Trio of Rock­ets ranked for NHL­draft

The Daily Courier - - SPORTS -

Three Kelowna Rock­ets play­ers were listed on NHL Cen­tral Scout­ing’s fi­nal rank­ing of North Amer­i­can skaters for the 2018 NHL Draft in Dal­las, Texas, on June 22-23. For­ward Kyle Top­ping (No. 59), de­fence­man Li­bor Zabran­sky (No. 115), and for­ward Leif Matt­son (No. 157) made the list that was re­leased on Mon­day.

Top­ping, 18, just con­cluded his sec­ond full sea­son with the Rock­ets. In 125 reg­u­lar-sea­son games so far, the Salt Spring Is­land na­tive has recorded 36 goals and 58 as­sists for 94 points.

Top­ping’s 22 goals this sea­son placed him fifth on the Rock­ets in goals, and his 65 points made him the fifth-lead­ing scorer on the Rock­ets’ ros­ter.

Top­ping has also added two goals and four as­sists for six points in 19 play­off games thus far, in­clud­ing two goals and three as­sists for five points in four post-sea­son games this year.

Zabran­sky, 17, was new to the WHL this sea­son after be­ing selected 51st over­all by the Rock­ets in the 2017 CHL Im­port Draft. As a rookie, the Brno, Czech Repub­lic, na­tive was one of two Kelowna play­ers to suit up for all 72 reg­u­lar-sea­son games. The smooth­skat­ing de­fence­man notched two goals and added 17 as­sists for 19 points.

Matt­son, 18, wrapped up his sopho­more sea­son with Kelowna after his rights were ac­quired via trade in Oc­to­ber 2016 from the Bran­don Wheat Kings.

Matt­son has played in 109 reg­u­lar-sea­son games for the Rock­ets, scor­ing 34 goals and 40 as­sists for 74 points.

Play­ing 63 games this sea­son, his 25 goals were fourth most for Kelowna be­hind only Carsen Twaryn­ski (45), Kole Lind (39) and Dil­lon Dube (38), while Matt­son’s 60 points ranked the Stonewall, Man., na­tive sixth in team scor­ing.

Spokane Chiefs de­fence­man Ty Smith, the first over­all pick from the 2015 WHL ban­tam draft, was the top-ranked WHL prospect at No. 14.

Top­ping was the ninth-ranked WHLer and fourth-ranked for­ward — sec­ond ex­clud­ing im­ports — be­hind Red Deer im­port D Alexan­der Alex­eyev at No. 22; Moose Jaw D Jett Woo at No. 28; Leth­bridge D Calen Ad­di­son at No. 30; Van­cou­ver im­port F Mi­los Ro­man at No. 41; Calgary F Riley Stotts at No. 51; Red Deer over-age im­port F Kris­tian Re­ichel at No. 53; and Spokane im­port D Filip Kral at No. 54.

The North Amer­i­can rank­ings were topped by Rus­sian im­port F Andrei Svech­nikov of the OHL’s Bar­rie Colts, while Swedish D Ras­mus Dahlin led the Euro­pean rank­ings.

Top­ping

Zabran­sky

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