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Two Oakville hockey players drafted in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft

Gar Fitzgerald
Gar Fitzgerald

Thursday and Friday’s NHL Entry Draft was filled with drama, suspense, and storylines. A big storyline is the town of Oakville's success in this year's draft, with two players being selected in the draft's top 100.

The first player selected was forward Danny Zhilkin, chosen 77th overall by the Winnipeg Jets.

Zhilkin spent his OHL career with the Guelph Storm, where he scored 23 goals and 32 assists, totalling 55 points in 66 games in the 2021-22 OHL season. He also represented Canada at the U-18 World Championships in 2021, winning gold, but his path is very different from many other OHL players.

Zhilkin was born and raised in Russia, but when he was nine years old, he flew to Canada for a two-week hockey camp. His English was also very limited, but that didn’t stop him.

"The coach saw me and asked me to play for the team in the following year," said Zhilkin. "We went back, packed our stuff, and moved here."

Zhilkin then found his way to Oakville and spent time playing with the Toronto Jr. Canadiens and the Toronto Marlboros of the GTHL.

When asked how he feels about joining the Winnipeg Jets, he said, "To go to Winnipeg, a Canadian team, it's incredible. Two or three years ago, I never would have really thought this was possible. It's incredible. I'm super thankful."

Jets Director of Amateur Scouting Mark Hiller was able to see a lot of Zhilkin and said, "He's a big, strong kid; he's a good skater, has some upside on the skill side and good speed at the centre ice position."

Zhilkin will most likely be heading back to Guelph this year to improve his development and may even represent Canada at the 2023 World Junior Hockey Championship.

You can follow Danny Zhilkin on Twitter @ZhilkinDanny

Hiscox Photography
Hiscox Photography

The next player drafted from our town is defenseman Isaiah George from the London Knights. George was drafted 98th overall by the New York Islanders.

George is a smooth-skating defensive-minded player who can join the rush and produce points offensively when asked. In his rookie season in 2021-22, George recorded six goals and 17 assists, totalling 23 points in 67 games.

He also spent the entire season with Oakville player and future Nashville Predator Luke Evangelista.

For minor hockey, George played for the Toronto Marlboros of the GTHL and a game for the Oakville Blades as an AP call-up.

George touched on why he thinks the Town of Oakville develops great hockey players, saying, "they produce a lot of great players; hockey is a big thing in the town. Growing up, it was always Oakville Rangers, making the AAA team and what tournaments you will play in."

He continues, "All any kid wants to do in the city is play hockey."

George was also a big Lacrosse fan as a kid and played in the Oakville Hawks organization.

For next season, George looks to build off of his year in London and become more of a dominant player and be more active in the offensive zone by creating more shooting lanes for himself from the blue line.

Follow Isaiah George on Instagram at @isaiahgeorge