EVERETT – Five members of the Everett Silvertips made the list when the final rankings of draft-eligible players for the 2013 NHL Entry Draft were released by the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau on Wednesday. All five Silvertips represented actually improved their status from January’s midterm rankings and will now await the opportunity to be chosen when the draft takes place on June 30 in Newark, New Jersey.
Defenseman Mirco Mueller led the way among Silvertips players at #9 among all North American skaters, up from #12 in the midterm ranks. Goaltender Austin Lotz climbed into the top ten among all North American goalies at 10th in the final rankings, up one spot from the midterm. Three other Everett defensemen also appeared in the rankings: Ben Betker was ranked 147th, Ayrton Nikkel came in just behind at #149 and Austin Adam was slotted 175th.
Mueller was named the Silvertips’ Rookie of the Year as a 17-year-old this season after becoming Everett’s first-round selection (11th overall) in the 2012 CHL Import Draft. The 6-foot-4 blueliner finished second among all WHL rookie defensemen in scoring with 31 points (6g/25a) in 63 games this season. A native of Winterthur, Switzerland, Mueller was one of just a handful of 1995-born players to compete in this year’s World Junior Championships and is currently in Sochi, Russia representing the Swiss at the Under-18 World Championship. He also played in the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Halifax, Nova Scotia in January.
Lotz, 17, appeared in 42 games for the Silvertips during his second WHL season and first in a starting role. The St. Adolphe, Manitoba product posted a 15-19-3-1 record, .907 saves percentage, 3.37 goals-against average and one shutout in the regular season. He then helped lead Everett to a pair of playoff wins in their first-round series against the top-seeded Portland Winterhawks. Lotz, who was selected in the seventh round of the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft, is currently with Team Canada at the Under-18 World Championship in Russia.
Betker, 18, appeared in the final draft rankings after going unlisted in Central Scouting’s midterm rankings. Acquired from Portland (along with Tyler Sandhu and Mitch Skapski) in the trade involving Seth Jones last May, Betker totaled six points (1g/5a) and 100 penalty minutes in 68 games on the Everett blueline this season. Seeing his ice time and defensive role increase throughout his rookie season, the 6-foot-5, 200-pound Cranbrook, British Columbia native was named the Silvertips’ Most Improved Player.
Nikkel, 17, moved up six spots on the final list from #155 in the midterm rankings. Hailing from Kelowna, British Columbia, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound defender came to the Silvertips from the Brandon Wheat Kings at the WHL’s trading deadline in January. Despite a hand injury that limited him to seven regular season games and three playoff contests with Everett, Nikkel finished the 2012-13 season with nine points and 117 penalty minutes (including 13 fighting majors) in 49 appearances.
Adam, 18, jumped up 20 spots in the final rankings after being placed 195th at the midterm. Various injuries limited the second-year defenseman from Surrey, British Columbia to 31 games this season, during which he compiled four points (1g/3a) and eight penalty minutes. Measuring in at 6-foot-5 and 190 pounds, Adam also played 46 games for the Silvertips last year as a 16-year-old rookie after being selected in the fourth round of the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft.
CLICK HERE for the final draft rankings of CHL skaters
CLICK HERE for the final draft rankings of CHL goaltenders
With their 10th Anniversary season concluded, the Silvertips are now preparing for their 11th year in the WHL in 2013-14. Visit our website throughout the offseason for updates on our head coaching search, the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft, NHL Entry Draft and much more! To keep up with all the latest team news and information, “like” the Everett Silvertips Hockey Club on Facebook or follow @WHLSilvertips on Twitter.