The Edmonton Oilers weren't about to let Danny Syvret slide through three NHL drafts without hearing his name called.
With the first of two third-round picks - the selection coming from Philadelphia in the Mike Comrie trade - the Oilers snared a defenceman who is coming off a stellar 2004-05 season.
Back in January, Syvret was one of the key blueliners on the Canadian team that captured the world junior championship, netting the winning goal in the gold-medal contest against Russia and finishing with a plus-9 rating.
Syvret followed that up by captaining fellow Oil pick Rob Schremp and the powerhouse London Knights to the Memorial Cup crown on home ice. Yet he was still there when the Oilers went looking at No. 81.
"It's tough to rate a guy for a draft when his peer group are all 18 and he's 20, but when you compare him with the other 20-year-olds in major junior, he was one of the best and a lot of the other ones had already been drafted," said Oilers GM Kevin Lowe, who plucked Syvret off the junior club owned and operated by former NHLers Mark and Dale Hunter.
"The Hunters love him and he thinks the game very well. Third-round picks are not throwaway picks. He will be a steal if he ends up being a player."
Syvret, who was voted the second-most underrated player by the OHL coaches, could return to the Knights for his overage season, but is more likely headed to the Oilers' shared farm team in Des Moines, Iowa.
"One thing he has is leadership abilities, and he's a very mature young man, so stepping up to the next level is not going to bother him," said Oilers hockey operations boss Kevin Prendergast.
OIL OFFERS: The Oilers sent out a batch of qualifying offers to their restricted free agents yesterday, a group that includes Ryan Smyth, Eric Brewer and Mike York. Lowe said one or two offers are still being mulled over with the deadline set for today ... An extra 12 hours was tacked onto the waiting period for the unrestricted free-agent market to open, so the high-priced shopping will start at 10 a.m. tomorrow.
NAME GAME: St. Albert's Brendan Mikkelson was taken by Anaheim at No. 31 while Edmonton products Dustin Kohn (New York Islanders) and Matt Kassian (Minnesota) went No. 46 and No. 57, respectively. Adam Hobson, whose brother Jonathan plays for the University of Alberta Golden Bears, was taken at No. 203 by Chicago.