The NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings for the 2015 Entry Draft were released today and the North American skaters list features five BCHL players, one former BCHL player, and one player who played six games as an affiliate player in 2013-14.
The highest ranked BCHL player is forward Marcus Vela of Langley Rivermen at 131, followed by Powell River defenseman Carmine Buono at 188, Vernon forward Thomas Aldworth at 195, Vipers forward Liam Finlay at 199, and Chilliwack defenseman Vincent Desharnais at 209. Former Penticton forward Ryan Gropp, who now plays for the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL, is ranked 71st while former Coquitlam AP forward Mathew Barzal is ranked 11th overall.
In total, ten junior A players are ranked by NHL Central Scouting, and it's a significant accomplishment that half of them come from the BCHL.
Defenseman Mike Reilly (Penticton, 2011-12) has committed to play for Team USA at next month's World Hockey Championship. The 21-year-old Hobey Baker finalist had 42 points (six goals, 26 assists) in 39 games with the University of Minnesota this season. The Worlds are the third opportunity Reilly will have to represent the US after winning gold at the 2013 World Junior Hockey Championship and also playing for his country at the 2011 World Junior A Challenge.
Goaltender Laurent Brossoit (Cowichan, 2009-10) will make his first NHL start with Edmonton Thursday vs. San Jose. The 22-year-old from Surrey, BC, has a 22-21-4 record along with a 2.65 goals-against-average and a .916 save percentage this season with Oklahoma City of the AHL.
Kevin Flather has been hired as the Head Coach of the junior B Delta Ice Hawks. Flather replaces Derek Chichak, who was fired after the Ice Hawks lost in the first round of the playoffs to North Vancouver. Flather started the 2014-15 season as Head Coach of the Pacific Junior Hockey League's Port Moody Panthers, but was relieved of his duties after the team got off to a 0-7-0-1 start.