The 2021 National Hockey League draft didn’t go as expected for Chilliwack Chiefs alum Sasha Teleguine, but it worked out well for a former teammate.
While Teleguine didn’t hear his name called by a big-league team, despite lighting up the scoreboard during the BCHL pod season, Ayrton Martino was a third round selection (73rd overall) of the Dallas Stars. Martino was with the Chiefs for extended training camp games in the fall, and led Chilliwack with 10 points in eight outings.
When it looked like the BCHL might not squeeze in a season due to COVID, the 18-year-old Toronto product went south to join the USHL’s Omaha Lancers, and produced 18 goals and 56 points in 38 games.
“It’s a great honor to be selected by such a great organization,” Martino told NHL.com’s Kyle Shohara. “I know Tyler Seguin skates at the rink near my house. I saw him a couple times going to the rink. It’s a great organization, and I’m super proud to be selected by them.”
Thirteen former, current or future BCHLers were ranked by the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau (CSB) heading into the NHL draft, but only four were selected.
Kent Johnson was going to be picked no matter what. Rated third among all North American skaters by CSB, Johnson was seen as a sure-fire top 10 selection, and went fifth overall to the Columbus Blue Jackets. The former Trail Smoke Eater and current Michigan (NCAA) Wolverine became the second-highest BCHL player ever taken at the draft. Kyle Turris of the Burnaby (now Coquitlam) Express was taken third overall by the Phoenix Coyotes in 2007.
Columbus has a history of taking BCHL talent in the first round. The Blue Jackets grabbed former Quesnel Millionaire Gilbert Brule in 2005 and former Penticton Vee Ryan Johansen in 2010.
Salmon Arm Silverbacks defenceman Joaquim Lemay went in the fourth round (119th overall) to the Washington Capitals. Lemay vastly out-performed his pre-draft projection. The 18-year-old was the 224th-ranked North American skater by CSB.
Lemay is the first player the Capitals have selected from the BCHL since taking former Burnaby Express defenceman Keith Seabrook in the second round of the 2006 draft.
Jack Bar, a blueliner who spent time with Penticton’s Vees last fall before jumping to the USHL’s Chicago Steel, went to Dallas in the fifth round, 138th overall.