Red Deer Rebels defenceman Christoffer Sedoff was its 25th overall pick in the 2019 CHL Import Draft last year. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Red Deer Rebels defenceman Christoffer Sedoff was its 25th overall pick in the 2019 CHL Import Draft last year. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Global uncertainty makes import draft a unique one for Red Deer Rebels

Rebels hold 18th pick for June 30th draft

Shaun Sutter may be listed as assistant general manager of the Red Deer Rebels, but this summer, ahead of the 2020 CHL Import Draft, his job feels more like that of a private investigator.

While the import draft, which is set for Tuesday, is almost always a roll of the dice, the Rebels have had relative success with bringing over European players in the last half-decade.

From Michael Spacek to Kristan Reichel and Alex Alexeyev, as well as Christoffer Sedoff last year, this time of year has always been a bit of a coup for the franchise.

“We’re excited in the sense that we have a history of picking some good players and we know we’re going to make our team better. Until draft day comes and goes we won’t know what that looks like,” Sutter said on Friday.

“We have a good relationship with agents and if anything, Brent is probably going to be upset with me when he gets the phone bill. Everybody knows that Red Deer is a good organization and we develop players and get them ready for pro… We’re pretty fortunate that we return our whole team basically… we can basically add in any area.”

This season, without the World U18 Hockey Championships, which serves as the main scouting tool for most CHL teams, it’s been a lot of phone calls and video sessions for Sutter.

Along with a global pandemic causing chaos with next seasons’ hockey calendar, safe to say it’s been harder than usual trying to suss out who will fit best and if they will actually come to Red Deer.

“The import draft is always extremely challenging when things are normal. Let alone with a worldwide pandemic, you have obviously travel, immigration issues. There’s uncertainty for the agents, players and teams in Europe when different leagues are starting and all those things. All and all, there’s a lot of uncertainty,” Sutter said.

“We’re always well informed and you try to do your homework, we’re pretty confident we’re going to make our team better… The options we have now, as opposed to the ones we had four months ago are different due to the pandemic and players being worried about everything.”

On top of all that, the NHL Draft, which typically happens a week before the import draft, hasn’t happened yet and there’s no date set as of now. That usually gives CHL teams some direction about which players want to be a part of their organization, through connections with NHL teams and their player development staff.

NHL teams will sometimes advise European players to head to the CHL, in order to maximize their development.

Red Deer will pick in the 18th spot on Tuesday for the Import Draft, which will technically be the 14th selection because four teams ahead of them have already passed with their two import slots filled.

Sutter said typically if you pick higher up you have an idea of what’s going to happen, but this year, with so much uncertainty, they’re just hoping they can find a player who will make the team better.

“There’s a lot of plan a and plan b scenarios, where there’s a lot of things that aren’t concrete,” he said.

“You don’t just want to take a guy, just to take a guy. You have criteria of things you want them to have accomplished… how do they fit into the team. We’ve always looked at it like you’re trading for a player that could provide a big piece of your team.”

Red Deer’s lone import for the 2020-21 season as it stands is defenceman Christoffer Sedoff, who will likely be selected in the 2020 NHL Draft, whenever it is eventually held.

Some names that might be available for the Rebels with their pick include Russian forward Fyodor Svechkov, who had six goals in eight games at the World Under 17 Hockey Challenge in the fall. Simon Robertsson of Sweden is a big winger that posted three points in five games at that same tournament. Six-foot-two Slovakian forward Alex Geci might also be an option, he played in the Finnish junior system last year and is eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft.

Danila Yurov, a big Russian forward who the International Scouting Service has ranked ninth, might slip to the Rebels. A pair of defencemen they could look at include Artyom Grushnikov, who played for Russia at the World Junior A Challenge last year and Stanislav Svozil of the Czech Republic, who is eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft.

The Draft will be held on June 30 at 9 a.m. and can be followed at chl.ca/draft/2020.



Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Rebels

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Premier Jason Kenney condemns Joe Biden’s plan to scrap the Keystone XL pipeline expansion, in a Jan. 18, 2021 story. (Photo by Paul Taillon/Office of the Premier)
Kenney, Moe condemn Biden’s plan to scrap Keystone XL on Day 1 of presidency

Kenney prepared to ‘use all legal avenues available’

A member of staff at the university hospital injects the Moderna vaccine against COVID-19 into a patient in Duesseldorf, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. (Federico Gambarini/dpa via AP)
WHO chief lambasts vaccine profits, demands elderly go first

One poor country received a mere 25 vaccine doses

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19.  (File photo)
Gov’t reports two more COVID-19 deaths in Red Deer on Sunday

Nineteen new deaths, including two in Red Deer, were reported by the… Continue reading

Dwayne Buckle, 40 of Red Deer finished a 1,638-kilometre walk, in honour of his family. The 12-week, 82 day-journey wrapped up in Port Hardy, B.C. on Monday. Facebook photo
Red Deer man completes 1,638 km hike for cancer research

Dwayne Buckle, a Red Deer firefighter returned home Friday after his 12-week journey

Facebook/ The Open Door 24/7 Integrated Response Hub- Wetaskiwin.
Wetaskiwin residents show support for 24/7 Integrated Response Hub

Wetaskiwin residents and City Council members showed support for Hub with positive signs.

Indonesian soldiers distribute relief goods for those affected by the earthquake at a stadium in Mamuju, West Sulawesi, Indonesia, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. Rescuers retrieved more bodies from the rubble of homes and buildings toppled by the 6.2 magnitude earthquake while military engineers managed to reopen ruptured roads to clear access for aid relief goods. (AP Photo/Daeng Mansur)
Aid effort intensifies after Indonesia quake that killed 84

Nearly 20,000 were survivors moved to shelters and more than 900 people were injured

Deeply covered with snow are the trees at the Grenzadler in Oberhof, Germany, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. Two World Cups are taking place in the town on the Rennsteig this weekend. In front of empty crowds, the best lugers and biathletes compete for World Cup points. (Martin Schutt/dpa via AP)
Freezing weather hits much of Europe, from Poland to Turkey

A skier in Switzerland died after buried by an avalanche on the weekend

Canada forward Cyle Larin, left, vies for the ball with Mexico defender Nestor Araujo during the second half of a CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer match Wednesday, June 19, 2019, at Mile High Stadium in Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, David Zalubowski
Canadian forward Cyle Larin plays provider in Besiktas win over Istanbul rival

Larin into the game having scored six times in his previous three outings

Skip Brendan Bottcher celebrates his victory over Team Koe in the men’s final of the Humpty’s Champions Cup in Saskatoon, Sask., on April 28, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Matt Smith
Curling Alberta decision will have ripple effect on potential wild-card teams

National federation adds two more wild-card teams to the field at Scotties Tournament of Hearts and Tim Hortons Brier

A cat named Willow is shown in this recent handout photo. Victoria firefighter Capt. Tim Hanley says using a jackhammer and other home repair tools to save a cat stuck in a tiny basement drainpipe ranks as the strangest rescue call he's been on in his 20-year career. Hanley says he and three other firefighters spent more than two hours using sledgehammers and a jackhammer to break through Victoria homeowner Emma Hutchinson's concrete basement floor to free Willow, a nine-month-old kitten. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Twitter, City of Victoria
Victoria firefighters use homeowners’ jackhammer to rescue cat trapped in tiny pipe

VICTORIA — A Victoria firefighter says using a jackhammer and other home… Continue reading

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party: O’Toole

OTTAWA — Federal Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says there is “no place… Continue reading

Most Read