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Looking back at every CHL Import Draft pick in Victoria Royals history

The CHL Import Draft is one of the most important days of the offseason for major junior clubs across the country, providing teams with the chance to add some of the best hockey talent from across the globe to their rosters.

<who>Photo credit: Victoria Royals</who>Phillip Schultz was selected by the Royals with the 38th overall pick in the 2018 Import draft and would go on to serve as the team's captain for the 2019-2020 season.There have been numerous selections throughout the years that have gone on to have fantastic careers in the professional ranks. Leon Draisatl, Ivan Provorov, Andrei Svechnikov and Nico Hischier are just a handful of notable import picks who have appeared in the CHL over the past decades and gone into successful careers in the NHL.

This year, the Victoria Royals will have the seventh selection in Friday’s Import Draft, which is the highest selection in team history, giving them an excellent chance of gaining a player who can make an immediate impact on the ice.

To celebrate, we are taking a look back at every one of Victoria’s import picks from the last decade:

2021 – Sebastian Wraneschitz (G)

Last summer the team selected goaltender Sebastian Wraneschitz out of Wien, Austria with the 60th pick in the first round of the 2021 CHL Import Draft.

Although the 2002-born netminder would appear in just two games for the Royals during the 2021-2022 season, he would go on to find success with the Tri-City Storm of the USHL, posting a 13-3-1 record, a 2.16 goals against average (GAA) and a .907 save percentage (SV%) in 18 games for the club.

2020 – Marcus Almquist (F)

Forward Marcus Almquist is the only Victoria Royals import selection that still remains with the team.

The Rødovre, Denmark product became one of the team’s most reliable offensive weapons towards the end of the 2021-2022 season, recording seven goals and seven assists for 14 total points in 42 contests, with the majority coming in his final 20 games of the year.

Victoria selected the 2003-born forward with the 27th overall pick in the first round of the 2020 edition of the Import Draft.

2019 – Keanu Derungs (F)

Kloten, Switzerland native Keanu Derungs was selected with the 28th overall pick in the first round in the 2019 CHL Import Draft and would go on to become an impact player for the team for the next three seasons prior to his departure at the end of the 2021-2022 season.

The 2002-born forward had one of the best careers of any import pick to wear the blue and white, amassing 62 points (33 goals, 29 assists) in 101 games between 2019-2022.

His already impressive career had the potential to be even better as his time in Victoria would be shortened first by the COVID-19 pandemic, then by some unfortunate injury luck this past season, however he remains one of the best international players to see the ice for the club in recent years.

Derungs recently signed his first professional contract with Genève-Servette HC of the Swiss National League and is expected to make his debut this fall.

2018 – Philip Schultz (F)

Another native of Rødovre, Denmark, forward Philip Schultz would enjoy a successful junior career in Victoria after being selected by the club with the 38th overall pick in the 2018 CHL Import Draft.

He would quickly distinguish himself as a solid offensive weapon – amassing 62 points on 35 goals and 27 assists in 106 career games – and as a leader both on and off the ice, leading to him serving as the team’s captain during the 2019-2020 season.

Schultz would turn pro after the conclusion of his junior career and now appears for the Esbjerg Energy of the Metal Ligaen in his native Denmark.

2017 – Igor Martynov (F)

Another quality international pick by the Royals came in the form of Igor Martynov, who was selected by the team with the 30th overall pick in the 2017 Import Draft.

The Krasnoye, Belarus product would go on to appear in 124 games for Victoria from 2017-2019, recording 85 total points on 29 goals and 56 assists.

Martynov now laces up his skates for Dinamo Minsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), where he has played since the conclusion of his junior career in 2019.

2016 – No selection

2015 – Vladimir Bobylyov (F)

Lipetsk, Russia native Vladimir Bobylev is perhaps the best import pick made by the Royals in their history.

Originally selected by the Vancouver Giants in the 2014 Import Draft (with whom he played one season), he would be re-selected with the 38th overall pick in the first round of the 2015 Import Draft by the Royals.

The 1997-born forward would collect 112 points over a three-year WHL career, counting 37 goals and 66 assists in 110 games with Victoria from 2015-2017, and was a key contributor to the 2016 BC Division Championship team.

Bobylyov would carry his talents back to his native Russia following the end of his Royals tenure, appearing for several clubs in the KHL and second-division VHL, where he now plays for Lada Togliatti.

2014 – Kristian Ferletak (F)

Trstena, Slovakia product Kristian Ferletak was chosen by the Royals with the 54th overall selection in the 2014 Import Draft.

The 1996-born forward would appear in just seven games before being waived by the club. He would finish the 2014-2015 season as a member of the Swift Current Broncos, before returning to Slovakia to play for his local U20 club.

Ferletak has since carved out a career as a journeyman in various European professional leagues, and last appeared for Kiruna IF of the third-tier Swedish league during the 2020-2021 season.

2013 – Jiri Fronk (F)

With the 31st pick in the first round of the 2013 edition of the Import Draft, the Royals selected forward Jiri Fronk out of Louny, Czech Republic.

Fronk would never appear in a game for Victoria, however he would enjoy some success with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the USHL during the 2014-2015 season and play a pair of seasons in the American Hockey League for the Manitoba Moose and Tulsa Oilers.

He would later carry his career back to Europe, where he would appear for a number of teams in German, Italian and Czech leagues.

Fronk now plays for HC Litvínov of theCzech Extraliga.

2012 – Patrik Polivka (G)

Czech-born goaltender Patrik Polivka would go on to make 96 starts for Victoria from 2012-2014, after being selected with the 14th overall pick in the 2012 CHL Import Draft.

Like Bobylyov and Derungs after him, the 1993-born netminder would become one of the most successful international players to join the Royals’ roster after being selected as an import pick

Through his 96 games between the posts, Polivka achieved a 56-28-2-5 record, a 2.92 GAA and a .904 SV%.

He would begin his professional career following his time in Victoria, playing for a number of teams in all three levels of Czech hockey and one season with the Carolina Thunderbirds of the Federal Prospects Hockey League.

Polivka last appeared for SHC Klatovy of the Czech third division during the 2021-2022 season.

2011 – Lukas Kralik (F)

The first CHL Import Draft pick made in Victoria Royals franchise history (not including the Chilliwack Bruins) was forward Lukas Kralik of Unicov, Czech Republic.

He played in 42 games during the 2011-2012 season in Victoria before returning to the U20 ranks in the Czech Republic.

Since then he has appeared for multiple teams in multiple levels of Czech hockey and has also spent a number of seasons playing in France.

He last appeared for HK Nový Jičín of the Czech third division during the 2019-2020 season.

The 2022 edition of the CHL Import Draft is scheduled to begin at 8 am PT on Friday July 1.

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