By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
Dreams came true for a pair of Oshawa Generals over the weekend.
Centreman Jack Studnicka and defenceman Matthew Brassard both heard their names called at the NHL Entry Draft in Chicago on June 23 and 24 with Stunicka become one of the newest members of the Boston Bruins organization and Brassard being picked up by the Vancouver Canucks.
Both players were in Chicago for the draft alongside a contingent of Oshawa Generals staff, including Roger Hunt, the general manager and VP, who said it was a great experience for the players who got drafted, and also a great opportunity for him to make some connections.
He says Studnicka being drafted 53rd overall is a testament to his play this season.
“Being drafted in the second round is a real credit to how his season went and how he did,” Hunt says.
This past season, Studnicka, an 18-year-old Tecumseh native, managed 18 goals and 34 assists for 52 points, doubling his point production from his rookie season.
And if a second round selection wasn’t enough, Hunt says seeing one of his players drafted by an Original Six team is quite significant.
“I don’t think that’s lost on Jack,” he says.
After the draft, Studnicka tweeted his reaction, thanking all those who helped him along the way.
“Such an honour to be drafted by the @NHLBruins. Dream come true, thank you to everyone who made it possible! Excited for the future!” he wrote.
As for Brassard, he may have had to wait a bit longer to hear his name called, being selected in the seventh round, 188th overall, but it was no less meaningful for the 18-year-old defenceman.
“Thrilled to be a part of the @Canucks organization,” Brassard tweeted. “So thankful for this opportunity and can’t wait to get started. Dream come true.”
Brassard was acquired last season by the Gens in a trade with the Barrie Colts. Hunt says that while it may have played a part, Brassard has always been a talented player.
“When he came here he got a new lease on life and certainly Bob and Nathan put him in good spots to succeed,” Hunt says.
A final member of the Generals’ organization was also drafted over the weekend as Eeli Tolvanen, an import draft pickup of the Gens in 2016, was selected in the first round, 30th overall by the Nashville Predators.
Despite being drafted by Oshawa, Tolvanen had previously made a commitment to play for Boston College. However, questions began to swirl in recent weeks when it was announced the Finnish prospect didn’t meet the admission requirements at the college.
Hunt says the team will continue to be in discussions with Tolvanen about playing in Oshawa, but there’s a lot that remains unknown.
“Being a first rounder, he could be in Nasvhille for all we know,” Hunt says.
This season’s CHL Import Draft takes place today (June 28) with the Gens set to make one pick. Import Renars Krastenbergs is also set to return to the Gens roster this upcoming season.