Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Hurricanes Select Axel Blomqvist in 20120 CHL Import Draft

Hurricanes defenceman Albin Blomqvist will be playing with his younger brother when the new Western Hockey League season gets underway in a couple of months.

The Lethbridge Hurricanes selected forward Axel Blomqvist with the 17th overall pick in the 2012 CHL Import Draft Wednesday.  Blomqvist is a big player, 6 foot 5 and 200 pounds and will certainly add some much-needed size up front for this team.

In 20 games in the U-18 Swedish Elite League last season, Blomqvist has 19 goals, 12 assists for 31 points.

I spoke with Head Coach and GM Rich Preston after he made the pick:

Preston:  "I've seen some of tape of Axel.  He's a really good skater for that size and at 16 years old.  The Swedish Under 18 Elite League mostly consists of 94 born players.  I looked at it the other day, Axel was the 2nd or 3rd leading scorer among 95 born players in that league last season.  The Blomqvist family has 5 boys and they are very excited to have Albin and Axel playing together in the WHL.  The brothers and very tight.  We were keeping our fingers crossed that we would get him at number 17.  The big thing for us is that it gives us size which we can use up front.  He's also a 95 born player, which really fits into out high-end age group of 94's, 95's, and 96's.  You don't have to worry about the language barrier with Swedes either and I think the transition having his brother playing here will be a lot easier for him."



  1. Sounds like great pick. The transition should be easy with his brother here and he has the size the team needs up front. Hopefully between all the extra overage players the Canes have and draft picks they can put a trade together to get one or two more skilled forwards...still feels thin up front.

  2. Sounds like another lazy Euro pick by Rich. Really, the best player at the time was coincidently the brother of a Hurricane. No wonder other teams kill us on the import side. Pick may turn out good but really he was the best available at that time? I think the Canes lack the resources to compete with the big boys in the import market.

  3. A lazy pick? Maybe the pick was made because of the player's pedigree, the fact he is an excellent skater, big kid and only 16. Maybe it is because he is not a risk like most Euro's are. Maybe for the Hurricanes he was the best player available or maybe it was because they had their sights set on him a while back.

    You are right on one thing, we do get "killed" by other teams on the import side. But like most of the smaller market teams, like most of the community owned teams,we can compete with the scouting systems of Edmonton, Calgary, Kelowna, Vancouver and Portland. They are all big budget teams, two of them have NHL scouting systems. There is no such thing as a "level" playing field in the WHL, actually in the CHL. Allegedly there is more than one club in the WHL, the OHL and the "Q", that offer special "incentives" for their Euros.

    Interestingly, the Canes did not use their 77th pick and traded it to Medicine Hat. Bezuch was let go by the Hurricanes, and was claimed in the 2nd round by the Kitchener Rangers. The Kootenay Ice who have not had a Euro in the last two seasons, picked two this time.


  4. That should be......can't compete with the scouting systems of...


  5. Axel is an amazing skater and player, he is an amazing addition to the team :)