PITTSBURGH, PA — Metro reporter John Matisz sat down with London Knights assistant general manager/coach Misha Donskov following the conclusion of the 2012 NHL draft.
They briefly discussed the London players who had their lives forever changed by being selected this weekend.
Olli Maatta, Pittsburgh Penguins (first round-22nd overall)
John Matisz: It’s ironic Olli is now a Penguin since the logical first pairing next year seems to be Scott Harrington-Maatta. Do you think the connection will help them develop together?
Misha Donskov: We are excited for Olli and the opportunity he has with Pittsburgh. He continued to improve his game over the course of the season and had an outstanding playoff run with our club. Like Scott, he has a high hockey IQ, is very solid defensively and has an outstanding work ethic. We know that they will both be a great fit for Pittsburgh moving forward.
Chris Tierney, San Jose Sharks (second-55th)
JM: He went a bit higher than most expected. Were you surprised by San Jose’s decision? He seemed to really buy into the system you guys employed this year, which is something teams obviously noticed.
MD: Chris made tremendous improvements in his overall game over the course of the season. He thinks the game well, has great puck skills, and makes players around him better. Chris is a great teammate, and we are excited for him to be drafted so high. Our group looks forward to watching him continue to develop next year.
Josh Anderson, Columbus Blue Jackets (fourth-95th)
JM: It’s pretty incredible he went from undrafted in the OHL to drafted in the NHL in only a year’s time. Where do you see him fitting in the team’s lineup next year, especially if he puts on a few pounds?
MD: Josh Anderson is a player with a tremendous upside. He made significant improvement in his game over the course of the season. He’s a big kid who can skate, handle the puck, and is tough to contain down low. Josh will be a huge part of our hockey club next year.
Andreas Athanasiou, Detroit Red Wings (fourth-110th)
JM: Andreas obviously went later than anticipated, at least when you look at rankings from the start of the year. Detroit could have just picked up another later round gem, though. Thoughts?
MD: Andreas is a player with elite speed. What separates Andreas from other elite skaters is not only his ability to skate, but his ability to skate with the puck on his stick. He moves extremely well laterally and is very dynamic on the rush. He is a player with hig- end skill. Detroit is an great organization that puts a premium on skill, and we know he will be a great fit.
Seth Griffith, Boston Bruins (fifth-131st)
JM: It must be great to see him finally get drafted. He was arguably the team’s runner-up for MVP this past season. Do you think he has what it takes to make the jump to pro next year?
MD: We are really excited for Seth. He has worked so hard to be drafted and has been rewarded for his dedication and commitment. He is a very skilled player with great hockey sense, outstanding puck skills, and a quick release. He is a leader on our hockey club, on and off the ice. This will be an important year in Seth’s development as he continues to work towards his goal of being a pro.
Ryan Rupert, Toronto Maple Leafs (sixth-157th)
JM: What separates him from Matt on the ice? Even though Brian Burke said Matt will be joining Ryan at Leafs rookie camp, there must be something they saw in Ryan that put him ahead of Matt on their list.
MD: We are excited for Ryan to be drafted by Toronto. Both Ryan and Matt are hard nosed hockey players that have outstanding hockey sense, a great shot, and play all three zones of the ice. They are character kids and very unselfish team players. They love to compete and love to win.