Eighteen-year-old Oskars Bārtulis, a native of the Latvian city of Ogre, has joined the Philadelphia Flyers as a third-round pick in the National Hockey League draft July 30 in Ottawa, Canada.
Bārtulis, a left-handed defenseman, is the eighth Latvia-born hockey player to be drafted into an NHL team since 2000.
Bārtulis played during the past season with the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and was named to the league’s All-Rookie Team. Before that, he played in Russia.
The team’s scouting report on Bārtulis called him a good skater and said he is “strong both forward and backward with a smooth, effortless stride, good agility and lateral movement.”
The NHL, whose 2004 season was canceled because of a continuing labor dispute between players and the league, will put all 30 teams into competition when the 2005 season opens Oct. 5. Philadelphia will play a home game against the New York Rangers.
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