Americans Select Russian Goalie & Forward in CHL Import DradtPosted: Updated:
KENNEWICK, WA - Tri-City Americans Governor/General Manager Bob Tory announced today that the club has selected both 19-year-old goaltender Alexander Pechurski with their first pick (55th overall) and 19-year-old forward Sergei Drozd with their second pick (71st overall) in the Canadian Hockey League's annual Import Draft.
Pechurski, a 6'0", 187-pound netminder of Magnitogorsk, Russia, played for Magnitogorsk this past season. The Pittsburgh Penguins fifth-round selection (150th overall) in the 2008 NHL Draft, Pechurski competed as part of Russia's last two teams at the U-18 World Junior Championships, including their silver medal performance in 2008. In that series, he appeared in five games, posting a 3.06 goals against average and a 2-1 record.
"With our situation at goaltending, we found it important to add depth at this position," explained Tory. "We had a chance to talk to Pittsburgh and they indicated that they would like (Alex) to come to North America next season to continue his development. After talking to him, (Alex) also indicated a desire to come to the States. We hope to see him at our training camp after the Penguins training camp in the fall."
"Alex still needs to get a release from his club team before joining our hockey team. But, all indications suggest that this won't be an issue," Tory continued. "We look forward to watching him compete with Brett (Martyniuk), Drew (Owsley) and Warren (Shymko) for the goaltending positions on our hockey club."
Pechurski was also part of the Russian Selects squad that competed in the 2008 ADT Canada/Russia Challenge. He appeared in two games, including a 2-1 loss to Team WHL, collecting a 4.02 goals against average and a 0.906 save percentage.
Tory described Pechurski as a goaltender with "natural, athletic ability that is solid on his feet."
After a deal with the Prince George Cougars earlier today, the Americans then selected Drozd with their second round (71st overall) pick.
At 6'0, 175-pounds, the Minsk, Belarus native split time between three teams this past season, Dynamo Minsk of the KHL, its farm team Keramin and Shinnik Bobruisk, both of the Belarusian League. The winger appeared in only 11 games for the Dynamo, but was a key member during Keramin's league championship run, registering eight goals and 18 points in 30 games. Drozd also had a strong showing for Team Belarus at the 2008 World Junior Championships - Division 1, where he finished as the tournament's top goal scorer by notching seven goals in five contests.
"I had an opportunity to see Sergei play in Camrose at Jr. A Challenge back in November. He is a highly skilled forward, who played on a weak Belarus team, and competed very hard and put up good numbers," continued Tory. "(Sergei) was a teammate of current Prince Albert Raider Igor Revenko and comes highly recommended. We look forward to him joining our team this upcoming season."