SEA DOGS SELECT CAJKOVIC FIRST OVERALL IN CHL IMPORT DRAFT
The Saint John Sea Dogs selected two highly skilled forwards in Thursday’s CHL Import Draft.
With the first overall pick, the Sea Dogs selected Slovakian forward Maxim Cajkovic from the Malmo Redhawks junior program in Sweden. The 17-year-old forward recorded 14 goals and three assists in 10 games with the under-18 team and added 10 goals and 11 helpers in 20 matches with the under-20 squad.
Cajkovic was dominant with Slovakia at the World Under-18 Championships, finishing second in tournament scoring with four goals and seven assists in five games, trailing only American forward Jack Hughes by one point.
“He has a great toolbox, he’s a smart player, and he will grow with our young talented nucleus,” said Sea Dogs President and General Manager Trevor Georgie. “He is excited to be a Sea Dog. He can’t wait to get here and will be very motivated in his NHL Draft year. He is very proud to wear our jersey and wants to be part of what is happening here in Saint John.”
Georgie and head coach Josh Dixon plan on meeting with Cajkovic this weekend at the Newport Sports Development Camp in Toronto.
“He has told us that he is excited to put the blue, black, and white on for the first time this weekend,” said Georgie, adding that Cajkovic is a goal scorer that will compliment Saint John’s existing forward group well. “We are going to spend some time to get to know him and remind him that he is just 17 and there is going to be an adjustment period moving to Canada, not just on the ice, but off the ice as well. We will be patient with him like all our other young players and will raise him the Sea Dogs way.”
Cajkovic becomes the second player to be drafted by the Sea Dogs with the first overall pick in the CHL Import Draft. In 2009, Saint John used the top pick to select Russian forward Stanislav Galiev.
Saint John opted to use its second round pick in this year’s Import Draft as well, selecting Czech forward Filip Prikryl 61st overall. The 17-year-old spent last season with HC Plzen junior program where he recorded seven goals and 21 assists in 14 games with the under-18 team and another four goals and 21 assists in 26 games with the under-20 squad.
“We are very pleased where we got him and love his skill set,” said Georgie. “He is a young player with lots of high end tools.”
Both Cajkovic and Prikryl are eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft. Selecting two imports gives the Sea Dogs some roster security and options moving forward if returning import Ostap Safin stays in the professional ranks.
“Our team philosophy with import spots is that they are used for elite goal scoring and point producing top six forwards,” said Georgie. “That is going to be the composition we strive for year after year, especially as we build for our next championship.”