It’s often been said that with team success comes individual success.
The adage clearly applies to the 2012-13 edition of the Kelowna Rockets who had five players listed this week in NHL Central Scouting’s latest rankings.
Madison Bowey, Myles Bell, Mitchell Wheaton and Tyrell Goulbourne were all acknowledged among North American skaters, while Jackson Whistle made the list among North American goaltenders, in advance of this summer’s NHL entry draft.
Bowey, the 18-year-old defenceman from Winnipeg, was ranked 32nd overall, slipping 10 spots from the midseason rankings in January.
Bowey, who is currenty playing with Team Canada at the world under-18 championship in Russia, had 12 goals and 18 points in 69 games with the Rockets this season.
“(Madison) has always been projected as a top-end player, so it’s no surprise to see him ranked up there,” said Rockets assistant GM Lorne Frey. “He’s carried that through on the ice this season, he was outstanding for us late in the year and again into the playoffs.”
A defenceman-turned-forward, Bell made a significant jump in the rankings from 87th up to 46th among North American skaters.
The Rockets moved the Calgary product up to forward early in the season and Bell subsequently went on to lead the team in scoring with 38 goals and 93 points.
Since it’s uncommon to see 19-year-old players ranked by Central Scouting, Frey said it’s a credit to Bell’s skill and his ability to adjust to a new position.
“It was a great move for him and the team, it might have been the turning point in his career,” said Frey. “He did exceptionally well up front, he has outstanding offensive skills, a great shot and really good vision on the ice. It’s good to see him to continue to grow and develop as a 19-year-old and hopefully he’ll get some good opportunities.”
Wheaton is listed 69th heading into the draft. If not for a shoulder injury that kept the 6-foot-5 defenceman out of the lineup for the better part two months, Frey said Wheaton’s billing likely would have been higher.
“The injury probably delayed his development a little and kept the ranking down a bit, but he’s still a good young player, very mobile for a big guy and sees the ice very well.”
Showing up on the list for the first time is Goulbourne who is ranked 151st overall.
The 18-year-old forward from Edmonton scored 14 goals and 27 points while logging 135 penalty minutes in 64 games for Kelowna.
“I think a lot of people like his aggressiveness which is a big part of his game, but he also showed he’s capable of playing some very good hockey,” said Frey. “He’s an excellent skater and when he’s moving like he can, he’s very effective. He has some good skill to go along with his toughness.”
Whistle, who the Rockets acquired early in the 2012-13 campaign from the Vancouver Giants, is ranked 27th among North American goaltenders.
A product of West Kelowna, Whistle posted a stellar 15-2-0-1 record and 1.96 goals against average this season.
“(Jackson) had an exceptional year for us,” Frey said. “We knew he had some capabilities as a goaltender, but he performed beyond our expectations. (Goaltending coach) Kim Dillabaugh did a great job with Jackson, so kudos to him, too. Jackson’s improvement is a credit to both of them.”
The last time the Rockets had five or more players selected in the entry draft was 1997 when seven were chosen.
The 2013 NHL draft is scheduled for June 28 and 29 in Newark, New Jersey.