Historic draft for Rockets

The Kelowna Rockets made history of sorts during Thursday's CHL import draft, dipping for the first time into the Russian hockey market.

With their second pick of the draft, 73rd overall, GM Bruce Hamilton selected right winger Daniil Gutik from Yaroslavl, Russia.

With Yaroslavl Loko in the MHL, Gutik, listed as 6'3" and 179 pounds, had five goals and 13 points in 36 games. He added four assists in five games at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup tournament.

Prior to the draft, Hamilton said he has never been big on the Russian market.

"I don't know if we will go there because you never know what you're going to get or if you're going to get," he said.

Gulik's availability could hinge on whether Finnish defenceman Lassi Thomson returns to the Rockets next season. Thomson, who finished second in rookie of the year voting in the WHL, may return to his hometown team Ilves next season, with whom he is under contract.

However, that decision could depend on whether he signs with the Ottawa Senators, who selected Thomson in the first round of last week's NHL draft.

"If Ottawa signs him, they're going to have a say in where he goes," added Hamilton.

With their first pick, 13th overall Thursday, the Rockets grabbed Czech right winger Pavel Novak.

Novak split his time between the Czech Junior League and the men's 2nd Czech Hockey League.

With Ceske Budejovice Jr. in the junior league, Novak had 29 goals and 16 assists in 31 games. He added three assists in 20 games in the men's league.

Novak, who turned 17 two months ago, is listed at 5'10", 167 pounds.

The Rockets will only be allowed to carry two imports once the season begins.

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