SAGINAW, Mich. – Seven Saginaw Spirit players hope to have their dreams realized and hear their named called at the 2017 NHL Draft taking place in Chicago, Illinois on June 23-24 at the United Center, home of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks.
Since the franchise’s move from North Bay to Saginaw prior to the 2002-03 season, the Spirit have had 50 players selected in the NHL Draft, including four players in 2016. Filip Hronek was selected in the second round by the Detroit Red Wings. Markus Niemelainen was selected in the third round by the Edmonton Oilers, while Keaton Middleton (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Evan Cormier (New Jersey Devils) were selected in the fourth round.
In the franchise’s 16-year history, the most Spirit players to have been taken in an NHL Draft was five. The franchise accomplished this feat in the NHL Draft four times, including back-to-back-to-back seasons from 2004-2006.
Historically, the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings have selected the most players from the Saginaw Spirit. Both franchises having selected five Spirit alums with Chicago taking Peter Flache (2000), Tyson Kellerman (2002), Mitch Maunu (2004), Brandon Saad (2011), and Garret Ross (2012). The Red Wings called on Tyler Haskins (2004), Jan Mursak (2006), Zack Torquato (2007), Jake Paterson (2012), and Filip Hronek (2016).
Both the Buffalo Sabers and the Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets have taken four Spirit players each.
In each of the previous 15 NHL Drafts, at least one Saginaw Spirit player has been picked.
In the 2011 NHL Draft, the Dallas Stars selected Jamie Oleksiak in the 1st round, 14th overall making him the highest Spirit draft pick in franchise history.
This season, seven Spirit players are eligible to hear their named called at the NHL Draft including Cole Coskey, Brady Gilmour, Brock Hill, Gianluca Fuoco, Kyle Bollers, Hayden Davis, and Brendan Bonello.
Cole Coskey is the highest ranked Saginaw Spirit player at 150th on the final rankings of the NHL Central Scouting List.
The first round of the 2017 NHL Draft will be broadcast on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) on Friday, June 23rd from 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. (ET). The NHL Network will carry round two-through-seven on Saturday, June 24th from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. In Canada, Sportsnet will televise the entire 2017 NHL Draft.
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