Pavel Novak celebrates his first WHL regular season goal against the Tri-City Americans at Prospera Place on October 2, 2019 in Kelowna, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)

Two Kelowna Rockets selected in 2020 NHL Draft

Michael Kruitl 110th overall to the Chicago Blackhawks; Pavel Novak 146th overall to the Minnesota Wild

A pair of Kelowna Rockets have been selected in the 2020 NHL Draft.

Defenceman Michael Krutil was selected 110th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks in the fourth round and Pavel Novak was picked at 146th overall by division rival Minnesota Wild.

Heading into the draft, Krutil was ranked 27th among European skaters by NHL Central Scouting, while Novak was ranked 85th on NHL Central Scouting’s list of North American skaters.

Krutil has not yet played a game with the Rockets, being selected 24th overall in the CHL Import Draft earlier this year. He’s been limited to 70 games over the past two years due to injuries.

Last season he appeared in eight games with HC Stadion Litomerice (Czech2), recording an assist and two penalty minutes. He also played on one game for HC Sparta Praha (Czech).

Novak was drafted 13th overall by the Rockets in the 2019 import draft, and was named the Rockets’ rookie of the year last season.

He led the Rockets in points last season, with 58 (25G, 33A) in 55 games. He’s the first rookie in the Rockets’ system to lead scoring since Cody Almond did in the 2006-2007 season and the first European to lead the organization in scoring since Vaclav Varada did with Tacoma during the 1994-95 season.

With the WHL season delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Novak and Krutil are playing with HC Stadion Litomerice in the Czech2 league.

Last year, four Rockets were selected in the NHL draft, including two in the first round. Lassi Thomson (19), Nolan Foote (27), Kaedan Korczak (41) and Dillon Hamaliuk (55) were all drafted to NHL teams in 2019.

READ MORE: Kelowna’s Jack Finley selected in 2020 NHL Draft

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


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