The Charlottetown Islanders have landed their top pick in the Canadian Hockey League import draft.
The Islanders selected Czech centre Filip Chlapik with the 11th overall pick, but items needed to be worked out to get him to Canada.
“He’s signed, sealed and delivered,” general manager Grant Sonier told The Guardian on Wednesday. “We’re talking about an elite athlete and I couldn’t be more tickled about getting him signed.”
The six-foot-one, 183-pound Chlapik, 17, played at the under-17 and -18 world hockey tournaments this past year. He scored 16 goals and had 19 assists for 35 points in 38 games with Sparta’s team in the under-20 Czech league.
“He can really shoot the puck. He has real good vision. He passes the puck well,” Sonier said.
He added Chlapik is strong on the puck, responsible defensively and can handle the physical play of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Chlapik will be reporting to the Islanders training camp on Aug. 20, after competing with the Czech Republic at the Ivan Hlinka under-18 tournament from Aug. 11 to 16.
Chlapik wanted to come to the Islanders, Sonier said, but as a national-signed player there were issues to be addressed to make it happen.
“Through great work from Craig Oster, the agent that works for Newport Sport, we’re able to get this done and address all the areas that were tenuous, if you will,” Sonier said.
Chlapik joins a young group of potential NHL draft picks, who will wear the Islanders uniform this fall. The list includes right-winger Daniel Sprong, who could go in the top 10, centre Kameron Kielly and defencemen David Henley and Luc Deschenes.
Charlottetown used the 56th selection in the import draft on Swedish pivot Filip Rydstrom. He had committed to coming to the Islanders on draft day.
The centre, who turns 18 Thursday, is scheduled to arrive in Charlottetown on Saturday.
The Islanders started last year with Marco Sedlar and Matej Beran as their imports. Sedlar did not return after Christmas while Beran was traded.
The team ended the season with defenceman Vladislav Lysenko as its only import, but have since released him.
The Islanders traded a second-round pick to Shawinigan on Wednesday for a fifth-round pick and 18-year-old American blue-liner Gianni Paolo.
The picks are all in the 2015 draft.
Paolo is a five-foot-eight, 165-pound defenceman from Rhode Island. Shawinigan drafted him in the 12th round of the 2013 draft.
“We’ve already talked to him and it looks like he’s going to show up in camp,” Sonier said.
The Islanders open camp on Monday at the Pownal Sports Centre with on-ice sessions beginning Tuesday at 9 a.m.
Week 1 will feature daily practices, three inter-squad games and two exhibition games. Practices begin at 9 a.m. each day and are open to the public. Inter-squad games go at 6 p.m.
Charlottetown plays its first pre-season game against the Moncton Wildcats on Friday, Aug. 15, in Moncton, before hosting the Acadie-Bathurst Titan on Saturday, Aug. 16, in Pownal at 3 p.m.
The training camp roster will be released shortly.
As of Wednesday there were about 45 players expected for camp.
The list included top draft picks Mitchell Balmas, Samuel Guilbault, Andrew Smith, Keith Getson, Luke House and Anthony Wojcik.
Sonier said Frank Sullivan, an American defenceman taken in the fourth round, and Lac St-Louis forward Ryan Brushett, a first-round talent who slipped to the sixth round because of the possibility of him going to the NCAA, had not committed to coming to camp.
American Hunter Luhmann is coming while Ace Cowans could be at camp later, but had a showcase commitment.
Season tickets are available at the Islanders office at Eastlink Centre or at 892-7349.
The Islanders are looking for billet families for the upcoming season.
Billet families provide a good family support system for the players. The number of billets needed varies from training camp to the time the team is cut down to its final roster.
During training camp the demand for homes increases as extra players are trying out for the team.
Anyone interested in becoming a billet family, can contact the Islanders at email@example.com, by phoning 902-892-7349 or by visiting www.charlottetownislanders.com.