Rebels add Russian in import draft

Size and youth are two of the qualities that stand out in the Red Deer Rebels import draft selection. The 16-year-old Alexander Alexeyev, a defenceman, was selected 49th overall on Tuesday in the Canadian Hockey League import draft. He stands six-foot-three and weighs 180 pounds.

Size and youth are two of the qualities that stand out in the Red Deer Rebels import draft selection.

The 16-year-old Alexander Alexeyev, a defenceman, was selected 49th overall on Tuesday in the Canadian Hockey League import draft. He stands six-foot-three and weighs 180 pounds.

Not eligible to be drafted into the National Hockey League until 2018, the St. Petersburg, Russia, native has represented his country at numerous different tournaments.

He was selected to Team Russia at the 2016 Ice Hockey U18 World Championships in April where he registered two assists in five games.

At the World U17 Hockey Challenge in 2015 he had four assists in six games for Team Russia.

Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter said Alexeyev is a really good skating, puck moving defenceman.

Alexeyev played the 2015-16 season with his hometown Serebryanye Lvy St. Petersburg in the Russian Junior Hockey League (Molodezhnaya Hokkeinaya Liga). In 20 games he had a goal and an assists.

He was selected in the first round, third overall, by the Metallurg Novokuznetsk in the Kontinental Hockey League draft this year. Players are eligible for the KHL draft in the year they turn 17, Alexeyev will turn 17 on Nov. 15.

Alexeyev joins Michael Spacek as the Rebels two import players, non-North Americans. Russian Ivan Nikolishin, who scored 31 goals and 51 assists in 72 games for the Rebels in the 2015-16 Western Hockey League season, is expected to seek professional hockey opportunities.

The Rebels did not use their second import draft pick.

WHL teams selected 24 players in the 2016 CHL import draft.

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