By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
Three members of the Oshawa Generals stood at the podium as selections in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
Right-winger Serron Noel pulled on the jersey of the Florida Panthers as the team’s second-round pick, 34th overall.
Noel, a Guelph-born Ottawa native, notched 28 goals and 25 assists during the 2017-18 season, more than doubling his point total from his rookie year.
In the final NHL Central Scouting rankings before this past weekend’s draft, the 6’5, 205 lbs Noel was pegged 10th overall amongst North American skaters.
He was described by scouts as a “big, strong power forward who demonstrates good hockey intelligence and a soft touch around the net; has “puck on a string” abilities; possesses a multi-dimensional skill set where he can make plays on the rush while using his size, strength and pull away speed to beat defenders wide or out of corners [and] could have the best puck protection game in this draft class, a rare and valuable blend of size, skill and speed.”
In a post-draft interview with Canadian Hockey League TV, Noel described the feeling of hearing his name called as “unbelievable.”
He joked that he really wanted “to go somewhere warm, so I’m really glad Florida picked me.”
Noel says he feels if he adds some size, works on his overall game and continues to train at 100 per cent, he could be a “dominant player in the NHL” within the next two to three years.
The possibility of reuniting with former Gens teammate Riley Stillman, who was traded to the Hamilton Bulldogs last season and selected by Florida in the 2016 Entry Draft, is exciting for Noel.
“Me and him were good buddies in Oshawa. I’m really excited to get my future started here with him,” Noel states.
Centreman Allan McShane was the fourth-round pick of the Montreal Canadiens, 97th overall.
McShane, a 5’11, 185 lbs Collingwood native, was second in scoring for the Gens last season with 20 goals and 45 assists while accumulating only 16 minutes in penalties.
He noted a sense of anticipation on draft day as he was unsure of when he would be selected.
“It only happens once, and I am happy to finally have my name called,” he told reporters during a post-draft interview.
McShane, who was traded to the Generals from the Erie Otters in January 2017, says he feels Oshawa has been a better fit for him personally.
“I was more of an apprentice there [Erie],” he said. “In Oshawa, I can lead the pack and hopefully bring a championship there.”
He called his selection by NHL’s most successful franchise in terms of Stanley Cup wins “surreal.”
“I’m happy to end up where I did,” he stated.
Swiss defenseman Nico Gross was taken only four picks after McShane, 101st overall by the New York Rangers.
In 58 games during the 2017-18 season, he scored four goals and 10 assists.
Left-winger Renars Krastenbergs and defenseman William Ennis were both draft-eligible but were not selected.