In a radical departure from what has been expected of the Lewiston Maineiacs in the Import Draft in recent years, the team selected two Scandanavian players with its two second-round European selections Tuesday evening.

With the 66th pick overall in the draft — the sixth overall in the second round — The Maineiacs selected Finnish defenseman Riku Dufva.

“He’s a skilled defenseman for his size,” Lewiston GM Roger Shannon said. “We believe he can come in and help run the power play. We’re excited to bring in a defenseman with elite league experience.”

Dufva, listed at 5 feet, 11 inches and 220 pounds, is a stay-at-home type defenseman with a right-handed shot. He was the player the Maineiacs’ staff had its eye on all along for this position.

“We’ve been in talks with him for about two months now,” Shannon said. “The agency that handles his affairs in Europe protected him for us.”

That agency, Shannon said, is the same agency that represents Denis Reul.

In 37 games with his team, JYP Jyvaskyla, in Finland last season at the Junior A level, Dufva recorded two goals and nine assists for 11 points, was a minus-10 and had 66 penalty minutes. He’ll play this season for Lewiston, should he make the squad, as a 19-year-old, having been born in 1990.

With their second selection this season, the Maineiacs went a bit younger, taking 17-year-old Swedish forward Oskar Orrpars with the 74th pick.

Despite his low draft status, having fallen to the third-to-last pick in the entire Import Draft, Shannon said Tuesday night he is excited about the young Swede.

“It’s not every day we can get a skilled Swedish player of this caliber,” Shannon said. “Most of them want to stay put in Sweden and play there. Oskar is going to, we hope, develop into a great player for us for three years.”

Orrpars played last season for Djurgardens as an under-age player on the Under-18 squad, finishing with eight goals and 14 assists for 22 points and 73 penalty minutes in 33 games.

But Shannon’s knowledge of the speedster is even more in depth. Orrpars has skated for Shannon’s V-Reds development program in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

“He’s always come over and played with the ’92s in camp,” Shannon said. “We’ve developed a good relationship over the years, and we were able to convince him if he wanted to come over and play here full-time, we’d have a spot for him.”

Barring any free agent signings, the Maineiacs now have the bare bones of their 2009-10 team. Training camp opens in mid-August for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.


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