One team decided to get a jump on the Connor McDavid sweepstakes — albeit from across the Atlantic.
Medvescak Zagreb, a Croatian-based team in the KHL, took McDavid in the second round (77th overall) of the 2014 KHL Junior Draft, which was held on Thursday. Zagreb, which last year employed ex-NHLers Barry Brust, Mathieu Carle, Kurtis Foster and Jonathan Cheechoo, made the longshot move relatively early in the draft, using their second pick to secure McDavid’s KHL rights whereas teams in the past have taken similar fliers at much later stages of the process.
In 2013, Vityaz Podolsk took Aaron Ekblad with the fourth-to-last pick in the draft (171st overall). In 2012, Podolsk took Nathan McKinnon 114th overall and in 2011, Salavat Yulaev Ufa took Sean Couturier with the second-to-last overall pick.
McDavid, widely considered to be one of the top two picks at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, is coming off a regular season in which he scored 28 goals and 99 points in 56 games for OHL Erie.