The Moncton Wildcats are back on the clock tomorrow, with the 2020 CHL Import Draft slated to begin at noon local time. Like all teams in the CHL, the Wildcats hold two selections in the draft: a first round pick (50th overall) and a second round pick (110th overall).
Here’s a look at some of the most memorable Import draft picks in our 25-year history:
Martins Karsums • 2003, Round 1, #34
With their second of two first round selections at the 2003 Draft, the Wildcats selected Latvian forward Martins Karsums.
Karsums joined the Wildcats that fall, and immediately made an impact, scoring 53 points in 60 regular season games, then adding 17 points in 20 playoff games. His best season with the Wildcats was undoubtedly 2005-06, when he helped the Wildcats win their first President Cup. He scored three game-winning goals in the league final, and was named Playoffs MVP.
Since graduating from the Wildcats, Karsums has enjoyed a lengthy professional career. He split parts of four seasons between the NHL and AHL before returning to his native Latvia to play for Dinamo Riga in the KHL. This past season marked his 10th in the KHL, where he has played 560 career games and scored 293 points.
Marek Hrivík • 2009, Round 1, #34
At the 2009 Draft, the Wildcats once again held two first round picks and picked Slovakian forward Marek Hrivík with their second selection of the day.
Hrivík joined a talented Wildcats team in 2009-10, and was a key component of the offence. He notched 55 points in 66 games, fourth most on the team, and another 17 points in 21 playoff games as the Wildcats went on to win another championship. During his three seasons in Moncton, Hrivík scored well over a point a game, with 233 points in 211 games played.
Hrívik spent several professional seasons in North American split between the Calgary Flames and New York Rangers organization, before continuing his career overseas. He spent the past season in Sweden with Leksands (SHL) and signed a contract extension earlier this spring.
Ivan Barbashev • 2012, Round 1, #1
For the first time in team history, the Wildcats held the top selection at the 2012 Import Draft. With the pick, Ivan Barbashev, a Russian forward from HK MVD Balashikha in the MHL.
Barbashev blossomed upon his arrival in Moncton. As a rookie, he scored 62 points in 68 games — fifth most in team scoring. His 44 assists were most by all rookies, and he was named to the QMJHL All-Rookie team. Barbashev holds the record for most points by an Import player with the Wildcats, with 225 points in 173 games.
Barbashev has now established himself as a regular in the NHL with the St. Louis Blues, and won the Stanley Cup in 2019. Keep an eye out for Barbashev and the Blues when the NHL playoffs return later this summer.
Alexander Khovanov • 2017, Round 1, #2
The Wildcats had a top pick at the Import Draft once more in 2017, and selected Russian forward Alexander Khovanov second overall.
His rookie season was shortened to only 29 games, but he still made a great impact by scoring 28 points. His best season is still fresh in everyone’s mind, as he scored 99 points in 51 games in 2019-20, second most in the QMJHL. Khovanov also led the league with a +58 rating, and was named a QMJHL First Team All-Star. Internationally, he represented Russia at the 2020 World Junior Championship and won a silver medal.
Khovanov was selected in the third round, 86th overall by the Minnesota Wild at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
Other notable selections
Johnny Oduya • 200, Round 1, #19
Oskars Bartulis • 2004, Round 1, #27
Roman Will • 2011, Round 1, #29
Dmitrij Jaskin • 2012, Round 1, #22
The 2020 CHL Import Draft gets underway at noon on June 30th. Selections will be updated live here: https://chl.ca/draft
Make sure to follow the Moncton Wildcats on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram on June 30th to stay up-to-date on the 2020 CHL Import Draft.