Troops tab Schlueting off top

NORTH BAY, Ont. – The North Bay Battalion made left-shot defenceman Pacey Schlueting the first of five North Bay Trappers minor midgets among the club’s 15 picks in the Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection on Saturday.

The Battalion selected three centres, four left wingers, one right winger, five defencemen and two goaltenders, all born in 2002, in the 15-round process conducted over the Internet.

A North Bay resident, the six-foot-one, 176-pound Schlueting was taken with the ninth overall pick. He scored 13 goals and earned 21 assists for 34 points in 24 games and added four points, including two goals, in four games with Team Northern Ontario Hockey Association at the OHL Cup in March. Schlueting, who turned 16 on Jan. 2, is the seventh defencemen the Battalion has chosen with a first-round pick in 21 OHL Priority Selections.

The Troops had two picks in the second round and exercised the first, 29th overall, on left-shot centre Cameron Peters from the Toronto Marlboros minor midgets. Two picks later, using a choice that originally belonged to the Oshawa Generals, the Battalion tabbed goaltender Joe Vrbetic of the Don Mills Flyers minor midgets.

Peters, six-foot-one, 177 pounds, recorded 27 goals and 33 assists for 60 points in 59 games and earned three assists in six games at the OHL Cup. A Toronto resident who turns 16 on July 9, Peters also appeared in one game for the junior A St. Michael’s Buzzers.

“It’s a cool experience,” Peters said of being chosen. “I can bring my speed and size. I can use my size to push opponents out of the way. My shot will be a good asset. Over the summer I’ll be working out and look to head into camp to do my best.”

Vrbetic was the second goaltender chosen in the process. A six-foot-four, 164-pound resident of Dunvegan, Ont., 80 kilometres east of Ottawa, he made two appearances at the OHL Cup. Vrbetic, who turns 16 on Oct. 24, is the first goaltender tabbed by the Battalion as high as the second round since Brad Topping went 27th overall from the Lambton bantams in 2000.

“I’m truly honoured to be selected,” said Vrbetic. “I can’t wait to get started.”

In the third round, 49th overall, the Troops looked to left-shot centre Kyle Jackson of the Toronto Red Wings minor midgets. Jackson, six feet and 154 pounds, had 20 goals and 22 assists for 42 points in 51 games. The Ottawa resident turns 16 on Oct. 17.

“It’s been a dream of mine all of my life to have the chance to play in the OHL,” Jackson said via Twitter. “I’m very lucky to be drafted to the North Bay Battalion and I can’t wait for the future with this organization.

“I bring a team a complete hockey game, strong defensively who takes cares of their own zone first and doesn’t cheat any part of the game. Offensively I bring strong vision and can make players around me better. I’m more of a playmaker and can create lots of offensive scoring chances.”

In the fourth round, 69th overall, the Battalion chose Trappers left winger David Campbell of adjacent Callander. Campbell scored 24 goals and added 12 assists for 36 points in 24 games and had four points, including two goals, at the OHL Cup. He appeared in five games with the Blind River Beavers of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, producing three points, including one goal. Campbell, six feet and 167 pounds, turns 16 on April 12.

North Bay’s fifth-round choice, 89th overall, was left-shot rearguard James Mayotte from the under-16 program at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, a private school in Faribault, Minn. A resident of Mallorytown, Ont., Mayotte produced four goals and 13 assists for 17 points in 47 games. The six-foot-one 165-pounder turned 16 on March 4.

The club’s sixth-round pick, 109th overall, was a Don Mills teammate of Vrbetic, left winger Josh Currie, who had 21 goals and 25 assists for 46 points in 63 games. He added one goal in four OHL Cup games. A six-foot-two, 158-pound resident of Pickering, Ont., Currie turns 16 on July 1.

Without a pick in the seventh round, the Troops selected right-shot defenceman Thomas Gangl of the Huron Perth Lakers minor midgets in the eighth round, 149th overall. A six-foot-one, 162-pound resident of Wingham, Ont., Gangl had three goals and eight assists for 11 points in 31 games. He turned 16 on Jan. 8.

The Battalion tabbed another Trappers forward in the ninth round, choosing right winger Jesse Kirkby with the 169th selection. Kirkby, six feet and 149 pounds, registered 10 goals and 15 assists for 25 points in 24 games with the Trappers and earned two assists in four OHL Cup games. The North Bay resident turned 16 on Jan. 4.

In the 10th round, 189th overall, the Troops chose left-shot defenceman Ryan Hall of the Vaughan Kings minor midgets. A six-foot-one, 210-pound resident of Minden, Ont., Hall, who turns 16 on May 22, produced 17 points, including one goal, in 64 games. He added two assists in seven games at the OHL Cup.

The Battalion selected Trappers goaltender Reece Proulx in the 11th round, 209th overall. Proulx, a five-foot-nine, 136-pound North Bay resident who turns 16 on June 6, played 18 games with a 2.83 goals-against average and one shutout before two appearances at the OHL Cup, where he posted a 1.51 GAA and one shutout in splitting two decisions.

Without a pick in the 12th round, the Troops named left winger Liam Dey of the Burlington Eagles minor midgets in the 13th round, 249th overall. The Burlington, Ont., resident, who stands five-foot-11 and weighs 168 pounds, turns 16 on Sept. 16. In 35 games, he scored 14 goals and added 16 assists for 30 points.

North Bay didn’t have its own selection in the 14th round but exercised a pick that first belonged to the Kitchener Rangers to take left winger Carson Bantle of Shattuck-St. Mary’s at No. 275. Bantle, a resident of Onalaska, Wis., who turned 16 on Jan. 22, had 12 goals and 16 assists for 28 points in 47 games. He is six-foot-two and 165 pounds.

The Saginaw Spirit’s former 15th-rounder, the 285th overall selection, was used to select Trappers centre Jack Stockfish. Another North Bay resident, the five-foot-10, 154-pound Stockfish turns 16 on Sept. 30. He scored six goals and added 13 assists for 19 points in 20 games before earning one assist in four OHL Cup games.

With its final pick, 289th overall, the Battalion tabbed right-shot defenceman Jackson Hay of the Kingston Frontenacs minor midgets. A Kingston resident who stands five-foot-nine and weighs 174 pounds, he turns 16 on May 23. Hay registered four goals and eight assists for 12 points in 34 games.

The Sudbury Wolves, who owned the No. 1 pick, announced Friday that they would take centre Quinton Byfield of the York Simcoe Express minor midgets. The 20 OHL clubs selected a total of 300 skaters and goaltenders, making their choices in inverse order of the overall standings, with the four non-playoff teams guaranteed the first four picks.

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