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Wheat Kings add two Europeans in import draft

27.06.2019 12:13
By: Branden Crowe

The picks will add size and skill


Marcus Kallionkieli (Photo credit: Sioux City Musketeers)

The Brandon Wheat Kings added a pair of European Imports to the roster on Thursday morning as part of the CHL Import Draft. 

With the 22nd pick, the Wheat Kings took Finnish forward Marcus Kallionkieli, a draft pick of the Vegas Golden Knights. 

Kallionkieli stands 6'1" and spent last season in North America, suiting up for the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL. In 58 games, Kallionkieli scored 29 times and added 24 assists for 53 points. 

The speedy forward is an interesting story. His mother is from a small town near Sao Paolo, Brazil and his father from Finland. He is a dual citizen and despite being a soccer fan, hockey has always been his number one choice. 

Last weekend at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver, Kallionkieli was selected in the 5th round, 139th overall by Vegas, a dream come true for the young prospect. 

"I'm really happy to be picked by Vegas," he said. "The next step is I need to improve my defensive game, and I need to get bigger and stronger to help me win battles."

When asked to describe his style of play, Kallionkieli said its all about the offense. 

"I'm a goal scorer and I like to score goals, but I'd say I'm a two-way forward." 

With the 82nd pick in the draft, the Wheat Kings took Russian born forward Vladislav Firstov. 

The 18-year-old forward played last season with the Waterloo Blackhawks of the USHL where he scored 26 times and added 32 assists for 58 points in 63 games. 

Last weekend, he became the highest drafted Russian born player in Minnesota Wild franchise history when he was chosen in the 2nd round, 42nd overall. 

"He's a high-skilled guy. He didn't play a ton at times. Had a little bit of a minor role, but he produced a lot of points," said Wild amateur scout Darren Yopyk.

"He's got good hockey sense. He's got good skill, pretty good speed and quickness. He played the wing a lot but we do believe he can be a center down the road as well. We think he's a distributor of the puck. We think he sees the ice very well. Passes well forehand and backhand and we think he has a lot of upside as well," said Yopyk

Firstov is the first Russian born selection by the Wheat Kings since 2014 when they took another USHL star in Ivan Provorov. 

According to reports out of Minnesota, Firstov is committed to the University of Connecticut in the fall. 

LAST FIVE BWK IMPORT DRAFTS

2018
 
Eric Brannstrom - Played in the AHL (Did not play in Brandon)
Jiri Patera - Currently on the Wheat Kings roster. Heading into his 2nd season. 

2017 
Martin Kaut - Played in the AHL (Did not play in Brandon)

2016
Linus Nassen - Did not report, re-entered 2017 Import Draft and played for Medicine Hat
Daniel Bukac - Played in Brandon, released and now with Niagra (OHL)

2015
Oliver Kylington - Played in the AHL (Did not play in Brandon)
Dario Winkler - Played 2 games in Brandon, traded to Everett

2014
Ivan Provorov - Played 2 seasons in Brandon