Trio of Rockets ranked for NHLdraft
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.