Last season, Stefan Noesen and Rickard Rakell (in photo) often played together on a forward line for the Plymouth Whalers. They were watched regularly by scouts from the Ottawa Senators and Anaheim Ducks.
Last night at the 2011 National Hockey League Entry Draft at Xcel Center in St. Paul, MN, all of those elements came together as Noesen (from Plano, TX) and Rakell (from Sollentuna, Sweden) were both taken in the first round of the seven round draft.
Noesen went 21st overall to the Ottawa Senators; Rakell 30th overall to the Anaheim Ducks.
The last time the Whalers had two players taken in the first round was in 2001, when Stephen Weiss was taken fourth overall by Florida and Jason Bacashihua was selected 28th overall by the Dallas Stars.
Later in the draft, Garrett Meurs – a frequent linemate of Noesen and Rakell – was taken in the fifth round (123rd overall) by Colorado and goaltender Matt Mahalak was selected in the sixth round (163rd overall) by the Carolina Hurricanes.
The last time at least four Whalers were taken in the NHL Entry Draft was 2005 when James Neal was taken in the second round (33rd overall) by Dallas, Dan Collins in the third round (90th overall) by Florida, Ondrej Otcenas in the fourth round (123rd overall) by Carolina and Ryan McGinnis in the sixth round (184th overall) by Los Angeles. Later that summer and into the 2005-06 season, Jared Boll (4th round, 101st overall by Columbus) and Evan Brophey (3rd round, 68th overall by Chicago) were acquired by Plymouth in trades.
Noesen was interviewed Friday night by TSN directly after being selected by the Senators.
“I fell in love with the game through the (Dallas) Stars,” he said. “My great grandfather was Canadian and he showed me the ropes and took me to Stars games. I’m really excited to get started.”
Noesen was compared on the broadcast to Anaheim’s Corey Perry.
“Noesen’s the same kind of player,” said Ottawa general manager Bryan Murray. “He’s a hard-working, competitive person that’s paid an awfully big price to be a hockey player, moving away from home and doing the things he’s done. We like his competitive nature. Corey’s turned out pretty well and we think Stefan will, too.
The Senators acquired the 21st pick from Nashville in a deal during last season’s NHL trade deadline for Mike Fisher.
Complete 2011 National Hockey League Entry Draft results.
Video: Matt Mahalak’s video interview after being selected by Carolina. (Carolina Hurricanes)
Read more about Noesen from Rob Brodie and OttawaSenators.com.
See Noesen’s video interview after being selected by the Senators. (Courtesy www.ontariohockeyleague.com)
Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register profiles Rakell.
Aaron Paitich of AnaheimDucks.com profiles Rakell.
See Rakell’s interview after being selected by the Ducks. (Courtesy www.ontariohockeyleague.com)
We’ll continue to look for content on Monday.