Three Kelowna Rockets have been cited in NHL Central Scouting’s preliminary rankings for the 2013 NHL entry draft.
On the list of the Western Hockey League’s top 25 skating prospects, defenceman Madison Bowey is rated 10th, while fellow blue liner Mitchell Wheaton is listed in the 22nd spot.
Among the WHL’s top goaltending prospects is the Rockets’ Jackson Whistle who is ranked seventh.
Each November, Central Scouting lists its top 25 skaters and top goaltenders in Canada’s three major junior leagues, as well the USHL.
The international rankings for eight countries were also released, as was a revised ‘watch list’ for those prospects starring in high school, college and Canadian provincial leagues, including the BCHL.
Bowey, 17, a native of Winnipeg, has three goals, nine points and a +12 rating this season with Kelowna.
“Madison’s strength is obviously his skating, there aren’t many young guys who skate the way he does,” said Rockets assistant coach Dan Lambert. “He just has to keep working on improving his defensive game and if he does that, maybe he can continue to move up in those rankings.”
Wheaton, a WHL rookie who stands in at 6-foot-4, 228 pounds, has three assists and a +5 rating in 20 games.
Wheaton, who played last season with the Alberta Junior League’s Spruce Grove Saints,
has been quick to grab the attention of NHL scouts.
“I think since the injuries to (defencemen) Mitchell Chapman and Mackenzie Johnston, Mitchell has really had to step up and play more minutes, he’s done a good job for us and he’s being noticed for it,” Lambert said. “He’s a guy with good size and he thinks the game very well. In the NHL of today you see a lot of the defenceman are 6-foot-3 or taller and Mitchell fits the bill.”
Whistle, from West Kelowna, was acquired early this season from the Vancouver Giants.
Since joining the Rockets, Whistle has been nothing short of brilliant, posting a 5-0 record, a 1.06 goals against average and one shutout.
“(Goaltender coach) Kim Dillabaugh has done a great job with Jackson,” Lambert said. “We’re very pleased with his play and the way he competes.”
The top-ranked WHL player is Portland Winterhawks’ defenceman Seth Jones.
It’s expected either Jones or forward Nathan McKinnon of Halifax will be the No. 1 overall pick.
The 2013 NHL entry draft will be held June 28 and 29 in Newark, New Jersey.
Pope on watch list
West Kelowna Warriors’ forward David Pope has been listed in Central Scouting’s preliminary rankings. The Edmonton native was given a C rating, meaning he’s a candidate most likely to go in the fourth to sixth rounds of the NHL entry draft.
“It’s a tremendous honour,” Pope said. “Playing in the NHL has always been a dream of mine, and just to be recognized means I have that chance of getting drafted.”
Pope has 16 points with the Warriors in 21 BCHL games this season.