With the 53rd pick overall, the San Jose Sharks have selected Noah Rod (photo) in the second round, whereas Elvis Merzlikins was picked as 76th overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Rod is a young and promising forward, playing for Chris McSorley’s Genève-Servette HC. The 18-year-old native of Lausanne was one of the best scorers in Geneva’s U20 team, posting 16 goals and 21 assists in 37 matches. He also suited up in 28 games for the NLA team and registered his first pro goal, along with two assists. He had strong playoffs with four points (one goal, three assists) in twelve games and impressed with his mature play. The scouts value him as hard-working, physical winger, who is a real team player.
Merzlikins, 20, is a Latvian-born netminder, who plays with a Swiss hockey-license. He is under contract with HC Lugano and played 22 games at the highest level this season. He posted a .924 save percentage, a goals against average of 2.13 and showed some impressive performances. He was a serious challenger for Daniel Manzato in the fight for the starting-goaltender position. His best assets are his size and net coverage, but he lacks composure.
According to Aaron Portzline, journalist of The Columbus Dispatch, Merzlikins is likely to attend the Blue Jackets' development camp, which will take place from July 7-10.
Contrary to common expectations, other Swiss players like Yannick Rathgeb (Plymouth Whalers, OHL) and Phil Baltisberger (Guelph Storm, OHL) stayed undrafted. In the end, with Kevin Fiala (Nashville Predators) and Noah Rod (San Jose Sharks) "only" two Swiss players have been selected in this year's NHL Entry Draft.