CHL import draft, OHL style: High NHL picks Andre Burakovsky, Jacob De La Rose go to Erie Otters, Windsor Spitfires

Buzzing The Net

The shadiest day in sports is well underway, with general managers, media and fans buying into the social construct that the Canadian Hockey League import draft is really a draft. (Remember, kids, it's an auction.)

Buzzing The Net will do its level best to stay abreast of developments throughout the day as it pertains to each league. Early on, the Erie Otters made the biggest splash by taking an 18-year-old Swede for the second consecutive year, nabbing Washington Capitals first-rounder André Burakovsky with their No. 5 overall choice:

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Here's a mix of news, notes and nuggets:

— Burakovsky, by virtue of being a NHL first-rounder, was the first big name to go when he was taken by Erie. If he reports — Burakovsky mentioned major junior as a possibility on draft day, for what it's worth — he automatically becomes 16-year-old phenom Connor McDavid's new left wing. (Gee, you think?) Keep in mind, it is still at the 'if' stage. The one flag on reports about Burakovsky is consistency, so perhaps being matched with McDavid and fellow 16-year-old Dylan Strome could be a hell of a motivator.

The rationale for an 18-year-old Swede who's already a high pick to come over is that it's a chance to adapt to North American hockey. Plus the NHL organization has the flexibility to assign him to the AHL or move him down to major junior if need be, like the Carolina Hurricanes did with Victor Rask across the past two seasons.

— Windsor Spitfires GM Warren Rychel layered his selections at No. 11 and 20, first taking Montreal Canadiens high second-rounder Jacob De La Rose and then going for 17-year-old Russian forward Nikita Yazkov. De La Rose has options, to be sure,

The Canadiens could have two early picks end up in major junior, since everyone seems to be thinking that first-rounder Michael McCarron eschews playing at Western Michigan University to join the London Knights.

Windsor needs some skilled complements to 17-year-old forward Joshua Ho-Sang, who is earmarked as their offensive centrepiece. That would explain the Yazkov pick.

— Switzerland's consensus best prospect for the 2014 draft, check-the-birth-certificate defenceman Phil Baltisberger, went to the Guelph Storm. Baltisberger played with pending Storm grad Tanner Richard (a Tampa Bay Lightning second-rounder who should be turning pro at age 20 this season) on Team Switzerland at the past two world junior championships, so there's a connection. The Storm also used their second pick on another Zurich Lions player, 5-foot-10, 160-pound centre Pius Suter.

— The Barrie Colts making Daniel Gibl the first netminder selected and quite likely the last for the foreseeable future, well, that works as a metaphorical one-digit salute to the import goalie ban. The plan has its merits, but Barrie has good reason to be among the nays after receiving two stellar seasons from the Rhineland Roadblock, Mathias Niederberger. (Niederberger earning an AHL gig with the Los Angeles Kings organization makes a canard of the argument that import 'tendys are hired guns who return to Europe after finishing their junior tenure.)

Gibl is listed at 5-foot-9. He looks much taller; in fact, he's 6-foot-2.

— New York Islanders fifth-rounder Victor Crus-Rydberg went No. 41 overall to the Plymouth Whalers, where he could replace countryman Rickard Rakell, a 20-year-old Anaheim Ducks hopeful. Crus-Rydberg is a two-way player, perhaps somewhat in the same vein as Rakell; he sustained two brain injuries last season and that might have factored into his ability to be consistent and provide scouts with a clearer picture of his potential. That's why he dropped down to the Isles.

— The Ottawa 67's simply went for need by taking 6-foot-2¾, 205-pound Alex Lintuniemi at No. 2 overall, using an import slot with a defensive defenceman. Graduated Slovak Michal (Big Mike) Cajkovsky filled that role for the past two seasons. Scouting reports indicated that Lintuniemi, whose late-1995 birthdate puts him in next season's NHL draft pool, can deliver some punishing checks.

— Peterborough Petes pick Matej Paulovic, a fifthround NHL pick, was the first of two Dallas Stars selections picked up early. That might indicate the Stars' desire is to see whether Paulovic develops in junior.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to

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