by Brandon Sudeyko (@intheoradio)
The CHL Import Draft has wrapped up and the results are in. The big surprise of the morning, at least in the OHL, is that the Erie Otters ‘rolled the dice’ and selected Oscar Dansk, a Swedish goaltender selected 31st overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets this past weekend at the NHL draft. During the NHL Draft it was all a rage that the London Knights were looking to take Dansk in the Import Draft to fill their need at the goaltender position. London of course assuming that CHL Goalie of the year Michael Houser is going to be a pro come the start of the 2012/13 season. The Otters were in need of a goaltender as well and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to snag a top level import goaltender. Coming off the awful season the Erie Otters had any selling point will definitely help. Erie GM Sherry Bassin had the ‘exceptional’ Connor McDavid fall into his lap as he will be a huge selling point for the next three seasons in Erie. Not only to the fans, but to free agents and other players around the league who may now want to be in Pennsylvania playing along side McDavid. If completely healthy this season, expect a high energy, potentially high scoring forward corps with the likes of Stephen Harper, Connor Brown, Connor Crisp and Dane Fox. A healthy Adam Pelech to anchor the blueline with Troy Donnay, Travis Wood and their second Import selection Artem Kuleshov, this could be a good young 4 that in 2 years time will be tops in the league.
But what does all this mean for Oscar Dansk who said he wanted to come to North America to play this fall. Simply put it means that being taken by Erie is not the undesireable place it once use to mean. Heck there is even Arena Renovations going on so that is another selling point. If Dansk chooses to play in Erie this fall he is going to get a crash course on the North American style of game. Playing in the Western Conference will sharpen all his senses and goalie skills as the West (throughout the regular season anyways) has been the more dominant conference. Playing against the top talent in Windsor, Kitchener and London will only do wonders for his progression as he aspires to be an NHL goaltender. There is also the proximity to Columbus. He is much closer than if he were taken by a WHL or QMJHL team, add in occasional visits by the Blue Jackets goaltender coach and staff it will help feed what is arguably the most important thing for a goaltender, confidence.
This season may not be a stellar rise to the top for the Otters but it should be an exciting and mostly successful season as they rise back up the Western Conference, and if Dansk chooses to be a part of that ride, the second season could see some hardware coming his way as the Otters will go after not only the OHL championship but the Memorial Cup as well.
And if Dansk does not want to come to Erie, he will find a home in the OHL and Erie will be rewarded handsomely for the quality of goaltender it is giving away. For Erie this is a win-win scenario.