Through their 20 seasons of existence, the Vancouver Giants have had 33 players drafted to the NHL from their program and if all goes according to plan, that number will be increasing within the next 48 hours. The 2021 NHL Draft is upon us, and starting at 5:00 PM (PT) tonight, 32 NHL teams will start making picks that will shape the futures of their respective NHL franchises. To get you ready for the weekend, here’s a Vancouver Giants NHL Draft Primer.
The Two Firsts…
In the 2002 NHL Draft (held in Toronto, ON) the Vancouver Giants had a pair of players selected:
- Robin Kovar (Round 4, 123rd Overall) to Edmonton.
- Marian Havel (Round 6, 179th Overall) to Washington.
All these years later, Kovar and Havel can lay claim to the fact that they were the first two ever Vancouver Giants drafted to the NHL.
Two years later, defenceman Mark Fistric became the first ever Vancouver Giant to be selected in the first round of the NHL team. The Dallas Stars drafted Fistric 28th overall that season, and he’d then go on to play 325 career NHL games with Dallas, Edmonton and Anaheim.
He was the first of five Vancouver Giants (Fistric, Gilbert Brule, Jon Blum, Evander Kane and Bowen Byram) to be selected in the first round.
Mark Fistric also captained the Vancouver Giants to their 2005-06 WHL championship victory. In 214 career games with the G-Men, Fistric compiled 11 goals, 46 assists and 453 penalty minutes.
G-Men Make a Splash in 2007…
Fresh off their 2007 Memorial Cup Championship victory on home soil in Vancouver, the Vancouver Giants were ready to make more waves at the Draft which was held in Columbus.
Four Vancouver Giants would go onto be selected within the first 91 picks of the entire draft:
- Jon Blum (Round 1, 23rd Overall) to Nashville
- Michal Repik (Round 2, 40th Overall) to Florida
- Spencer Machacek (Round 3, 67th Overall) to Atlanta
- Tyson Sexsmith (Round 3, 91st Overall) to San Jose
To this day, the 2007 draft saw the “most” Vancouver Giants selected.
Kane Makes History in 2009…
In 2009 at the draft in Montreal, Giants forward Evander Kane became the highest Vancouver Giant ever selected in the NHL Draft when he went fourth overall to the Atlanta Thrashers.
Since then, Kane has gone on to play 769 career NHL games (Atlanta, Winnipeg, Buffalo, San Jose) where he’s compiled 264 goals and 506 total points.
Welcome Home Benny…
In 2016 at the draft in Buffalo, Vancouver Giants captain Tyler Benson was hoping to hear his name called in Round 1. Unfortunately it didn’t play out that way. Yet early on Day 2 of the draft, Tyler Benson’s NHL dream would be realized when his hometown Edmonton Oilers made him the 32nd overall selection.
Tyler Benson became the fourth Vancouver Giant ever selected by the Edmonton Oilers. Have you ever wondered which NHL teams have had a history of choosing Vancouver Giants at the NHL Draft?
- Edmonton Oilers – 4 (Benson, Houck, Musil, Kovar)
- Calgary Flames – 4 (Roman, Kulak, Bouma, Watt)
- Colorado Avalanche – 3 (Byram, Miner, Geertsen)
- Florida Panthers – 2 (Sourdif, Repik)
- Arizona Coyotes – 2 (Tendeck, Martinook)
- Columbus Blue Jackets – 2 (Brule, Regner)
- Washington Capitals – 2 (Kannok Leipert, Havel)
- Atlanta Thrashers – 2 (Kane, Machacek)
Byram and Miner Stick Together in 2019…
During the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver, defenceman Bowen Byram was selected by the Avs with the fourth overall selection.
Then on Day 2 in the seventh and final round, the Colorado Avalanche once again stayed local with the selection of goaltender Trent Miner.
After back-to-back MVP seasons with the Giants, Bowen Byram made his NHL debut last season with Colorado. And shortly after the 2020-21 WHL season concluded, Trent Miner inked a three-year entry-level contract with the Avalanche.
Sourdif Heads to Sunrise in 2020…
On October 7th, 2020 Justin Sourdif became the most recent Vancouver Giant selected in the NHL Draft. The Florida Panthers used their third-round pick to select Sourdif, who’d then go on to become the B.C. Division’s Top Player in 2020-21. Sourdif led the team and the division in scoring with 34 points (11G, 23A). Earlier this week Sourdif was invited to attend Hockey Canada’s Summer Development Camp for their National Junior team.
It shouldn’t be a matter of “if” but a matter of “when” 2003-born forward Zack Ostapchuk joins the ranks of “Giants who’ve been drafted.”
In 22 games last season, Ostapchuk posted seven goals and nine assists for 16 points. Three of his 12 goals were game-winners, and five of his goals were “first goals.” Back in late May, Ostapchuk was ranked as the #60 skater in NHL Central Scouting’s Final Draft Rankings List for all North American-born skaters.
“I try not to give the rankings a ton of attention. But when I saw the list it was cool to see how much I moved up.” – Zack Ostapchuk speaking on the NHL Central Scouting Final Ranking.
“I’ve been talking to quite a few teams heading into the draft. It’s a busy time of year, and I’m just looking forward to the experience.” – Zack Ostapchuk speaking to the amount of chatter he’s having with NHL teams.
You can follow along with the entire 2021 NHL Draft here.