Tri-City Americans

Americans find forward in import draft

Bob Tory said he would pass on his turn in the CHL Import Draft if he did not believe there was a player who could be a difference maker for the Tri-City Americans.

Holding the 43rd pick in the draft, The Americans general manager was happy to see Czech Republic forward Jakub Illes still on the board Wednesday morning.

“We had about eight forwards identified and a couple of defensemen,” Tory said. “I really like the way our (defensive) lines shape up and I didn’t want to take a defenseman. Jakub fits what we are looking for. Replacing Malte (Strömwall) and with Parker (Bowles) being out until November, we just need him to fit in and contribute.”

The Vancouver Giants held the first pick of the draft and selected Russian defenseman Dmitri Osipov.

Illes, 17, played last season for the HC Vitkovice U18 and U20 clubs. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound center played 50 games between the clubs, scoring 11 goals with 16 assist and 38 penalty minutes.

Illes, who is eligible for the 2014 NHL draft, also played four games for the Czech Republic at the World U19 Hockey Challenge.

“The European draft is different,” Tory said. “Some (players) won’t come, some are under contract and can’t come. You just can’t take the best guy. It has to be a guy who will come. Our scout said he was a hard-working two-way player. His numbers were decent and we hope he can help us.”

Illes will have help fitting in as Czech defenseman Michal Plutnar will be starting his third year with the Americans this fall.