The last time the NHL Entry Draft was held in an arena was in 2019.
This year, Randy Edmonds, a local hockey coach who is now a players’ agent at Quartexx, appeared on the show with his client Philip Broberg, who was eventually selected in the opening round of the draft by the Edmonton Oilers. If you watched Broberg’s reaction after the selection, you could see the North Bay native congratulating his client in the stands before the tall Sweden defenseman walked to the podium to don the Oilers jersey.
Fast-forward through the pandemic to the 2022 NHL draft, which begins with the opening round tonight in Montreal, and now Edmonds is hoping to make another cameo at the NHL draft in hopes that the next handshake will be on national television with will be held by his son Lucas Edmonds.
Lucas, the 20-year-old, had a coming-out party this season, scoring 113 points as an above-average forward in his only year as a major junior hockey with the Kingston Frontenacs.
Drafted from the fronts in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection, Edmonds played junior and some small pros in Sweden before deciding to come back from overseas to play in North America.
Looking back, Lucas admits he never realized how great this decision was in boosting his status among NHL scouts, despite being overlooked in the last two years of the draft.
“It’s obviously been a very fun time for me and I’m really glad I was able to make a full transition after Kingston,” he said.
“I think at the start of the season I really didn’t have too many expectations of how things were going to go. I wanted to somehow get into the team and make a difference. The coaches told me I was going to have a big role and that was tempting for me, I wanted to make the most of it and see where that would take me, but I don’t think I really imagined it being that good running,” added Edmonds, who was recently named the OHL’s third-star team right winger.
North Bay Overage forward Lucas Edmonds of the Kingston Frontenacs has been named the All-Star Team’s third right winger. Edmonds had an impressive season as a rookie with 34 goals and 79 assists for 113 points.
See related: Edmonds on the hunt for North Bay Hockey History
Edmonds was ranked the 104th North American skater in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings this spring. The Hockey News has projected Edmonds to finish in the top 75 of the draft.
The humble, mature young winger has spoken with many teams and hails from a successful NHL combine.
He says his focus has now shifted from doing the right things on the ice to saying the right things to the many NHL teams that have been interviewing him over the past few weeks.
“There are no more games to try to impress the scouts. So when I have meetings, lunches or dinners with teams, I just have to make sure I’m saying the right thing and not the wrong thing. Once you get to a point that you’ve done it enough times and you kind of anticipate the questions that are coming, and I think now I’ve got it down to a science, so I’m quite prepared to go to meetings like that,” he said he confident.
Lucas has credited his dad for helping him get better on the ice.
But now his father, Randy, is using his experience working with NHL prospects to help him prepare for all that he’s been through by speaking to the NHL teams that are interested in him.
“It’s been really helpful and kind of prepared me for what to expect ahead of time,” Lucas said of his father, Randy, who coached professionally with the North Bay Skyhawks in Sweden and locally in the 2000s.
“He’s very knowledgeable about these things and has been through it with other players so I’m definitely not going into this week blindly and it’s taken a load off me. I think it’s always good to have extra support in your corner.”
Throughout the process, Edmonds really wants to move to a good team that will give him the opportunity to grow. He says that what you do after the draft matters more than getting picked, so where he goes isn’t a big deal to him.
If selected, it would mean two straight years for North Bay players drafted into the NHL Draft, with Ben Gaudreau being selected in the third round as the 81st overall in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
Edmonds hasn’t been spending as much time in North Bay as Gaudreau recently, but he’d be proud of his North Bay roots.
“I think it shows how far North Bay has come in their development and youth hockey programs,” admitted Edmonds.
“A lot of people have put time and money into developing these kids and maybe one day they’ll become NHL players too, so it would definitely be special to be a part of that.”