Warriors look to the future at Import Draft

Matthew Gourlie
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Moose Jaw Warriors

The Moose Jaw Warriors drafted a pair of Europeans Wednesday.

How they ultimately made out at the Canadian Hockey League’s Import Draft is a question that won’t be answered for a few years.

The Warriors selected German left winger Frederik Tiffels with their first pick, 53rd overall, and then traded up in the second round to grab Russian right winger Nikita Zagryadskiy.

The Warriors dealt their second round pick in the 2013 Import Draft — a pick they don’t expect that they will need — to acquire Kelowna’s second round selection in this year’s draft. After a number of teams had passed on their picks, the Warriors ended up picking Zagryadskiy 72nd overall.

Tiffels is not expected to report to the Warriors this season, but general manager Alan Millar felt he was worth the risk in case they could entice him to the Friendly City later on.

“We knew it was a high-risk, high-reward pick,” said Millar.

“We went into this with our eyes open. We know we might get him and we know we may not.”

Tiffels was born in 1995 and is eligible for the 2012 National Hockey League draft. Millar feels that depending on how his season goes and when he’s taken in the NHL draft, his circumstances could change.

“Hopefully a year from now we can present a really good option for him here in Moose Jaw,” said Millar.

Tiffels is 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds. He had two goals and two assists at the World Under-17 Challenge as a 15 year old and scored twice more at the tournament this past Christmas in Windsor. The Cologne native is noted for being a particularly strong and fast skater, though his point production has been very good with his club in Mannheim and with the German youth national teams.

“He’s a very good player. I had the opportunity to see him Windsor,” said Millar. “He’s a dynamic, fast, talented forward. He has a very bright future ahead of him. Some of the NHL people I spoke to really liked him. He’s a high-end player for the NHL to watch for the 2013 draft.”

Zagryadskiy will be in Moose Jaw this fall. While most of the Russians drafted in the CHL draft were part of a KHL team’s youth set-up or played in the MHL youth league, Zagryadskiy played in the Moscow league with Sozvezdie.

Standing 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, Zagryadskiy will be on a plane to North America today to prepare for the upcoming season.

“He’s a guy we targeted for a few weeks. He’s a little bit of an unknown,” said Millar. “He’s a big kid. He’s a late-95 (birthday) and won’t turn 17 until September 20. He’s raw, but has potential. He’s a big body and the reports we have on him are that he has good upside and that he plays a hard, competitive game.”

Zagryadskiy will land in Phoenix today to start training with Oleg Saprykin. Saprykin played for Seattle in the WHL and parlayed a great junior career into being chosen 11th overall by the Calgary Flames. After spending time in Phoenix, Zagryadskiy will be in Calgary training before coming to Moose Jaw in mid-August. The time in North America should help Zagryadskiy’s english and ease the culture shock of the move.

Organizations: Canadian Hockey League, National Hockey League, Calgary Flames

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Kelowna, Windsor Friendly North America Cologne Phoenix Mannheim Moscow Seattle Calgary

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