Guhle, Schneider and Wiesblatt selected in first round of NHL Draft by Canadiens, Rangers and Sharks

It was an evening that Kaiden Guhle, Braden Schneider and Ozzy Wiesblatt will never forget.

Guhle, who is a blueliner for the Prince Albert Raiders blueliner was selected by the Habs with the 16th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft on Tuesday night, while Schneider was taken with the 19th overall choice by the Rangers.

The Sharks rounded out the opening round by taking Wiesblatt, a forward with the Raiders, with the 31st pick.

This marks the first time that pair of Raiders have gone in the opening round since 1995, when Steve Kelly and Brad Church went sixth and 17th overall respectively to the Edmonton Oilers and the Washington Capitals.

Guhle is the first Raiders player to be picked in the first round since Leon Draisaitl went third overall to the Oilers in 2014 and the first to be chosen by the Canadiens since Cole Fonstad was a fifth round choice in 2018.

Montreal had previously picked a Raider in the first round back in 2004 when they chose Kyle Chipchura with the 18th overall selection.

This also marks the 10th straight season that the Raiders have had a player selected during the NHL Draft.

“I had talked to Montreal a few times and I had a very good feeling at 16 that I might be chosen, especially after our last Zoom meeting felt more like a conversation than an interview,” Guhle said in a press conference on Tuesday evening. “I know there’s been a lot of players that have come out of the Western League that have been part of the Habs over the years and I’m honoured to join them.”

“(Kaiden has) size, skating, range, he brings offensive skill to his game and he’s a little hard to play against,” Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said during Sportsnet’s live coverage of the draft. “He checks all the boxes for us.”

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Prince Albert Raiders blueliner Kaiden Guhle collides with Kelowna Rockets forward Jake Poole.

The first overall pick in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft, the 18-year-old from Sherwood Park, Alta. has put up 58 points in 37 games for the Raiders.

He also had three assists in the team’s run to the WHL title in 2019 and has suited up for Canada at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and the Hlinka Gretzky Cup.

“The chance to develop my game in Prince Albert has been huge for me,” Guhle said. “(Head coach) Marc Habscheid and (assistant coach) Jeff Truitt were huge in not rushing me and they wanted to put me in the best positions for myself.

“Obviously you want to be on the ice as much as you can when you are young, but looking back on everything here tonight I think it all worked out well, especially as I learned from my coaches and all of my teammates.”

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Brandon Wheat Kings defenceman Braden Schneider reacts to a play during a game against the Prince Albert Raiders.

The Rangers moved up three slots on the draft board to take Schneider, who became the first Prince Albert product to be selected at the NHL Draft since Adam Cracknell was a ninth round pick by Edmonton in 2004.

He’s the first local player to be taken in the opening round since Denis Peterson went 13th overall in 1993 to the New Jersey Devils and he’s the first Prince Albert Mintos alumni to be drafted since Connor Ingram was picked by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2016.

Schneider, who turned 19 on Sept. 20, has put up 88 points in 185 games for the Wheat Kings and was named to the WHL’s Eastern Conference All-Star Team last season.

He’s also played for Canada at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, in addition to taking part in Hockey Canada’s World Junior camp in December 2019.

Daily Herald File Photo Ozzy Wiesblatt had 70 points during his sophomore season to finish second in team scoring.

Wiesblatt is just the second Raiders player to be drafted by the Sharks, as he joins 1997 eighth round pick Cam Severson.

The 18-year-old Calgary product has 110 points in 129 games for the Raiders and has 10 points in 23 games during the Raiders’ Ed Chynoweth Cup run in 2019.

He’s also played for Canada at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and the Hlinka Gretzky Cup over the two seasons.

As expected, the New York Rangers started off the draft by taking Rimouski Oceanic star forward Alexis Lafreniere, who was widely considered to be the best player available.

Forwards Quinton Byfield of the Sudbury Wolves and Tim Stutzle of Adler Mannheim went second and third overall to the Los Angeles Kings and the Ottawa Senators respectively.

The Detroit Red Wings nabbed forward Lucas Raymond of Frolunda with the fourth pick, while the Senators took the first blueliner of the draft at fifth overall when they chose Jake Sanderson of the US NTDP.

The full results from the first round are as follows:

  1. New York Rangers – Alexis Lafreniere (Forward – Rimouski Oceanic)
  2. Los Angeles Kings – Quinton Byfield (Forward – Sudbury Wolves)
  3. Ottawa Senators (From San Jose Sharks) – Tim Stutzle (Forward – Adler Mannheim)
  4. Detroit Red Wings – Lucas Raymond (Forward – Frolunda)
  5. Ottawa Senators – Jake Sanderson (Defenceman – US NTDP)
  6. Anaheim Ducks – Jamie Drysdale (Defenceman – Erie Otters)
  7. New Jersey Devils – Alexander Holtz (Forward – Djurgardens)
  8. Buffalo Sabres – Jack Quinn (Forward – Ottawa 67’s)
  9. Minnesota Wild – Marco Rossi (Forward – Ottawa 67’s)
  10. Winnipeg Jets – Cole Perfetti (Forward – Saginaw Spirit)
  11. Nashville Predators – Yaroslav Askarov (Goalie – SKA St. Petersburg)
  12. Florida Panthers – Anton Lundell (Forward – HIFK)
  13. Carolina Hurricanes (From Toronto Maple Leafs) – Seth Jarvis (Forward – Portland Winterhawks)
  14. Edmonton Oilers – Dylan Holloway (Forward – Wisconsin Badgers)
  15. Toronto Maple Leafs (From Pittsburgh Penguins) – Rodion Amirov (Forward – Salavat Yulaev UFA)
  16. Montreal Canadiens – Kaiden Guhle (Defenceman – Montreal Canadiens)
  17. Chicago Blackhawks – Lucas Reichel (Forward – Eisbaren Berlin)
  18. New Jersey Devils (From Arizona Coyotes) – Dawson Mercer (Forward – Chicoutimi Sagueneens)
  19. New York Rangers (From Calgary Flames) – Braden Schneider (Defenceman – Brandon Wheat Kings)
  20. New Jersey Devils (From Vancouver Canucks via Tampa Bay Lightning) – Shakir Mukhamadulin (Defenceman – Salavat Yulaev UFA)
  21. Columbus Blue Jackets – Yegor Chinakov (Forward – Avangard Omsk)
  22. Washington Capitals (From Carolina Hurricanes via New York Rangers and Calgary Flames) – Hendrix Lapierre (Forward – Chicoutimi Sagueneens)
  23. Philadelphia Flyers – Tyson Foerster (Forward – Barrie Colts)
  24. Calgary Flames (Via Washington Capitals) – Connor Zary (Forward – Kamloops Blazers)
  25. Colorado Avalanche – Justin Barron (Defenceman – Halifax Mooseheads)
  26. St. Louis Blues – Jake Neighbours (Forward – Edmonton Oil Kings)
  27. Anaheim Ducks (From Boston Bruins) – Jacob Perreault (Forward – Sarnia Sting)
  28. Ottawa Senators (From New York Islanders) – Ridly Greig (Forward – Brandon Wheat Kings)
  29. Vegas Golden Knights – Brendan Brisson (Forward – Chicago Steel)
  30. Dallas Stars – Mavrik Bourque (Forward – Shawinigan Cataractes)
  31. San Jose Sharks (From Tampa Bay Lightning) – Ozzy Wiesblatt (Forward – Prince Albert Raiders)

Rounds 2-7 of the 2020 NHL Draft will take place on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.