April 05, 2013

Travis Konecny Introduced As First Overall Pick

Picking first overall for just the second time in the history of the OHL priority draft, the Ottawa 67’s chose the same direction they chose in 1993 -- drafting a center -- as they announced Travis Konecny as the newest member of the Barberpoles on Friday afternoon.

“All of our staff had seen him play anywhere from five to eight times,” said Chris Byrne.  “We determined that he was the best player available in the draft.  In Travis, we have a great kid on and off the ice.
Konecny, now a graduate of the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs, joins Alyn McCauley as the only other top selection in team history.  He put up 152 points in 63 bantam games for Elgin-Middlesex, and 114 points in 54 games with the same organization. 
McCauley, by comparison, finished 14th all-time in 67’s scoring with 284 points in 208 games.
“I won't try to do too much, I just like to take it game-by-game,” said Konecny on any comparisons to the 1993 first overall choice.  “Hopefully I can put up that many points, though.”
Instead, the Mount Brydges native hopes he can play a style similar to that of the Chicago Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews. 
“I like being a playmaker and I try to win all my puck battles and races.  I find that an assist is just as good as a goal, and points don’t matter to me as long as the team is winning.”
This marks the third time in as many years that Ottawa has gone with a forward in the first round of the draft, in the process becoming the first team in league history to pass up on an exceptional status player, defenceman Sean Day.
Team owner Jeff Hunt still believes that in terms of drawing fans into the building, Konecny can bring excitement to the franchise and that getting the exceptional status player wasn't necessary to do so.
“(Sean) Monahan is our marquee player right now, and likely will continue to be as long as he’s here, but I don’t think there’s any doubt Travis will be the face of our franchise for years to come.  Our team should be hitting its stride when we go back to Landsdowne and that’s something to get excited about.”
With Monahan and Dante Salituro, the Barberpoles’ first-round picks in 2010 and 2012 respectively, already at center, Konecny has his work cut out for him as he will try to move up on Ottawa’s depth chart.
“I’m really excited and looking forward to maybe getting some playing time with (Monahan) next year,” said Konecny after receiving a phone call from the 67’s Captain this morning.  "He's a great player and a great guy to look up to."
Although the first four picks have been all but set in stone, the remainder of the first round will officially begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, followed by the next 14 rounds of selections.
“We aren’t focused on forwards or defencemen one way or the other,” Byrne said regarding Saturday’s selections.  “There are a lot of good players on the board and we’re going to take the best player available, especially in the earlier rounds.”

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