NHL summons Petrov, Vrbetic

NORTH BAY, Ont. — Matvey Petrov and Joe Vrbetic of the North Bay Battalion were selected Saturday in the National Hockey League Draft, conducted online for the second consecutive year.

The Edmonton Oilers took right-shot winger Petrov in the sixth round, 179th overall, before the Montreal Canadiens tabbed goaltender Vrbetic in the seventh round at No. 213.

Russian import Petrov, who turned 18 on March 12, is a six-foot-two, 178-pound native of Gus-Khrustalny, 230 kilometres east of Moscow. He played 58 games in 2020-21 with the junior Moscow Krylya Sovetov, or Soviet Wings, scoring 22 goals and adding 20 assists for 42 points.

North Bay selected Petrov with the first overall pick in the 2020 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft. Because the 2020-21 Ontario Hockey League season was lost to the coronavirus pandemic, he has yet to make his Battalion debut and was listed as having been drafted from his Russian club team.

“We’re very proud of both Joe and Matvey,” said general manager Adam Dennis.

“In Matvey’s case, he was able to show his scoring ability while on loan with Krylya Sovetov in the MHL. We look forward to having him in our lineup next season and helping him achieve his goal of signing with Edmonton.”

Vrbetic produced a 4.23 goals-against average, an .881 save percentage, two shutouts and a won-lost-extended record of 14-25-1 in 42 games in 2019-20. A six-foot-six, 180-pound resident of Dunvegan, Ont., who turns 19 on Oct. 24, he was a second-rounder in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection from the Don Mills Flyers minor midgets.

“As for Joe, I really feel like Montreal got a steal with this pick,” said Dennis. “Joe, like many OHL players, wasn’t able to show the hard work that was put in over the offseason but will certainly make the Canadiens proud of their pick.

“While we are very proud of both players, we look forward to hitting the ice, as we feel we had several other worthy players who will have their chance at redemption next season.”

Goaltender Benjamin Gaudreau of the Sarnia Sting, a Corbeil product, was tabbed in the third round by the San Jose Sharks. With Vrbetic, Tristan Lennox of the Saginaw Spirit, who went in the third round to the New York Islanders, and the undrafted Brett Brochu of the London Knights helped make up the four OHL goaltenders ranked in the final list compiled by the NHL central scouting department for the draft.

Officially, 30 OHL skaters and goaltenders who have appeared in at least one league game were selected, with another nine having committed to OHL clubs.

The first round was held Friday night, with the other six on Saturday. A total of 87 CHL skaters and goaltenders were chosen, including 33 from the Western Hockey League and 24 from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

The 32 NHL clubs, including the expansion Seattle Kraken, named 223 skaters and goaltenders, although the league listed the running total as 224, allotting a selection to the 11th overall pick, which was stripped from the Arizona Coyotes because of a scouting violation.

Centre Mason McTavish of the Peterborough Petes was the top OHL pick, taken third overall by the Anaheim Ducks. The 18-year-old from Carp, Ont., is the highest-drafted Petes player since Anaheim selected left winger Nick Ritchie with the 10th pick in 2014.

Players are first-time eligible for the NHL draft in the year they turn 18, unless they’re born Sept. 15 or later, in which case they must wait until the following year.

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