Sulliman was also a first-round pick
I read with interest a sports section article entitled ‘Screaming Eagles’ Svechnikov picked in first round’ by David Jala in the June 27th edition of the Cape Breton Post.
In the article, Jala noted that Evgeny Svechnikov, selected 19th overall by the Detroit Red Wings, was the third Cape Breton Screaming Eagle picked in the first round of the annual NHL Entry Draft. The other two Eagles were Marc Andre Fleury, picked first overall in 2003 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, and James Sheppard, picked ninth overall in 2006 by the Minnesota Wild.
The reporter also listed two Cape Breton-born players selected in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft. – Hall of Fame defenceman Al MacInnis of Port Hood, selected 15th overall by Calgary Flames, and defenceman Paul Boutilier of Sydney, taken 21st overall by the New York Islanders. Both of those players were drafted in 1981.
However, there was a third Cape Breton-born player, Glace Bay’s Doug Sulliman, who was also taken in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft. He was taken 13th overall in 1979 by the New York Rangers.
Sulliman played for 11 seasons with the Rangers, Hartford Whalers, New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers. He played in 631 games during which he compiled 160 goals and 168 assists for 328 points.
Some say that the 1979 draft was one of the strongest of all time and featured first-round picks Ray Bourque, Mike Gartner and Michel Goulet, all of whom went on to become Hall of Famers.
Note that Bobby Smith, born in North Sydney, was selected 1st overall by the Minnesota North Stars in 1978. However, he moved away at a young age and played his minor hockey in Ontario, whereas MacInnis, Boutilier and Sulliman all played their minor hockey in Cape Breton.
There was another interesting note about Svechnikov’s great achievement.
At the draft, the pick was announced by former Cape Breton Oiler, Tyler Wright, who is now Detroit’s director of amateur scouting. Wright, a former first-round pick himself by the Edmonton Oilers, 12th overall in 1991, played for parts of three seasons with the Cape Breton Oilers from 1993 through 1996.
Congratulations to Evgeny Svechnikov on his first-round selection and best of luck to him in the future. Brian McPhee Sydney