CALGARY, AB (League Release) – Everett Silvertips goaltender Austin Lotz is among the 53 WHL players listed in the final rankings of North American players from NHL Central Scouting ahead of the 2014 NHL Draft. In his second year of draft eligibility, Lotz is ranked 22nd among North American goaltenders. Despite being omitted from the final rankings, Silvertips forwards Ivan Nikolishin, Dawson Leedahl and Tyler Sandhu were also ranked by Central Scouting during the course of the season.
Lotz, 18, enjoyed the best of his three WHL seasons in 2013-14, finishing with a 31-18-3-2 record in 57 appearances. He ranked fourth among the league’s goaltenders with a 2.53 goals-against average and tied for third with five shutouts while also compiling a .905 saves percentage. His 31 victories and five shutouts this season were both the third-highest single season totals in franchise history. The St. Adolphe, Manitoba product was ranked tenth by Central Scouting prior to last year’s NHL Draft.
Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice is the top-ranked skater from the Western Hockey League in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings of North American skaters eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft. Prince Albert Raiders pivot Leon Draisaitl (4th), Calgary Hitmen power forward Jake Virtanen (6th) and Red Deer Rebels defenseman Haydn Fleury (9th) are also among the Top 10 North American skaters in the final rankings.
Reinhart, a product of Vancouver, B.C., is in his third season in the WHL with the Kootenay Ice, and enjoyed his most productive campaign to date, netting 36 goals and 69 assists for 105 points in just 60 games. The 6’1”, 183-lb center also played for Team Canada at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.
“I would compare Reinhart to Adam Oates; he’s a very cerebral player who takes what’s given to him,” Central Scouting’s B.J. MacDonald said. “He probably has the highest hockey IQ of any player in this draft and he knows where to go with the puck, even before he even gets it.”
Draisaitl, a product of Cologne, Germany, is in his second season in the WHL with the Raiders, and finished tied with Reinhart for fourth in WHL scoring with 105 points, including 38 goals. The 6’2”, 208-lb center also captained Germany in the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.
“What sets Draisaitl apart from other prospects is his ability to protect the puck. He’s very Jaromir Jagr-like in that sense,” MacDonald said. “He’s got that same style. He’ll connect with guys coming in late and hold onto that puck until the right play is there. He’s got a great wrist shot and snap shot and has surprised a lot of goalies.”
Virtanen, an Abbotsford, B.C., product, led all NHL Draft-eligible players in the WHL in goals with 45 this season en route to a 71-point campaign. Fleury, a Carlyle, SK, native, notched eight goals and 46 points in 70 games for the Rebels.
Other WHL skaters among the Top 30 include Swift Current Broncos defensemen Julius Honka (11th) and Brycen Martin (26th), Saskatoon Blades Russian rookie star Nikita Scherbak (15th), and Brandon Wheat Kings sophomore John Quenneville (23rd).
Five other WHL netminders were among the 30 top-ranked goaltenders in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings, led by Moose Jaw Warriors netminder Justin Paulic, who sits 17th on the list. Prince George Cougars netminder Ty Edmonds, who took part in the 2014 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in January in Calgary, is ranked 18th.
The 2014 NHL Draft will take place on June 27-28 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
Follow the links below to view and download the 2014 NHL Central Scouting final player rankings:
Visit everettsilvertips.com throughout the offseason for news and updates on the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft, our “Select-a-Seat” event, team appearances, the WHL schedule release and much more. For more information, call the team office at 425-252-5100, “like” the Everett Silvertips Hockey Club on Facebook or follow @WHLSilvertips on Twitter.