CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The Charlottetown Islanders went back to Germany to try to find its next top prospect.
The Isles selected 18-year-old Alexander Dersch, a six-foot-three, 172-pound right-shot defenceman, with the 28th overall pick in Thursday’s CHL import draft.
A year ago, Charlottetown selected German centre Nikita Alexandrov. Assistant general manager Guy Girouard played in Germany and still has contacts in the country.
“Obviously, Guy’s connections in Germany served us well a year ago,” general manager Jim Hulton said after selecting Dersch.
He feels Dersch checked a lot of boxes his team was looking for after Finnish defenceman Saku Vesterinen decided not to return for a third season.
“We had that right D position kind of earmarked once we knew that Saku was leaving and we also wanted to up the size a little bit if we could, so we think we’re getting both in Alex,” Hulton said. “The reports were that he does a good job of eliminating his man, taking the body.”
He is described as a steady shutdown defenceman, who could play on the second power play unit and has leadership skills, evident by him wearing the captain’s C for his country at the under-17 championship.
“His character was rated quite high from the people we spoke to,” Hulton said.
The general manager said there are many moving parts in the import draft and he was pleased to come away with Dersch.
“We had a list and Alexander was at the top of it,” Hulton said. “We didn't think we were in a position to gamble. With our pick, we wanted certainties in terms of reporting, no release issues, etc.”
Dersch is represented by the same agency as Vesterinen, Alexandrov and Brett Budgell.
Dersch will be eligible for the 2019 NHL draft along with Alexandrov and Budgell. It could result in more scouts visiting the Eastlink Centre this winter.
“Anytime you have an NHL (draft)-eligible kid who is six-three, 175, you’re giving them more of a reason to come watch the Charlottetown Islanders,” Hulton said.
And the general manager still thinks it could land a fourth top draft-eligible prospect as well.
“Hopefully Brad Morrissey is added to that list later in the summer.”
The Islanders were open to three different age groups in the draft.
“The fact he can be here for a couple of years is very appealing,” Hulton said.
The team can return defencemen Pierre-Olivier (P.O.) Joseph, Brendon Clavelle, Hunter Drew, Taylor Egan, Noah Massie and they drafted Lukas Cormier fourth overall in the midget draft. Drew and Egan would both be in a battle for one of the three overage spots with Keith Getson, Sam King and Daniel Hardie.
Need to know
Who – The Charlottetown Islanders selection in Thursday’s CHL import draft.
Size, position – Dersch is a six-foot-three, 172-pound defenceman. He is a right-handed shot.
Nationality – German.
Age – 18 (March 30, 2000).
Team League GP G A Pts. PIM
EV Landshut Under-19 DNL Q 14 2 7 9 8
EV Landshut Under-19 DNL 18 0 5 5 45
EV Landshut Germany 3 14 0 1 1 25
Source – eliteprospects.com
A look at the recent selections by the Charlottetown Islanders/P.E.I. Rocket at the CHL import draft goes Thursday.
2017 F Nikita Alexandrov, 50th overall
2016 D Saku Vesterinen, 29th overall
2014 C Filip Chlapik, 11th overall, and C Filip Rydstrom, 56th overall
2013 RW Marco Sedlar, 31st overall
2011 D Tomas Pavelka, 26th overall, and LW Matej Beran, 35th overall.