his journey by providing him with the tools to mature and the necessary support to guide him in his development. We are also committed to raising awareness among our players about the repercussions of their actions on the lives of others.”

The complete order from Friday’s opening round was as follows.

  1. Buffalo Sabres – Owen Power (Defenceman – Michigan Wolverines)
  2. Seattle Kraken – Matthew Beniers (Forward – Michigan Wolverines)
  3. Anaheim Ducks – Mason McTavish (Forward – Peterborough Petes)
  4. New Jersey Devils – Luke Hughes (Defenceman – US NTDP)
  5. Columbus Blue Jackets – Kent Johnson (Forward – Michigan Wolverines)
  6. Detroit Red Wings – Simon Edvinsson (Defenceman – Frolunda)
  7. San Jose Sharks – William Eklund (Forward – Djurgardens)
  8. Los Angeles Kings – Brandt Clarke (Defenceman – Barrie Colts)
  9. Arizona Coyotes (From Vancouver Canucks) – Dylan Guenther (Forward – Edmonton Oil Kings)
  10. Ottawa Senators – Tyler Boucher (Forward – US NTDP)
  11. Arizona Coyotes – Pick was forfeited due to sanctions from a violation of the NHL Combine Testing Policy in 2019-20
  12. Columbus Blue Jackets (From Chicago Blackhawks) – Cole Sillinger (Forward – Medicine Hat Tigers)
  13. Calgary Flames – Matthew Coronato (Forward – Chicago Steel)
  14. Buffalo Sabres (From Philadelphia Flyers) – Isak Rosen (Forward – Leksands)
  15. Detroit Red Wings (From Dallas Stars) – Sebastian Cossa (Goaltender – Edmonton Oil Kings)
  16. New York Rangers – Brennan Othmann (Forward – Flint Firebirds)
  17. St. Louis Blues – Zachary Bolduc (Forward – Rimouski Oceanic)
  18. Winnipeg Jets – Chaz Lucius (Forward – US NTDP)
  19. Nashville Predators – Fedor Svechkov (Forward – Lada Togliatti)
  20. Minnesota Wild (From Edmonton Oilers) – Jesper Wallstedt (Goaltender – Lulea)
  21. Boston Bruins – Fabian Lysell (Forward – Lulea)
  22. Edmonton Oilers (From Minnesota Wild) – Xavier Bourgault (Forward – Shawinigan Cataractes)
  23. Dallas Stars (From Washington Capitals via Detroit Red Wings) – Wyatt Johnston (Forward – Windsor Spitfires)
  24. Florida Panthers – Mackie Samoskevich (Forward – Florida Panthers)
  25. Columbus Blue Jackets (From Toronto Maple Leafs) – Corson Ceulemans (Defenceman – Brooks Bandits)
  26. Minnesota Wild (From Pittsburgh Penguins) – Carson Lambos (Defenceman – Winnipeg Ice)
  27. Nashville Predators (From Carolina Hurricanes) – Zachary L’Heureux (Forward – Halifax Mooseheads)
  28. Colorado Avalanche – Oskar Olausson (Forward – HV71)
  29. New Jersey Devils (From New York Islanders) – Chase Stillman (Forward – Sudbury Wolves)
  30. Vegas Golden Knights – Zach Dean (Forward – Gatineau Olympiques)
  31. Montreal Canadiens – Logan Mailloux (Defenceman – London Knights)
  32. Chicago Blackhawks (From Tampa Bay Lightning via Columbus Blue Jackets) – Nolan Allan (Defenceman – Prince Albert Raiders)