Ceci bon for the 67's

DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:18 AM ET

To read Brian Kilrea's mind yesterday, you might have thought the 67's were going to take a player by the name of Justin Case with their first pick, 16th overall, in the OHL priority selection.

But no, Kilrea was actually thinking he had to take a defenceman just in case he loses his top two blueliners to the pro ranks.

So it is that Cody Ceci became the first Ottawa product drafted in the first round by the 67's GM since Kilrea chose Kyle Wharton in 2002.

"We had him ranked higher," Kilrea said of Ceci, whom the 67's had pencilled in 11th overall. "He's one of the kids we looked at and hoped for. Not only is he a right-hand shot, but he's from Ottawa. He's just a good hockey player.

"He'll be stepping in as one of our six."

Kilrea could already have seven veteran defencemen next season if Julien Demers, a San Jose Sharks' fifth-rounder, returns as an overager and Tyler Cuma, a first-round pick of the Minnesota Wild, is sent back to juniors for more development after missing all by 21 games in 2008-09 season with a knee injury.

"We're covering ourselves," said Kilrea. "You can't look for defencemen in the draft after the season has already started. If everybody's back and we find out we have a weakness in another spot, we'll make that decision later. But the uncertainty of Cuma and Demers makes that (Ceci) a valuable pick for us."

Ceci, a 6-foot-2, 188-pounder, had 24 goals and 72 points in 57 games for the Peterborough Petes' minor midgets and attending Lakefield College, a private high school, on an academic scholarship.

Earlier in the week, he stated that it would make his life easier to be drafted by the Petes, but they wound up taking left winger Matthew Puempel with the sixth overall pick.

"I was really relieved because Ottawa is my home," Ceci said of going to the 67's. "It was between Peterborough, Guelph and Ottawa, so when I saw Peterborough pass, I was a little frustrated because I wanted to stay at Lakefield. (When it was Ottawa) I was happy then because that's still a good atmosphere, so I didn't mind that at all."

Centre Daniel Catenacci was selected first overall by Sault Ste. Marie and Kingston made Ottawa-born centre Alan Quine the second pick.

The 67's wound up taking six wingers, three centres, three defencemen and three goalies.

The 67's second choice was left winger Aaron Taylor, a 5-foot-10, 180-pounder from the St. Catharines Falcons.

"He's very aggressive, very good around the net," said Joe Rowley, the 67's chief scout. "He's a reliable goal scorer who should make our team."

Ottawa had a second, second round pick, courtesy of an in-season trade that also brought in Travis Gibbons and Anthony Nigro, and with that selected Steven Janes.

COMPARED TO COWICK

A 6-foot-2, 180-lb. right winger who played with Catenacci on the York Simcoe Express, Janes was compared to Corey Cowick, who scored 34 goals for the 67's this past season.

If Cowick plays pro and doesn't return as an overager, Janes will be shifted to left wing and asked to fill a void.

"He's a hard-working, physical kid," said Kilrea.

With their third round pick, the 67's took 6-foot-2, 165-lb. Mississauga Reps centre Tyler Graovac, who reminds them of Ryan Martindale, who is expected to be Ottawa's No. 1 centre next season.

Next they chose Toronto Junior Canadians Nick Foglia, a small, quick right winger Rowley thinks could compete for a fourth-line spot.

The 67's most interesting pick was their fifth-round selection, defenceman Cooper Rush from the Mississauga Rebels. Contacted by the team yesterday, Rush confirmed he had grown in the past couple of months. The 16-year-old is now 6-foot-6 and 200 lbs.

"He's a project," said Rowley. "We'll see if he can get all his parts together. If his skill catches up to his growth, he could be a good one."

Ice chip

Former 67's trainer Brian Patafie has signed on for a similar job with the Sarnia Sting.

DON.BRENNAN@SUNMEDIA.CA

67'S PICKS

With draft number, position, 2008-09 club

16. Cody Ceci, D, Peterborough Jr. Petes

31. Aaron Taylor, LW, St. Catharines Falcons

36. Steven Janes, RW, York Simcoe Express

56. Tyler Graovac, LW/C, Mississauga Reps

76. Nicholas Foglia, RW, Toronto Jr. Canadiens

96. Cooper Rush, D, Mississauga Rebels

116. Mike McKee, LW, South Central (Ont.) Coyotes

156. Braden Mann, G, Brantford 99'ers

164. Ryan Van Stralen, LW, Upper Canada Cyclones

176. Remy Giftopoulos, LW/C, Brantford 99'ers

196. Evan Rodrigues, RW/C, Toronto Marlboros

216. Troy Anderson, G, Ottawa Valley Titans

236. Maxime Dumond, LW, Brockville Braves

276. Blake Stephenson, D, Toronto Young Nationals

296. Paul Dorsey, G, Kingston Frontenacs


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