SAGINAW, MI – Saginaw Spirit General Manager Dave Drinkill announced Monday the team has signed 2019 CHL Import Draft pick Ilya Solovyov to an OHL Standard Player Agreement.
Solovyov, 18, hails from Mogilev, Belarus and played the 2018-19 season for the Belarusian Under-20 National Team. Solovyov appeared in 69 games including tournament play, scoring three goals and five assists. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound, left-shot defenseman won a silver medal in both the Division 1 World Championships and the World Junior Division 1 Championships. Solovyov had options to play in the Kontinental Hockey League, but is choosing to come to North America to play major junior hockey.
The 28th annual CHL Import Draft included 81 players consisting of 48 forwards, 27 defencemen, and six goaltenders. The 81 players were chosen from 14 different countries featuring a draft-high 17 players from Czech Republic – the highest single total since Russia supplied 20 players for the 2017 CHL Import Draft. It also represents the most diverse selection of players since 15 countries were featured in the 2010 CHL Import Draft.
The 2019 CHL Import Draft featured 12 players previously selected in the NHL draft, counting 11 from this past weekend’s 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver, including forward Michal Teply, who went fourth overall to the Winnipeg ICE after being selected in the fourth round by the Chicago Blackhawks.
The list also includes Silovs (156th, Vancouver), Eric Hjorth (104th, Columbus) chosen 17th by the Sarnia Sting, Marcus Kallionkieli (139th, Vegas) chosen 22nd by the Brandon Wheat Kings, Martin Hugo Has (153rd, Washington) chosen 23rd by the North Bay Battalion, Frederik Nissen Dichow (138th, Montreal) chosen 41st by the Sudbury Wolves, Lukas Parik (87th, Los Angeles) chosen 43rd by the Spokane Chiefs, Vladislav Firstov (42nd, Minnesota) chosen 82nd by the Wheat Kings, Axel Bergkvist (200th, Arizona) chosen 95th by the Kitchener Rangers, Roman Bychkov (154th, Boston) chosen 98th by the Guelph Storm, and Kalle Loponen (204th, Toronto) chosen 101st by the Wolves. The 2019 CHL Import Draft class also featured Axel Andersson, who went 30th overall to the Moncton Wildcats after being selected by the Boston Bruins with the 57th pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.
This year’s CHL draft class also includes 43 players eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft. Another six players are eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft.
Each CHL team is permitted to dress a maximum of two import players each season who are selected annually through the CHL Import Draft.