The Kontinental Hockey League's first NHL-style draft was heavy in homegrown Russian talent and light on North Americans.
John Tavares of Oakville, Ont., the best pro prospect in North America, was passed over by Russian clubs in the draft of junior players aged 17 to 20. Since the London Knights forward seems destined for the NHL, KHL clubs shied away from using a draft pick to obtain his rights.
Swedish defenceman Victor Hedman, who is Tavares's rival to go first overall in the NHL draft June 25-26 in Montreal, was taken in the fourth and final round by Spartak at No. 83.
CSKA made 20-year-old defenceman Michael Pashnin of Chelyabinsk the No.1 pick. He had two assists in seven games for Russia at the world junior hockey championship in Ottawa.
Three Canadian players selected
Peterborough Petes right-winger Zach Kassian at 56th overall, Kingston defenceman Erik Gudbranson at No. 62 and Windsor Spitfires forward Taylor Hall at No. 89 were the only Canadians selected among 91 players.
If those players choose to play in the KHL, Hall's rights belong to Ak Bars, and Moscow Dynamo retains the rights to Kassian and Gudbranson.
The KHL's minimum draft age is 17, while the NHL's is 18. Hall, named the most valuable player at the Memorial Cup, isn't eligible for the NHL draft until 2010. He declined comment through his agent Darren Ferris.
"He's one of the best players I've seen in a long time, so I can see why they'd want to draft him," Ferris said. "I wouldn't have any immediate comment to say whether he'd go or not go. We haven't even discussed it."
The KHL has operated for one season as the successor to the Russian Super League. Of the 24 teams in the league, 21 are based in Russia.
The Russian players selected Monday weren't considered that country's top junior talent. KHL clubs have their own junior teams and were able to put their best prospects on protected lists.
Monday's draft was more show than substance, according to Goran Stubb, the NHL's director of European scouting
"[I] believe the only reason for the KHL draft is 'The NHL has a draft; we must have one also',' Stubb said in an email.