July 2, 2013

Maine connections in NHL draft

Three players with Maine ties were selected in Sunday's NHL draft.

The Columbus Blue Jackets selected right wing Oliver Bjorkstrand, the son of former UMaine player Todd Bjorkstrand, in the third round.

Bjorkstrand, who has played for his native Denmark in three junior World Cup tournaments, led all WHL rookies with 31 goals and 63 assists in 65 regular-season games with the Portland (Ore.) Winterhawks. His father, a Minnesota native, played his last 12 seasons as a professional for the Herning Blue Fox in Denmark.

The Pittsburgh Penguins selected Blaine Byron, who will be a freshman at the University of Maine, in the sixth round. Last winter, Byron, a center, scored 12 goals and had 40 assists in 51 games with the Kemptville 73s and the Smith Falls Bears in the Junior A Central Canada Hockey League in Ontario.

The Toronto Maple Leafs selected goalie Antoine Bibeau in the sixth round.

Bibeau, who posted a 2.81 goals-against average in his second season with the PEI Rocket, played three games as a 16-year-old during the final season of the Lewiston Maineiacs of the QMJHL in 2011.

-- Paul Betit


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