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Riders aim for skill and grit in the 2013 draft

by Sylvain Tremblay | November 9, 2013, 10:27 AM ET

Boasting the 5th pick of the draft, along with three more picks inside the first 61 choices of the draft, the Reykjavik Riders used the opportunity to select skill and grit.

With the 5th overall pick, the Riders selected a tall, smooth playmaker with character in Sean Monahan. Using his brilliant vision on the ice along with his touch around the net, look for Monahan to join the Riders sooner than later. He has 11 points in 17 games in the NHL playing for the Calgary Flames.

Then with the 33rd pick, the Reykjavik based team opted to add sandpaper to its prospect farm by selecting Ryan Hartman. Playing a physical and abrasive game despite not being overly tall, Hartman gets the opponents off their games yet can handle the puck well and score consistently. He leads Plymouth Whalers in the OHL in points with 21 points in 19 games.

At the start of the 3rd round, with the 60th and 61st picks, the team went for two speedy players that can forecheck relentlessly in Marc-Olivier Roy and Carter Verhaeghe. Both of these players create turnovers with their games which they convert into scoring opportunities. Roy just came back from an injury and has just played 4 games for the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada of the QMJHL, registering 7 points. Verhaeghe has put up 31 points in 18 games, leading the Niagara IceDogs of the OHL with 2014 top prospect Brendan Perlini.

With the 89th pick, the Riders went with a longer term project when they selected Zachary Sanford. Sanford is still raw but has a large, athletic and powerful frame. He has shown at times good hands, vision and playmaking. So far this season, he has put up 9 points in 12 games for the Waterloo Black Hawks in the USHL.

Then with the 95th and 99th picks, two more prospects from the QMJHL were selected in Jeremy Gregoire and Felix Girard. Gregoire is a player with speed and passion that had a hard time finding the back of the net last year with Chicoutimi. Like Gregoire, Girard plays with a lot of heart, speed and grit. Consistently outworking their opponents, both these players get theirs chances through hard work. Gregoire is off to a hot start for the Baie-Comeau Drakkar, already showing 29 points through 19 games, just three short of last year's totals. Playing on the same team, Girard is on the same pace as last year with 16 points in 17 games.

With the 117th pick, the Riders went for pure skill selecting Cole Ully. The rail thin forward makes up for his lack of strenght with excellent speed and elite offensive tools. So far this season, he leads the Kamloops Blazers in points with 20 in 18 games.

At the 145th pick, once again the team went for skill with the selection of Blayne Byron. Another small forward that hasn't faced a lot of physical challenge in the past years, Byron is an elite puckhandler with quick acceleration that makes plays at full speed. He has joined the university of Maine this season in the Hockey East division (NCAA) where he has 5 points in 8 games.

Finally, with their last pick, the Riders went back to a grittier player when they selected Avery Peterson with the 173th pick. He plays a strong two-way game and creates turnovers form a persistent forecheck. He plays fpr the Sioux City Musketeers in the USHL this year where he has contributed to 8 points through the first 11 games this season.

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