The Canes will have the 3rd overall and 63rd overall selections. The club will be picking two players, as GM Brad Robson released defenceman Kris Khenkel this last week. That means the German-born Belarusian player will go back into this year's Import Draft and can be picked up by any team in CHL.
I spoke with Brad a few days ago to get his take on this draft
Pat: Brad, the 3rd and 63rd overall picks on July 2 for this club. What do you expect and what direction will you go?
Robson: "Well at number three we know we will be getting a very good hockey player. We've been doing our due diligence, working hard, dealing with agents and European scouts. We've been spending probably two or three hours each day lately speaking with agents to see which players are willing and wanting to come over to the CHL. There's a lot of leg work that goes into this. With the way our hockey club is and with all the depth we have on the back end, there's a very strong possibility we will be picking a forward."
Pat: So with this forward, what type of player are you looking for specifically?
Robson: "The biggest thing we've noticed this year is there are a lot of Russians and Czechs that are not under contract. There's been a trend in Finland and Sweden where their ice hockey federations are signing all their players at 17 years old to 3 year contracts to fulfil their obligations to junior hockey. We are working with lots of teams and agents. Again at the forward position their are some heigh-end Russians and Czechs. Fortunately the guys we have listed high and the people we've talked to have some size and there are also some smaller guys with speed and skill we could consider taking in that second round."
Pat: What's the situation with Kris Khenkel?
Robson: "Kris Khenkel was released from our hockey club this past week. He is now eligible to go back into the CHL Draft and be selected by another club or he could go back and play junior in Belarus. So we will picking two Europeans and there's a strong possibly both will be forwards."
Pat: How big is it to make sure you have strong connections overseas when it comes to securing quality players in the Import Draft?
Robson: "it's huge! I think some agents think we are probably becoming a pain in the butt, but you know we want to make sure things don't turn out like the Khenkel situation where a player is under contract. We are dealing with things to make sure the players we do bring over are free and has no obligations or ties to a contract back home. That's probably the biggest thing."