St. Albert can add another name to its list of NHL-drafted players. Zack Ostapchuk, 18, was selected 39th overall by the Ottawa Senators at the 2021 NHL Entry Draft this weekend. He stood as the only St. Albertan to be taken in the seven-round event.
The young forward is back in St. Albert for the summer and learned about the pick while watching the draft with friends and family. Ostapchuk said he hasn't fully grasped the significance of the selection.
“It’s a pretty crazy feeling right now and it hasn’t really sunk in yet,” said Ostapchuk. “The house has been buzzing for a little while.”
Heading into the draft, Ostapchuk was confident he would be chosen. He was consistently ranked as a third-round selection by various scouting websites and there were rumblings some NHL teams were impressed with pre-draft meetings.
When it was all said and done, his stock rose from a potential third-rounder to an early second-round pick. Ostapchuk said it was a bit higher than anticipated and he is proud to join an up-and-coming Senators team.
“I did think I would have potential to go in the second round, though it might have been higher than I expected,” laughed Ostapchuk. “[The Ottawa Senators] are a hard team not to follow right now ... the youth that they have now will make for some exciting times in Ottawa.
“It’s a pretty cool feeling to be a part of that and I’ll see what I can do over there.”
It's a dream come true for a kid in central Alberta. Ostapchuk was born and raised in St. Albert and played minor hockey here, including a season with the U15 AAA Sabres in 2016. He was then drafted into the WHL after being selected 12th overall by the Vancouver Giants in the 2018 Bantam draft.
In Vancouver built up a reputation for being a hard-working player who is skilled in all three zones of the ice. He stands tall at 6'3" and will be tough to knock off the puck at 198 pounds. Ostapchuk is coming off a decent season with the Giants, scoring 16 points in 22 games.
Ostapchuk described what he thinks he can add to the Senators.
“I’m a big guy and I can really move,” said Ostapchuk. “I’m kind of a guy you can put wherever [in the lineup] and into any situation ... I think I am very versatile, and I play with a lot of energy, and I can put the puck in the net.”
His career has taken him across the country, from modest beginnings here in St. Albert to the west coast in Vancouver and now, hopefully, he’ll be making a new home in the nation’s capital.
Despite this, Ostapchuk said St. Albert will always hold a special place for him no matter where he ends up.
“This is home,” said Ostapchuk. “I’ve grown up here my whole life and I have lots of friends and family here ... it will always be a part of me.”
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