One-derful draft coup for 67's

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:01 PM ET

LONDON -- By all accounts, 15-year-old Logan Couture would have been the first kid selected in yesterday's OHL draft.

But when the OHL ruled that 14-year-old John Tavares would get a special exemption, right into the No. 1 pick by the Oshawa Generals, Couture's dream came apart.

And so did his opinion of the OHL.

Agent John Thornton sent a letter to all OHL teams, saying that Couture would not report to any team that picked him.

That didn't stop Brian Kilrea and the Ottawa 67's, who could have come up with the steal of the draft by picking Couture 12th overall.

"We're really disturbed with the process," said Thornton. "He was going to be the No. 1 pick and his dreams were pulled from right under him. I had the utmost respect for (OHL commissioner) David Branch before this."

MEET WITH FAMILY

Kilrea and 67's owner Jeff Hunt will meet with Couture and his family before this afternoon's OHL championship series game between the 67's and London Knights at the John Labatt Centre.

"We've expressed a great interest in Logan and we're hoping that we can convince him otherwise," said Kilrea. "We want to let him know that we want him here, and we're hoping he'll come and make us a better team."

The 6-foot, 180-lb. Couture played 59 games in Jr. B this year in St. Thomas, scoring 28 goals with 56 points.

Kilrea said he likes the kid's shot, and his potential to be a big, strong player.

"He's just a tremendous hockey player," said Kilrea. "He would have been No. 1 if it wasn't for John Tavares, so you know darn well that he's a tremendous talent."

The 67's coach flew back to Ottawa following Friday's 4-2 loss to the Knights and will return to London this morning for the second game of the series.

The 67's also plan to woo the Couture clan on Thursday in Ottawa when the Knights and 67's play the fourth game of the championship series.

"All I can say is that we're going along with the opportunity of talking to him, seeing him and convincing him," said Kilrea.

The 67's had five selections in the first four rounds, with two picks in the third.

They took right winger Patrick Daley from the Toronto Marlboros with their second pick, 24th overall.

Kilrea met with Daley earlier this season when the 67's played in Belleville.

"He was one of the fellas that our scouts liked, and so it was another one of those easy picks," said Kilrea. "He was hoping to come to Ottawa. We selected him and he's happy."

The 67's took defenceman Steven Tarasuk from the Marlboros and left winger Joe Pleckaitis from the Toronto Red Wings with the third-round picks.

Adam Sponseller, a centre from Midland Midget A, was their fourth-round selection.

Ottawa did not take a local player until their three last picks: C Damian Cross and D Julien Demers of the Nepean Raiders, and C Brandon Timm of the Kanata Blazers.

Defenceman Brad Albert of the Raiders was the top local prospect selected, in the fourth round by Brampton. Several other locals were picked in later rounds.

barre.campbell@ott.sunpub.com


Videos

Photos