Red Deer Rebels forward Kristian Reichel, the team’s 2017 CHL Import draft pick, is not expected to be back with the team for the 2018-2019 season. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Rebels to make pick at Import Draft on Thursday

Red Deer will pick in the 17th spot on Thursday

The Red Deer Rebels will make at least one pick in Thursday’s CHL Import Draft pick.

Currently the Rebels have two import players on their roster – last year’s pick forward Kristian Reichel and 2016 pick defenceman Alex Alexeyev.

If the Rebels were to keep Reichel, he would occupy one spot as a 20-year-old player, and another as an import on their roster next season.

Red Deer Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter said it’s unlikely Reichel will return to the team in 2018-2019. The Czech forward wasn’t selected in last weekend’s NHL Entry Draft and is currently attending Development Camp with the Winnipeg Jets.

“Reichel is a 20-year-old, but we’re not expecting him back,” Sutter said.

Since defenceman Alex Alexeyev was picked in the first round of the NHL Draft, the Rebels could, in theory, pick a second player in the Import Draft.

The Rebels have a crowded blueline with all six defencemen from last season expected to return. Alexeyev, Dawson Barteaux, Jacob Herauf, Ethan Sakowich, Carson Sass, and Hunter Donohoe should all be back with the club. The team also has overage defender Colin Paradis in the mix for a roster spot.

Despite the situation on the backend, Sutter said they’ll take the best player available at the 17th spot in the draft.

Red Deer also owns the 77th pick.

“Best player available. That’s always our mindset going into the European draft,” Sutter said.

“Sean (Sutter) has a pretty thorough list and we know is coming and who isn’t. He spent a lot of time on since the Bantam Draft was over.”

The Rebels have had a good history recently in the CHL Import Draft. Recent picks include Reichel (2017), Alexeyev (2016), Michael Spacek (2015) and Patrik Bartosak (2011).

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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