UPDATE: Sting take Swedish defenceman, Czech forward in Import Draft

Eric Hjorth taking part in an NHL mini-camp with the Columbus Blue Jackets. June 2019. (Photo provided by Sarnia Sting from NHL.com)

The Sarnia Sting selected Swedish defenceman Eric Hjorth with the 17th overall pick in Thursday’s CHL Import Draft.

The 18-year-old was a fourth-round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2019 NHL draft.

An injury limited him to just four regular-season games in 2018-19. He put up three goals and three assists in three games with Linköping HC J18, and went pointless in one game with the Linköping HC J20 squad.

With their second-round pick, the Sting selected Czech forward Marek Berka 62nd overall.

The 18-year-old scored 29 goals and had 50 points in 48 games with HC Litvinov U19 in 2018-2019.

Sting General Manager Nick Sinclair said the team is really excited to see Marek and Eric in the lineup come September.

“Eric’s a big kid that has a great release, offensive-minded D-man with good skill that likes to drive the rush and create offence,” said Sinclair. “He’s a big kid with good size, he’s strong on his skates, he sees the game really well and we think he’s going to bring a lot to our team and be a big piece for us as we go forward.”

Sinclair said Berka has a solid two-way game and brings good skill as well.

“He’s put up points and scored goals at every level he’s played at, he’s a high-end character kid with real good skating abilities that gets up and down the ice quickly. We’re excited to be able to put him into our forward group and we think he’s going to add a lot of depth to the top of our lineup,” he said.

Both selections can fill Sarnia’s two import cards. Hugo Leufvenius won’t be back with the team this year after signing in Sweden, and Adam Ruzicka was dealt to Sudbury last season.

Past import draft selections made by the Sting include Pavel Zacha, Nikolay Goldobin, Nail Yakupov, Ludvig Rensfeldt, Nick Latta, Ivan Novoseltsev, and Patrik Laine.

The Sting declined to make a selection last year.