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Plymouth Whalers Select 14 Players in Saturday's OHL Draft

May 3, 2008 - Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Plymouth Whalers

PLYMOUTH - Plymouth Whalers veteran Chris Terry is 11th on the Whalers all-time list with 120 assists. On Saturday, Terry lent an assist off the ice when the Whalers took Toronto Young Nationals Center Tyler Seguin in the first round (ninth overall) of the annual Ontario Hockey League Draft.

A skilled centerman who patterns himself after Joe Sakic, Seguin scored 39 goals and 47 assists for 86 points in 51 games this year. Central Scouting describes Seguin as "a very skilled, offensively minded forward who plays a very prominent role in the success of his team. He is a very good skater that possesses quickness, agility and a great start. He plays the game at top speed and is always moving his feet while handling the puck. He is a great puck handler and an equally adept passer. He displays great vision and the ability to get his teammates the puck anywhere on the ice."

Like Terry, Seguin hails from Brampton, ON. Terry and Seguin train together in the off-season and play together in the summer.

"Chris's dad (John) coaches my sister's hockey team, so I see Chris at the rink all the time," Seguin said. "We work out together in a little 3-on-3 league and play on the same line. We actually work very well together."

Seguin considered going to college. His dad, Paul, played from 1984-88 for the University of Vermont. Seguin will report to Plymouth's Rookie Orientation Camp on May 17-18 at Compuware Arena.

In all, the Whalers selected 14 players in Saturday's draft.

Earlier this week, Plymouth President and General Manager Mike Vellucci outlined the Whalers' draft philosophy.

"Every year when we go into the draft, we look to take the best player available," Vellucci said. "Every once in a great

while, we may try to fill a specific need. But when we sit down and talk, we're looking for the best player available -

the most skill, the best character and other traits we're looking for when we're drafting a Plymouth Whaler."

The Whalers adhered to that philosophy over the first three rounds of the draft.

Plymouth selected 18-year-old center Zac Dalpe with their second round pick (26th overall). As a 1989 birthday, Dalpe is the oldest player eligible this year as listed by Central Scouting. Dalpe scored 35 goals with 45 assists for 80 points in 62 games this season for Penticton of the British Columbia Jr. A League. Although Dalpe played in British Columbia this season and comes from Paris, ON (just outside of Brantford, ON), he has a Whaler connection.

Dalpe was too small at the time, but he attended a Whalers Rookie Orientation three years ago.

"I was really small," Daple told NHL.com. "I was 5-foot-4 or 5-foot-5 and only 110-115 pounds or so. I was very small - stupid small. I had a lot of skill but no size, and I think that was part of the reason I didn't get drafted. I was heartbroken at the time, but I had parents and coaches reminding me I just had to be patient and let the size catch up to me."

Dalpe moved from Stratford to Penticton, started growing and gained attention from college and pro scouts. Ohio State has offered Dalpe a scholarship, but the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau has Dalpe listed at 16th overall in their final rankings. Daple is eligible for the NHL Entry Draft this summer.

In the third round, Plymouth selected Detroit-area defenseman Jonathon Merrill from Little Caesars with the 50th overall pick. Many observers consider Merrill a first-round pick in the OHL Draft, if his does not go the college route.

Central Scouting said: "Merrill is an extremely talented offensive-minded defenseman who plays a very high risk, high reward style of game. He is an excellent skater, possessing great mobility and a very smooth and effortless stride. He displays speed and quickness while showing the ability to move in all four directions equally well. His speed and quickness allows him to take away time and space in a heartbeat and his lateral movement is outstanding."

Vellucci talked about the Whalers' first three selections.

"Tyler Seguin is a young man we watched quite bit over the course of the year and have been after all season," Vellucci said. "He's an exceptional talent who sees the ice very well. He's grown a lot - he's over 6-foot-1 right now. He's a great playmaker and goal scorer who grew up in the same area as Chris Terry. He played minor midget two years in a row, so he played up for a year. He's a very, very good skater and offensive talent.

"Zac Dalpe came to our camp three years ago as a walk-on, then played in Stratford before moving to the British Columbia Jr. A League. He's rated in the top-16 in the NHL Draft this year. He is committed to Ohio State, but once he gets selected by an NHL team, we have a good shot at Zac reporting to Plymouth. We've talked to him and would like to get him into camp.

"We had Jonathon Merrill rated as a top defenseman on our list. He is committed to Michigan and the US program, but we'll wait and see. He's not going to be here this year, I don't think, but we'll talk to him and his family and kind of follow the same path we went with Beau Schmitz - just talk to the family as needed and not bother them too much."

Vellucci summarized the rest of the draft:

"The rest of the guys are over 6-feet," he said. "I felt we needed some size. We have some grit, but we also have guys with skill, so we have addressed that. We selected some guys that are physical - (Brendan) McLeskey is a tough kid, but has good hands. Austin Levi is a big, raw defenseman that plays for Compuware and we love him, because he's got some uptapped ability. He played in Colorado before coming to live in Detroit. Levi and DJ Hastings will be playing for the Compuware Midget Majors and they'll be able to practice with us every day and get stronger and bigger. I watched Kevin Gravel at the Ann Arbor Top-40 Tournament and love how he plays. He's 6-foot-4 defenseman who skates extremely well. I think he's got some offensive ability.

"Our first goal is to get all of these players into our Rookie Camp (May 17-18) and let them see what we're all about and what we have to offer here."

Complete sound bytes can be found on www.plymouthwhalers.com.

The Whalers Draft List is as follows:

Rnd. No. OHL Team Player Name Team Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Birthdate

1 9 Plymouth Whalers Tyler Seguin Toronto Young Nationals RC 5.11 165 01/31/1992

2 6 Plymouth Whalers Zac Dalpe Penticton Jr A RC 6.01 175 11/01/1989

3 9 Plymouth Whalers Jonathon Merrill Detroit Little Caesars LD 6.02 175 02/03/1992

5 7 Plymouth Whalers Brendan McLeskey Motor City Chiefs LW 6.01 175 07/25/1992

6 9 Plymouth Whalers Austin Levi Detroit Compuware U16's LD 6.02 185 02/16/1992

7 9 Plymouth Whalers Scott Wedgewood Mississauga Senators G 6.00 185 08/14/1992

8 9 Plymouth Whalers Kevin Gravel Marquette Electricians LD 6.04 175 03/06/1992

9 9 Plymouth Whalers Daniel Bernardi Whitby Wildcats RD 6.01 175 11/18/1992

10 9 Plymouth Whalers DJ Hastings Detroit Belle Tire U16's RW 6.01 165 06/30/1992

11 9 Plymouth Whalers Sean Myers Chatham-Kent Cyclones LC 5.10 165 02/12/1992

12 9 Plymouth Whalers Ben Holtom Barrie Colts LW 6.01 185 03/01/1992

13 9 Plymouth Whalers Karsten Pankhurst Central Ontario Wolves G 5.11 165 05/06/1992

14 9 Plymouth Whalers Colin MacDonald London Knights LD 6.01 160 04/16/1992

15 9 Plymouth Whalers Frankie Simonelli Team Illinois RD 5.10 170 10/29/1992

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