Seven players from the Ontario Hockey League, including two from both the Soo Greyhounds and London Knights, were among the 31 skaters who were chosen in the first round of the 2018 National Hockey League draft.
Greyhounds selected in the first round were forward Barrett Hayton, who went fifth overall to the Arizona Coyotes, and defenseman Rasmus Sandin, who went 29th to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
It marked the first time since 1982 when centre Ron Francis, who went fourth overall to the erstwhile Hartford Whalers, and defenseman Steve Smith, who was taken 16th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers, that two Greyhounds went in the first round of the same NHL draft.
As the Soo had two players taken in the first round of this year’s NHL draft, so too did London as defenseman Evan Bouchard went 10th overall to the Edmonton Oilers and forward Liam Foudy went 18th to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Others from the OHL who became NHL first rounders at this year’s draft were forward Andrei Svechnikov of the Barrie Colts, who went second overall to the Carolina Hurricanes, forward Ty Dellandrea of the Flint Firebirds, who went 13th overall to the Dallas Stars, and defenseman Ryan Merkley, picked 21st by the San Jose Sharks.