Kelowna Rockets' forward Nick Merkley is ranked 13th among draft-eligible North American skaters for this summer's NHL draft

Highly-ranked Merkley to Top Prospects Game

Kelowna forward is among top-ranked players in Central Scouting's mid-term report

In his first season and a half in the Western Hockey League, Nick Merkley has commanded his share of attention from National Hockey League scouts.

On Thursday night in St. Catharines, Ont., the Kelowna Rockets’ forward will be among 40 players auditioning their skills at the Canadian Hockey League’s Top Prospects Game.

In Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings released Tuesday, Merkley is listed 13th among North American skaters, making him a probable first-round choice in this summer’s NHL entry draft.

Since winning the WHL’s rookie of the year honours last season, the Calgary product hasn’t missed a beat and currently sits third in league scoring with 14 goals and 64 points in 45 games.

Rockets head coach Dan Lambert said Merkley is deserving of the recognition.

“Surely the season he’s had so far, it’s no surprise he’s moved up in the rankings, and deservedly so,” said Lambert. “Nick just has to make sure he keeps playing his game, because you can go down just as fast as you go up. At the end of the day, he has to keep proving he’s the player the scouts think he is.”

A pair of Rockets’ defencemen were also cited in Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings—Devante Stephens was rated 108th among North American skaters, while Joe Gatenby came in at 134.

Rocket Shots…The Rockets (34-8-3-0) will host the U.S. Division-leading Everett Silvertips (28-12-3-1) for two games this weekend, Friday and Saturday at Prospera Place.

In the only previous meeting between the teams on Oct. 3 in Everett, the Rockets won 5-4 in overtime…Rockets’ centre Rourke Chartier is day-to-day with an upper body injury and is considered questionable for this weekend’s games. “He’s getting better daily,” said Lambert. “We’re hopeful he’ll be able to play against Everett.”

The WHL’s leading goal scorer was injured after being checked from behind Jan. 14 against Tri-City.

 

Just Posted

UPDATE: Kelowna mayoral candidates talk about crime

Candidates talk about an issue on many city residents’ minds—how to deal with crime downtown

Film exposing effects of Canadian mining company to be shown in Kelowna

Hudbay Minerals’ legacy of lead poisoning, and civil-suits including allegations of murder, rape and shootings

Kelowna councillor candidate drops out of race

Curtis Cinibel confirms he is withdrawing the civic election after filing paper to run

Okanagan College hosts 10th annual Powwow

The Kelowna campus will once again host the event Sept. 20

Cornel West to speak at UBC Okanagan campus

The professor will cover topics from his best-selling book

Store recognized for inclusive employment efforts

Shoppers Drug Mart in Summerland presented with certificate from WorkBC

VIDEO: B.C. deer struggles with life-preserver caught in antlers

Campbell River resident captures entangled deer on camera

Scheer pushes Trudeau to re-start Energy East pipeline talks

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer questioned the Prime Minister over Trans Mountain project

Mistaken identity: Missing dog claimed in Moose Jaw belongs to another family

Brennen Duncan was reunited with a white Kuvasz that was found in Saskatchewan

Abandoned kitten safe and sound thanks to B.C. homeless man

‘Jay’ found little black-and-white kitten in a carrier next to a dumpster by a Chilliwack pet store

Police chief defends controversial marijuana seizure

Advocates said cannabis was part of an opioid-substitution program in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Trans Mountain completes Burrard Inlet spill exercise

Training required, some work continues on pipeline expansion

Supporters of B.C. man accused of murdering Belgian tourist pack courtoom

Family and friends of Sean McKenzie, 27, filled the gallery for brief court appearance in Chilliwack

Pot, cash, mansions: Judge divvies up illegal estate of divorcing B.C. couple

The Smiths ran a multi-million marijuana operation that spanned three counties

Most Read