67's Smith a star in L.A.

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:03 PM ET

Dalton Smith went to Hollywood in a supporting role.

He turned out to be the star of Ottawa’s travelling contingent.

Smith, a 6-foot-2, 203-pound winger with the 67’s, was picked by the Blue Jackets in the second round, 34th overall, at this weekend’s NHL draft in Los Angeles.

The selection meant that, after Orleans defenceman Erik Gudbranson was taken third overall by Florida on Friday, Smith was the next highest locally connected prospect to have his name called.

And a surprise to him it was.

Smith was projected to go in the third or fourth round, as Central Scouting had him 73rd on its final rankings of North American skaters. He could have even slipped lower. As such, his main reason in going to L.A. was to support fellow 67’s Tyler Toffoli and Ryan Martindale, who were 16th and 27th on the pre-draft list, respectively.

“I wanted to be here mainly to be with my teammates because they were both rated in the first round,” said Smith, who had 21 goals, 23 assists and 129 penalty minutes in 2009-10. “I wanted to get a look at what the NHL draft is all about. This is a good experience. I wouldn’t trade this for anything.

“I was surprised. I was ranked a lot lower, but it’s one of those things where you never know what a team is looking for.”

Smith’s father Derrick played 10 seasons with Philadelphia and wanted his son to get picked by the Flyers.

“I talked to them at the combine,” Smith said of the Blue Jackets. “They told me they liked the way I played with the physical game. They were a team I knew was interested and I was so happy to be selected.”

Kanata’s Ryan Spooner, a slick Peterborough Petes centre, was the next local to get picked. He was taken 45th overall by the Bruins.

“It’s been my dream for a while and I’m happy to get drafted,” said Spooner. “They’re a tough team, but obviously a great team.”

Toffoli was also drafted in the second round, 47th overall, by Los Angeles. The Kings traded up to get the 67’s offensive dynamo.

“It was definitely hard, seeing all the mock drafts and thinking you’re going early,” said Toffoli, who was happy for and proud of Smith, his linemate for much of last season. “It’s something you really think about when you think you are going to be a first-round pick. I was glad someone wanted me. I was fortunate it happened. I’m with Los Angeles and I’m really excited.”

Toffoli will be a frequent flyer the next few days. He is to come back to Ottawa to get his gear and then return to L.A. for a prospect camp Wednesday.

“I’m really excited,” he said. “I can’t wait to show them what I can do.” 

Martindale was the first pick of the third round, 61st overall, and will be joining Taylor Hall as a new Oiler. He said it was “definitely disappointing” not to get drafted Friday.

“I had a goal at the start of the year to go in the first round,” said Martindale. “To go back to the hotel was a little disappointing. You have to put it behind you. You can’t dwell on that.

“It’s a great young team. Hopefully, I can be a part of that,” he added with regards to the Oilers. “It’s so great to be picked by such a great organization with such a great winning history. They have such a great young team and I definitely feel that winning tradition will proceed going into the future.”

Olympiques defenceman Adam Janosik was also selected in the third round, 72nd overall, by the Lightning. Tye McGinn, another Olympique and the brother of former 67’s captain Jamie McGinn, was picked in the fourth round, 119th overall, by the Flyers.

Petr Mrazek, the 67’s goalie, was grabbed in the fifth round, 141st overall, by the Red Wings, while Ottawa West forward Corey Durocher of the Kingston Frontenacs was picked by the Panthers in the sixth round, 153rd overall. 

Olympiques goalie Maxime Clermont was also taken in the sixth round, 174th overall, by the Devils.

don.brennan@sunmedia.ca


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