Newest London Knight Dalton Duhart
The London Knights held a press conference this morning at Budweiser Gardens regarding the addition of three new players to the squad; Jesper Bratt, Ryan Bangs and Dalton Duhart. “We had the same kind of press conferences with guys like; Sam Gagne, Pat Kane and Corey Perry,” said Owner, President and Head Coach Dale Hunter following the announcement. Unlike in the NHL, General Manager Rob Simpson doesn’t have the option of inking stars to multi-year contracts. Instead, as junior stars advance into the professional hockey scene, management must be up to the task of bringing in the next big star on a yearly bases. Today was another rotation in the never ending cycle of solid talent coming to a great junior team and city.
Forward Jesper Bratt has already signed a three-year entry-level contract with the New Jersey Devils back in May, after being drafted by them in the 6th round (162nd overall) in the 2016 NHL Draft. Dale Hunter was excited about his 49th overall pick from the 2017 CHL Import Draft “he’s an older kid, so he’s going to be ready to go and play on the top line.” Born in Stockholm, Sweden he’s played the last four seasons in his home country for the AIK Organization. He tallied 39 points (14G/25A) and only 12 penalty minutes in 95 career games in the Allsvenskan League and has international experience as well. He suited up for Sweden in the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and at the under-18 World Championship, scoring 7 points (3G/4A) in 10 games during international competition.
Already drawing comparisons to Montreal Canadiens prospect and new teammate Victor Mete, puck-wheeling defensemen Ryan Bangs hails from Stittsville, Ontario. “Ready to move the puck and ready to get the puck up the ice as soon as possible,” said Dale Hunter regarding Bangs. The 2016 3rd round pick (61st overall) for London comes into a championship organization, with a title of his own under his belt, winning the 2017 CCHL Championship with the Carleton Place Canadians. Despite his blueline expertise, he knows how to score as well, in 2013-14 his 23 goals was most in the OEMNHL when he played for the Ottawa Valley Titans Minor Bantam AAA team.
A Grand Blanc, Michigan Centerman named Dalton Duhart was the lone wolf of the three new players announced to be at the press conference today, putting on his new #71 green Knights jersey in front of the media. “I came here to a playoff game earlier this year, just seeing the atmosphere, hopefully playing in front of those people one day is going to be insane,” said Dalton when speaking to the London media for the first time. He was selected in the 5th round (67th overall) by the Tri-City Storm in the USHL 2017 draft, but elected to go the OHL route after the Knights selected him in the 3rd round (47th overall) in the recent league draft. He played for Detroit Belle Tire U16 team last year, tallying 42 points (17G/35A) in just 31 games and would go onto to score 5 goals (including a hat-trick) in 4 games at this year’s OHL cup.
With 22 days left in August and 22 days left in September before the London Knights go back to work for the OHL regular season. Bratt, Bangs and Duhart will now go through the tough tasks and realities a junior player must face when joining a new team; new city, new school, new billet family etc. It has to be a lot to take in for young minds trying to focus on propelling their game to the next level. If these boys live up to the hype, expect Bratt, Bangs and Duhart jerseys to start popping up in between the Gagne, Kane and Perry ones in the seats at Budweiser Gardens over the next few seasons.