MUSKEGON, MI- Headlined by Andrei Svechnikov, who was taken second overall, five Muskegon Lumberjacks were selected in the 2018 NHL Draft.
Svechnikov was selected in the first round, second overall by the Carolina Hurricanes, becoming the highest draft pick ever produced by Muskegon.
Per newsobserver.com: “It was my dream and it came true,” Svechikov said. “Just the best day.”
Svechnikov, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound forward, was named USHL Rookie of the Year in 2017 after a season in which he scored 29 goals and 58 points. Svechnikov’s 1.21 points per game is the second-best mark in Jacks’ franchise history, trailing only Rem Pitlick.
Svechnikov could step right into the NHL this year, but must earn his roster spot in training camp first.
After Svechnikov was selected, four more Lumberjacks were taken, beginning with 2018 USHL Rookie of the Year, Matej Pekar. Pekar became a Buffalo Sabre when his name was called in the fourth round, 94th overall. In his first USHL season, the native of Turnov, CZE racked up a team-high 40 assists, and added 14 goals.
It is expected that Pekar will return to Muskegon for the 2018-19 season, before departing to Miami University, where he is committed to play collegiately.
Jachym Kondelik was also selected in the draft’s fourth round when the Nashville Predators scooped him up with the 111th pick. The 6-foot-7 center from the Czech Republic notched 16 goals and 34 points for Muskegon last season, including his first USHL hat-trick.
Kondelik is committed to the University of Connecticut, and expects to play at UConn next year.
Mikael Hakkarainen’s outstanding 2017-18 season paid off for him in the fifth round, when he was taken 139th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks. Hakkarainen battled through injury in 2017-18, but still managed to score 46 points in just 36 games.
Hakkarainen is a Providence College commit and plans to suit up for the Friars in 2018-19.
To wrap up the Lumberjacks selected in the 2018 NHL Draft, Emilio Pettersen was nabbed by the Calgary Flames in the sixth round, 167th overall. Pettersen tallied 46 points for the Jacks last season, and played in all 60 games. Pettersen will attend Denver University next season.
Having five alumni drafted ties a team record that dates back to 2015.
As a league, the USHL set a record with 57 players drafted, the most USHL players ever taken, and more players than any other junior hockey league in the world.