Rockets’ Nolan Foote skates with the puck against the Kamloops Blazers in February. Foote is ranked 37th on the final NHL scouting report. Photo: Marissa Baecker/Kelowna Rockets Images

Rockets ready to take flight at upcoming NHL draft

A handful of Kelowna’s best could hear their name at the draft starting Friday

The Kelowna Rockets’ best may be taking their first steps to joining the best-of-the-best in the NHL this weekend.

Several Kelowna players could hear their names called when the 2019 NHL Draft kicks off Friday in Vancouver, with a trio of Rockets’ being included as potential first-round picks.

Lassi Thomson, Kaedan Korczak and Nolan Foote all had stand-out seasons for the Rockets and will learn where their professional careers next take them Friday.

“It’s great for them to see them rated relatively high amongst their peers,” said Rockets’ player personnel director Lorne Frey.

“We’re all excited and hopeful they all do well. Every time the young guys get this opportunity they’re excited and we’re excited for them.”

READ MORE: Kelowna’s 2020 Memorial Cup hot topic at WHL annual meeting

Since the end of the season, Kelowna skaters have been scouted and evaluated by NHL scouts with the final scouting report released earlier this week.

Thomson is highest rated for the Rockets as the 15th best prospect, Korczak is listed at 32nd and Foote at 37th.

Frey said it’s not a matter of when the trio gets drafted, but where and for which NHL team. Either way, the Rockets’ hope to keep all three as the main cogs of the Rockets’ 2020 Memorial Cup run, which will be hosted by Kelowna in May.

“When you have that type of talent, it’s easy to build around. Having them back is critical for the success of our team,” said Frey.

READ MORE: Pre-season set for Kelowna Rockets

Other Rockets’ Jake Lee is ranked at 146th and Alex Swetlikoff at 175th. Forward Dillion Hamaliuk is still considered a top prospect though still recovering from injury and Rockets’ goalie Roman Basran is listed as the 18th best goalie prospect.

Thomson led all WHL rookies with 41 points, took home the Rockets’ Rookie of the Year award and was named the WHL Western Conference Rookie of the Year. The Finnish defenceman skates well, has a great point shot and can control a power-play.

Korczak was a rock for the Rockets all season. He suited up for all 68 games and recorded 33 points as he earned the Rockets’ Top Defenceman Award. The stay-at-home type defenceman has offensive skills as well with a keen eye for passing and a big body used well as advantage against opposing skaters.

Foote was an offensive powerhouse for the Rockets. The forward led the team with goals scored with 36 and was named the Rockets’ MVP last season. The 18-year-old is a power-play threat, is big bodied and loves to both score and hit.

The trio played at the 2019 CHL Top Prospects Game in January.

READ MORE: Rockets’ rookie grabs awards at season’s end

Lee and Hamaliuk were recently acquired by the Rockets via trade at the draft. Both were invited to the CHL Top Prospects Game.

Swetlikoff was a mid-season acquisition by the Rockets. The 17-year-old centre has plenty of maturing to do on the ice but could make be a late-round pick for a team looking to invest in the young players’ future.

Basran took main goalie duties for the Rockets’ this past season. Finishing with a 20-19-3-1 record, the goalie had a .906 save percentage for a Rockets’ team that missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

READ MORE: Rockets make big moves at WHL draft

The NHL Draft and fate of some of Kelowna’s favourite hockey players starts Friday at 5 p.m.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Price for one-bedroom rentals in Kelowna jumped by 10.8 percent between October and November: Report

Out of 34 Canadian cities, report said Kelowna had highest monthly rent increase

Province covers medical costs for Kelowna boy with spinal muscular atrophy

Spinal taps for Rumi Green’s spinal muscular atrophy treatment cost $120,000 each

Warriors look to snap 4 game losing streak in Trail

West Kelowna takes on the Smoke Eaters Friday night

Funding sought for family of 15-year-old Summerland girl with cancer

Treatment will involve two weeks in hospital, followed by eight to 10 weeks recovery at home

Central Okanagan Journey Home Society names new executive director

Stephanie Ball will head the Journey Home strategy

VIDEO: More air-passenger rights go into effect this weekend

The first set of passenger rights arrived in mid-July in Canada

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Scheer’s resignation tips party into internal war over school tuition payments

The Conservatives have a Toronto convention already scheduled for April

Best in business: North-Okanagan Shuswap companies named top 10 semi-finalists

Small businesses from Vernon, Kelowna, West Kelowna, Salmon Arm to compete for top spot

Sagmoen’s lawyer argues ‘abuse of power’ in police search

The trial of Curtis Sagmoen continued at the Vernon Law Courts on Friday

Aid a priority for idled Vancouver Island loggers, John Horgan says

Steelworkers, Western Forest Products returning to mediation

Navigating ‘fever phobia’: B.C. doctor gives tips on when a sick kid should get to the ER

Any temperature above 38 C is considered a fever, but not all cases warrant a trip to the hospital

Penticton resident allegedly has rear car tires stolen

The resident woke up today to find their back tires missing and their car on blocks

Woman struck, dog killed after collision on Highway 97

Speed is not believed to be a factor and alcohol has been ruled out

Most Read