Vees Remain Top Ranked Team in CJHL


After winning their two games last week and improving their record to 26-2-0-0, the Vees remain the top ranked team in the country. For the fifth straight week, the Vees are ranked number one in the CJHL Top 20 Weekly Rankings.

An interesting note, that the five-team field from last year’s RBC Cup in Portage, Manitoba, is in the Top 20 rankings this week; four of the five in the top 10. Penticton (2), Soo Thunderbirds (2) Portage Terriers (5), Carleton Place Canadians (10) and Melfort Mustangs (11) are national ranked again this week.

Salmon Arm (14) and Chilliwack (15) are the other two BCHL teams to crack the list this week.

From the CJHL:

As the top players in the CJHL prepare for upcoming Selection Camps for the upcoming World Junior A Challenge in Coburg and Whitby in December, the final week of November saw several moves by top teams in the CJHL both upwards and downwards, as the competition for placement in standings intensifies.

The Penticton Vees continue another week as Canada’s top Junior ‘A’ team, while the Salmon Arm Silverbacks and the Chilliwack Chiefs round out the top three spots in the BCHL.

The Spruce Grove Saints and Lloydminster Bobcats are being pursued by the Whitecourt Wolverines in the AJHL’s VIterra North Division, and the Brooks Bandits move forward from an Honourable Mention to the top spot in the Viterra South Division.

The Melfort Mustangs continue to dominate the SJHL, while the Portage Terriers and Winkler Flyers remain the cream of the crop in the MJHL, however, the Steinbach Pistons are beginning to close in on  both them in the standings.  

The Fort Frances Lakers in the Superior International Junior Hockey League continue their strong grip on first place, while the Soo Thunderbirds, Powassan Voodoos, and Cochrane Crunch are beginning to separate themselves from the rest of the NOJHL.

The Trenton Golden Hawks are running away with the lead from the rest of the OJHL, while the Carleton Place Canadians and the Cumberland Grads have strengthened their positioning in the overall standings of the CCHL.

The College Francais de Longueuil, and the Montagnards de Sainte-Agathe remain in a dogfight for the top spot in the QJHL, but are followed closely by Les Cobras de Terrebonne.

The Summerside Western Capitals continue to roll along atop the overall standings in the MHL, where a mere four points separate four teams from second place overall.

Top 20 Rankings

  1. Penticton Vees (BCHL) (1)
  2. Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL) (2)
  3. Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL) (5)
  4. Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) (6)
  5. Portage Terriers (MJHL) (3)
  6. Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL) (4)
  7. Lloydminster Bobcats (AJHL)  (9)
  8. Winkler Flyers  (MJHL) (10)
  9. Powassan Voodoos (NOJHL) (7)
  10. Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL) (8)
  11.  Melfort Mustangs (SJHL) (13)
  12. Summerside Western Capitals (MHL) (12)
  13. Cochrane Crunch (NOJHL) (11)
  14. Salmon Arm Silverbacks (BCHL) (17)
  15. Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL) (19)
  16. Whitecourt Wolverines (AJHL) (16)
  17. Brooks Bandits (AJHL) (HR)
  18. Cumberland Grads (CCHL) (HR)
  19. College Francais de Longeueil (QJHL) (18)
  20. Montagnards de Sainte-Agathe (QJHL) (20)

Honourable Mention: Battlefords North Stars (SJHL), Weyburn Red Wings (SJHL), Steinbach Pistons (MJHL), Brockville Braves (CCHL), Ottawa Jr. ‘A’ Senators (CCHL) 


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Post-Game Blog: Gr-Eight Scott! Conway, Vees Torch Trail

Post-Game Chart Nov 28




(Demico Hannoun, left, and Scott Conway had big nights Saturday)

  • If you recognized the Back to the Future reference in the title of the blog, then take a bow. Doc Brown had the trademark line “Great Scott!” in the series and it could have been applied Saturday to the Vees win over Trail and the performance of Scott Conway. The Vees torched the Smokies for eight goals and Conway had a game-high four points in the win. Saturday was the second time in just THREE games the Vees have scored eight in a game and third time this season. Also, they’ve now outscored Trail 26-6 through four games this season and 21-3 in just the last three games in the season series. Wrap your head around that.
  • It wasn’t just Conway on Saturday and that’s what made the win so satisfying for the team. Six different players scored and all four lines had at least on goal in the game. Depth players like Mitch Brooks, Desi Burgart and Taylor Ward all found the scoresheet, as it was not just the veterans contributing either. Five rookies combined for two goals and six points in the win, as Burgart led the young pups with a goal and an assist. There wasn’t one weak link on Saturday as the Vees got contributions from up and down their line-up and even from their blue-line, as they combined for eight points, all assists, in the win. In all, once scoring corrections are submitted, 14 of the Vees 18 skaters on Saturday had at least a single point; that’s what you call a team effort.
  • Before the game, the message was energy. The coaches wanted their team to play with a lot more energy Saturday after it was noticeably missing in their game against Vernon Wednesday. The very first shift of the game was a tone setter, as the line of Mitch Brooks, Demico Hannoun and Luke Voltin went right into the Trail zone, threw their weight around and ate up some clock; the standard was set. The day off Thursday and no game Friday, definitely helped the Vees but they still made the conscious effort to  play at a higher pace than they did the game before and it paid dividends Saturday. Trail, who played in Wenatchee Friday, had trouble keeping up with the Vees speed early and that got them into trouble as the game went on; a bit road weary too. It’s great to watch a plan come together and then get executed very well. It’s not only satisfactory for the coaches to see their team go about the plan that was laid out before them, but it shows the players the benefits of sticking to the plan at hand. The coaches wanted more energy, quicker pace and that netted not only the win but eight goals. At this level, keeping you feet constantly moving, shift by shift, is what separates the good teams from the great teams. No let downs from the Vees last night.
  • Speaking of moving their feet, Demico Hannoun arguably is one of the best players in the BCHL when he’s playing a top speed. When the 20-year-old is going, keeping his feet moving, shift after shift, he’s hard to stop. Just look at his second goal of the game Saturday, as he blazes down the left-wing, beats the defenseman wide, and in one fluid motion, the right-handed shot forward turns the puck back onto his forehand and as he’s about to go around the net, he flips it over the goalie’s glove on the far-side. Patented Hannoun dangle. I’ve written about how well-rounded his game has become this year but it’s nice to see him finding the offensive touch again and consistently; three goals in three games for the 20-year-old.
  • I really liked the line Hannoun was playing on with fellow 20-year-olds in Brooks and Voltin. As Brooks dubbed it post-game, the “Old Boys Club.” The three veteran players had a very effective game Saturday, combining for three goals and six points; all three had two-point nights. They were hard in on the fore-check, played a heavy game and didn’t cut corners in their own end. An example? With the score 8-1 Vees, I watched Brooks bust his butt to get back to the back-post and break up a pass across for Trail’s Evan MacEachern. A small thing like that is what makes coaches smile. Great example set by a 20-year-old in Brooks, showing he’s not cutting corners, no matter the score.
  • Staying with the veterans, how about the pass by Voltin to Scott Conway, that eventually led to the Nicholas Jones opening goal? Voltin, from his own left-circle, fires a saucer pass all the way out to the far-side of the neutral zone, that lands right on the tape of Conway’s stick. Conway then moved in and found Jones at the back-post. That was purty.
  • Scott Conway is rounding into form and that’s scary, considering he’s still be putting up points. Conway was back to his usual self on Saturday, making plays, hounding the puck and being a factor at both ends of the ice. He had two great setups on the Vees’ two first goals, dishing great passes to Nicholas Jones and Hannoun. Then, he sniped top corner on his first goal of the second period, then rolled his sleeves up, went to a greasy area and banged-in his second. He was good in his own end too, breaking up plays and getting in on the back-check. The key to the Vees is their best players are their hardest-working players.
  • Another check-mark? Their start. Going into Saturday’s game, the Vees had given up the game’s first goal in three straight. Well, that Jones goal came 64-seconds into the game, on their first shot, then they added a power-play marker late to take a two-goal lead into the break. Big, because the Vees are now 21-0 when they scored first and 12-0 when they lead after 20-minutes.
  • Quietly (?) Dante Fabbro picked up three assists Saturday and now is fifth in BCHL scoring with 37 points in just 22 games. That’s fifth overall, as in, only four forwards in the entire league have more points than him. Decent.
  • Talked about young guys earlier and it was great to see Taylor Ward have a big night. A 17-year-old rookie and a guy playing a depth role but he had a big impact Saturday. Scores a beauty of a goal, a rocket from the right-wing circle and then has a great scrap with Trail’s John Laurito. Well, he even drew a penalty right after his goal, that to Mitch Brooks making it 4-0. Big confidence boost for “Wardo” and for the team as well, when young guys like him can be a spark plug. Here’s his goal:



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Blog Preview: Vees Looking to Stay Perfect at Home vs. Smokies

Nov 28



  • The Penticton Vees continue their five-game home stand tonight, when they host the Trail Smoke Eaters at the SOEC; face-off 6 pm. The Vees had Friday off after winning 4-3 in OT over the Vernon Vipers Wednesday. Trail went across the border last night and picked up a 4-2 win in Wenatchee. The Vees play again Wednesday against Merritt and the Smokies hit the road again to West Kelowna on Tuesday.
  • Tonight is the fourth meeting between the two teams and the Vees have won the first three, two in Trail. They won in Penticton 4-3 back on October 7th, and picked up two lopsided wins at Cominco Arena, 6-1 on November 1st and 7-1 on November 10th. Those last two wins are impressive, not only by the combined 13-2 score but the Vees historically have had trouble in Trail over the years. After tonight, they play each other three more times, twice in Penticton and those coming in late January and in mid-February. The last two years the Vees have had their way with Trail, as they were 6-0-0-1 against them in seven games last season.
  • How good have the Vees been at home? Well, they’ve won 17 straight regular season home games going back to February 11th, 2015. In their last 30 regular season home games, they’re 27-0-1-2. That’s OK.
  • The Vees did get some good news with their roster, as Ben Brar is back after serving a two-game suspension, under the Jr. ‘A’ Supplement. Brar was handed the two-game ban after taking a major penalty for checking from behind against Langley. Dixon Bowen and Easton Brodzinski are still out with upper and lower body injuries respectively. Brodzinski could be back next Wednesday but that’s just speculation at this point. Gabe Bast and Seamus Donohue are nursing longer-term injuries and both are targeting post-Christmas returns. Well, Bast has been cleared to resume “light skating” and might have a chance to play before the Christmas break but that’s a slim possibility at this point.
  • The Vees will go with 11 forwards and six defensemen tonight. Tyson Jost, Owen Sillinger or Luke Voltin will take turns centering the Vees fourth line. Nicholas Jones moves up to play with Jost and Scott Conway, Owen Sillinger will center Ben Brar and Chris Gerrie, and Demico Hannoun slides over to the left-wing, with Voltin in the middle and Mitch Brooks on the right-side.
  • Another streak going is the respective point streaks for Scott Conway and Tyson Jost. Conway has points in 24 straight games and Jost 15. Conway’s stretches all the way back to September 16th, and Jost has 14 goals and 33 points during his streak. It’s been awfully entertaining, watching him and Nanaimo’s Sheldon Rempal battle for the BCHL scoring lead. Entering tonight’s action, both have 56 points but Rempal has the tie-breaker with 28 goals.
  • Zach Driscoll will get the start in net for the Vees and will be highly motivated. Driscoll was unfortunately saddled with his first loss last Friday in Langley and will want to put that behind him and in a hurry. His numbers are still excellent, as he’s 8-1 on the year .936 save percentage and 1.89 goals-against average. He’s been spectacular against Trail this year too, going 2-0, while posting a eye-popping .974 save percentage in those two starts.
  • Where Driscoll has excelled against Trail, Bailey MacBurnie hasn’t against Penticton. The 20-year-old is 0-2 against the Vees with some inflated stats. He sports a 6.45 goals-against average and a .731 save percentage in just 65-minutes against Penticton. He took the loss on October 7th, and was hooked after just six-minutes against the Vees on November 10th; three goals on the first four shots. He’s be sound otherwise on the year, and has won two of his last three starts. He was the second star in Wenatchee last night and I’m sure he’ll be motivated to show his worth against the Vees tonight.
  • The start will be my focus tonight, as it’s come under some scrutiny of late. The Vees have given up the first goal of the game in three straight and four of their last five. They’ve trailed or were tied after the first period in three of those five games. Yes, they’ve won four of those five and it looks like I might be splitting hairs, but the coaching staff has reiterated they need to establish good habits now, as they’re “trying to get better every day.” The stats don’t lie either, the Vees are 20-0 when they score first and 11-0 when they lead after one. When they get scored on first they’re 5-2, not bad and 2-1 when trailing after one. Still solid but that’s a big difference. Plus, Trail had a great start against Wenatchee last night, scoring three goals in less than three-minutes to start the game. The Vees better be ready right at puck drop.
  • Cherry Lane Shopping Centre pre-game show goes at 5:40 pm, play-by-play at 6 pm on EZ Rock AM 800, and on
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Jost, Fabbro Profiled by

Jost_Fabbro Collage

Photos: Garrett James Photography

From NHL. com:

“There’s no competition between teammates, Penticton Vees forward Tyson Jost declared.

Not even amongst roommates, either.

Bragging rights aren’t on the line in whether he or Vees defenseman Dante Fabbro is first to hear his name called in the 2016 NHL Draft.”


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Post-Game Blog: Conway, Vees Rally Past Vipers

Post-Game Chart Nov 25




  • Did they win? Yes. Did they go about it the way they envisioned? No. The Vees had to come back from 1-0, 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to earn a single point before Scott Conway’s overtime heroics; more on him in a bit. If you’re keeping track at home, Wednesday was the third straight game the Vees surrendered the opening goal and fourth in their last five they either were tied or trail after the first 20-minutes. You do have to keep in mind they were missing five regulars last night, two defensemen and three forwards, but it wasn’t a Picasso.
  • First off, have to acknowledge the desire by the group. They could have easily packed it in after going down 2-0 early in the second or 3-1 early in the third. For most teams that third Vipers goal could have been the death knell but the Vees aren’t most teams. They just had back-to-back power-plays from the tail end of the second to the early part of the third but couldn’t manufacture the equalizer on those two opportunities. Vernon gets back to even strength and comes back down the other way, and on their FIRST shot of the third, they score to make it 3-1; a punch to the gut. But instead of wilting, the Vees got a goal a minute and 14-seconds later from Chris Gerrie to cut the Vernon lead to one, which gave them hope. That was a big key for the Vees in their win, is how they responded to the Vipers goals; their second and third anyways. Hard-working shift by Gerrie and his line-mates in Nicholas Jones and Owen Sillinger, as they flooded the net and on the fourth opportunity, Gerrie tucks ‘er in after a scramble. Then, just after they pulled the goalie, Griffin Mendel gets his shot through and Scott Conway tips it in with just 1:36 left on the clock. This team has proven, time and again, they’re never out of a game.
  • Gerrie, Jones and Sillinger were the Vees best line throughout the game. Yes, Conway scored twice and Jost had a pair of assists, but those three I thought were at their best from the second period onward. They had their feet moving, were hounding pucks on the fore-check and were around the Vipers net quite a bit. Jones had a goal and a helper, Gerrie scored and Sillinger had an assist and almost scored too; stopped on a partial breakaway in the third. These three could be or need to be a key piece for the Vees moving into the next month, especially when the Vees will be missing Jost at the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge. Assistant Coach Steve Cawley made an interesting comment after the game, saying you can tell how the team, and that line is doing, by how Sillinger is playing. Quiet first period for Silly and the Vees but once he had his feet moving, the Vees started to claw back. That “second-line” could be the x-factor moving forward and into the post-season.
  • What more can you say about Scott Conway? He’s a gamer and poised veteran. Jost and him were missing their line-mate Easton Brodzinski but the two still combined for four points and Conway scored the game-tying and game-winning goals. Conway smartly put himself in front of the net to get enough of Mendel’s point-shot to tie the game, than scores the OT-winner on a well placed shot. When watching the tape on the OT goal, Conway moves off the right-wing boards to the middle, his momentum taking him to the blocker-side of the net, but he quickly fires a wrist-shot back on the glove-side of Andrew Shortridge, that went under the goalie’s glove. I think the shot surprised Shortridge, who was probably thinking blocker too, then saw the shot come back on his glove-side. I can’t divulge too much but lets just say where Conway’s shot ended up on the game-winner was not by fluke. He does his homework.
  • Daivd Eccles, Griffin Mendel and Sam Jones. Three guys who stepped up when needed. Though he had that miscue on Vernon’s first goal, I thought Eccles settled in and was a horse on the Vees blue-line. He was given more minutes as the game went on but his play didn’t drop off. Mendel, 16, and Jones, a young 18, saw more and more minutes deeper into the game and didn’t show their age on the ice. Mendel and Jones were on the ice when the Vees tied the game at three and that wasn’t by mistake; they earned their minutes.  Both picked up assists on that game-tying goal too. Mendel and Jones have been put into a larger role than originally anticipated with the Vees rash of injuries on the blue-line, but the two have risen to the occasion and have accelerated their development. Impressed by the young pups on the blue-line.
  • The Vees did something Wednesday, that no other team has against Vernon this year: Beat them when trailing in the third. Vernon was 8-0 going into the game when leading after two periods this season but the Vees ended that streak. It was just the third time this year the Vees trailed after the first period and just the fourth time they trailed after two. Yeah, they’ve won quite a few games when they’ve been ahead by a few but Wednesday showed they can come from behind  too. Well, they’ve shown that in the last month at home, beating Nanaimo and Cowichan Valley when trailing. This team can handle adversity. That was a question during their 23-game run, is could they be as good when it gets challenging. They answered that question last night.
  • Impressive win when you considered the Vees never lead in regulation and trailed for nearly 54-minutes of the game.
  • Earlier Wednesday Hockey Canada released Team Canada West’s camp roster for the upcoming World Junior ‘A’ Challenge in Ontario. Tyson Jost and Dante Fabbro were invited to camp but there was a few notable omissions and not just in Penticton. I was surprised Nicholas Jones or Owen Sillinger weren’t at least invited to camp; Chris Gerrie too. Remember, It’s a tournament for players 19-years-old and younger and you can only have five 19-year-olds on your team. Jones played in the event three years ago when he was with the Sherwood Park Crusaders and is a 41-goal guy in the AJHL. Sillinger is only a 18-year-old and can play both center and the wing. There was a few players around the league that was left off the camp roster that raised my eyebrows. Congratulations none the less to Jost and Fabbro on representing Canada once again.
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Blog Preview: Back Home & Letting the Snakes In

Nov 25



*If you’re trying to listen from the United States, you can no longer stream audio as the IP address has been geo blocked; essentially a geographical technicality. What you can do is listen through a third-party, by logging on to then searching, “EZ Rock AM 800.” Or, you can download the EZ Rock App in Itunes or on the Android market.

The Penticton Vees are back home and kick-off a five game stretch at the SOEC, starting tonight against long-time Okanagan rival, the Vernon Vipers; just the second meeting this season between the two.

The Vees went down to the coast for a two-game Mainland Division road trip last weekend, seeing their 23-game win streak end Friday in Langley before rebounding in Coquitlam Saturday. The Vees dropped a 4-2 decision to the Rivermen, before pounding the Express 8-2 24 hours later. Its five straight at the SOEC, starting with the Vipes tonight, Trail Saturday, Merritt next Wednesday, Vernon again December 4th and Alberni Valley comes to town December 5th. The Vees don’t head out on the road again until December 11th.

Easton Brodzinski will miss tonight's game

Easton Brodzinski will miss tonight’s game

Vernon plays four of their next five on road, including going to Salmon Arm Friday, to stark a weekend home-and-home with the Silverbacks.

This is the first time these two storied rivals have met since the Vees home opener way back on September 16th, a game in which the home team won 3-2. The rivalry will be reignited over the next six weeks, as these two play each other four more times between now and New Year’s Day.

Scott Conway, who scored two goals against Vernon back in September, is riding a BCHL-best 23-game point streak heading into tonight’s game. Coincidentally enough his streak started September 16th against Vernon. Captain Tyson Jost has points in 14 straight and was recently awarded an Honourable Mention for the BCHL Player of the Week award; he had eight points in three games a week ago.

Penticton will be a bit short on bodies up front for tonight. Ben Brar is serving the second of a two-game automatic suspension he received last week and the Vees will be missing Dixon Bowen again and now Easton Brodzinski, as he’s sidelined with a lingering lower-body injury. Penticton has called up 16-year-old Chase Stevenson from the Okanagan Rockets to help fill the void; he’ll wear number 28.

Brodzinski was playing through the lingering injury but will sit out tonight’s and Saturday’s game against Trail. Also not playing tonight are defensemen Gabe Bast and Seamus Donohue, who are still recovering from longer-term injuries.

No word when I wrote this, on who will start in net for the Vees but they can’t make a bad choice. Anthony Brodeur picked up his 15th win in his 15th start Saturday, stopping 25 of 27 shots against the Express. Zach Driscoll is 8-1-0 on the year but like Brodeur, has great numbers. Brodeur and Driscoll are first and second in nearly every major statistical category in the BCHL. If I were to wager a guess, I would go Brodeur tonight and Driscoll Saturday against Trail, given his success against the Smokies. That’s just a hunch though.

Key to Victory:

The Vees will have to focus in on their start tonight and build off the successful first period against Coquitlam. Leading into that game Saturday the coaching staff was considered about the Vees’ poor starts of late. Despite giving up the first goal to Coquitlam, the Vees scored five in the first 20-minutes and out shot them 19-8; 17-3 in the final 14-minutes. The Vees are 20-0 when they score first and 11-0 when they lead after the first. When they give up the game’s first goal, they’re a very respectable 4-2 but 1-1 when trailing after the first.

Scouting Report: 

Vernon comes into tonight’s game fourth in the Interior Division, 21 points back of the Vees. The Vipes have been hovering around the .500 mark for most of the season. They haven’t posted a winning record in any of the first three months of the season. They went 3-3-0-1 in September, were 6-6-0-0 in October and through nine games in November, they’re 4-4-0-1. In saying that, they’re only three points back of the third place West Kelowna Warriors.

If the Vipers want to put themselves in a better position they’re going to have to do so from within the division. Going into tonight’s game they’re just 6-6 against the Interior Division this season but a combined 0-4 against Penticton, Salmon Arm and West Kelowna; all teams ahead of them in the standings.

The Vipers will have a bit of a new look to them when they roll into town, compared to their last visit in mid-September. Five new faces on the roster are Ben Butcher, Christian Cakebread, Charley Michalowski, Latrell Charleson and Brendan Barry. Butcher came over from Langley for defenseman Austin Cho, Cakebread and Michalowski came from the USHL and Charleson was signed earlier this month; he finished last season in Surrey.

Charleson adds offense to the blue-line that has been supplied predominantly by Bo Pellah. Charleson has had an immediate impact, scoring three goals and putting up six points in his first eight games as a Viper. Pellah is their highest scoring defenseman with 16 points in 27 games and is riding a five-game point streak.

Cakebread has also fit in nicely, as the Arizona product has averaged over a point per-game up front, with 11 points in nine. Butcher had chipped in with three points in eight games and Michalowski just made his Vipers debut on Sunday, in their 5-0 win over Alberni Valley.

Brendan Barry returns to Penticton for the first time since being signed by the Vipers. He’s played in four games with Vernon, putting together a 1-3 record, whilst sporting a 4.54 goals-against average, and owning a .846 save percentage. He’s been backing up 20-year-old Andrew Shortridge who’s been very good in the Vernon crease. The Alaskan native is 11-7 but has a very respectable 2.51 goals-against average and an impressive .928 save percentage; he’s your projected starter tonight.

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Fabbro, Jost Earn Top Grade in Prospect Rankings


Today NHL Central Scouting released it’s  November “Players to Watch” list for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, and the Vees’ Dante Fabbro and Tyson Jost both received top marks. The two are the only ‘A’ prospects from the CJHL and two of seven BCHL players in the rankings; the most out of any CJHL league.


Interesting to note the USHL has three players with ‘A’ grades but all three play for the US National Team Development Program in Ann Harbor, Michigan. The USNTDP plays in the USHL as well as abroad in international tournaments, and is a team that is made up of some of the best Under-18 players in the United States.

The Vees have two ‘A’ prospects and outside of the USNTDP, there is no other ‘A’ rated skater in the USHL; we’re doing alright up here in BC.


The London Knights and Mississauga Steelheads of the Ontario Hockey League each had three players earn A ratings from NHL Central Scouting in its November players to watch list for the 2016 NHL Draft, released Tuesday.

Among the players Central Scouting believes could go in the first round in June are London left wings Matthew Tkachuk (6-foot-1, 195 pounds) and Max Jones (6-3, 205), and defenseman Olli Juolevi (6-2, 179), as well as Mississauga centers Michael McLeod (6-2, 188) and Alexander Nylander (6-0, 179) and right wing Nathan Bastian (6-4, 208).

“The November players to watch list updates Central Scouting’s preliminary grading of players by identifying prospects on a priority basis,” said Dan Marr, NHL Director of Central Scouting. “It is a scouting tool that assists Central Scouting and NHL team scouts in planning scouting coverage to prepare for midseason meetings where a comprehensive ranking of players is produced [in January] and is very much a work in progress.”

The November players to watch list had 34 players receive A ratings — up from 24 in the September players to watch list — meaning they could go in the first round of the 2016 draft, which will be held June 24-25 at First Niagara Center in Buffalo.

Players with a B rating possess second- or third-round potential, and C-rated players are those with fourth-, fifth-, or sixth-round potential.

Among other notable players to receive A ratings are center Auston Matthews of Zurich in National League A, Switzerland’s top professional league and the player expected to be picked first at the draft. The 6-1, 194-pound native of Scottsdale, Ariz., has missed the past six games because of an upper-body injury sustained Oct. 23 but hopes to play Wednesday against Ambri-Piotta in the Swiss Ice Hockey Cup. At the time he was hurt Matthews led National League A with 10 goals in 14 games.

Tkachuk, the son of United States Hockey Hall of Fame member Keith Tkachuk, is second in the OHL with 42 points in 21 games.

“[Tkachuk] has elite hockey IQ and vision,” NHL Central Scouting’s Matt Ryan said. “He makes the players around him better and has a very good scoring touch around the net. He plays inside the dots and is willing to go to the hard areas to score goals. He brings a physical element and is able to get under the skin of his opponents.”

Jones has nine goals and 16 points in 17 games. Juolevi, from Helsinki, Finland, has three goals, 15 points and a plus-20 rating in 21 games.

“[Jones] is a strong power forward who possesses great speed and acceleration, has a heavy shot and quick hands,” Ryan said. “He loves to drive the net and challenge defenders physically and is a nightmare for defenders below the hash marks in the offensive zone.”

Ryan said he feels Juolevi has proven to be very smart in his first OHL season.

“He’s a smooth-skating defenseman with poise and composure,” Ryan said. “He has the ability to play in every situation.”

There were 11 players identified as A-rated skaters from the OHL on the November list.

“Mississauga has been able to stockpile quite a collection of prospects for both the 2016 and 2017 NHL draft class,” Marr said. “Second-year players McLeod and Bastian continue to develop and contribute while establishing themselves as first-round considerations. Nylander is excelling on the smaller North American ice and the three of these players give Mississauga a uniqueness of having a line of first-round prospects.”

Nylander, the brother of Toronto Maple Leafs 2014 first-round pick (No. 8) William Nylander, is tied for fourth in the OHL with 16 goals, and in 25 games he leads all OHL rookies in goals and points (36). McLeod has eight goals and 30 points in 25 games, and Bastian, a B-rated prospect in September, has nine goals and 24 points in 23 games.

Sarnia Sting defenseman Jakob Chychrun, regarded by many as the top player at his position available in the 2016 draft, also received an A rating. The 6-2, 215-pound son of former NHL playerJeff Chychrun has four goals and 15 points in 22 games.

Windsor center Logan Brown (6-6, 222), a B-rated skater in September, earned an A rating on the November list. He has five goals, 23 points, a plus-15 rating and has won 56.0 percent of his faceoffs in 17 games.

“[Brown] is a typical case of bigger players requiring a little more time to develop and he had a slow start which was influenced by injury and suspension,” Marr said. “But now he is on top of his game and the results are showing. He moves deceptively well for his size and he knows how to utilize that size to dominate on the play and protect the puck. Logan has such good hands and puck skills for a big forward that he’s hard to stop when he’s driving to the net.”

Also earning A ratings were three players from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, six from the Western Hockey League and three from the United States Hockey League.

Left wing Kieffer Bellows (6-0, 196), center Clayton Keller (5-9, 168) and defenseman Chad Krys (5-11, 185), each playing for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program under-18 team, are the three A-rated USHL players.

Keller leads the NTDP with 37 points (14 goals, 23 assists) in 20 games. Bellows has an NTDP-best 17 goals. Krys, a B-rated skater in September, has one goal and 15 points in 20 games.

In the QMJHL, forwards Pierre-Luc Dubois (6-2, 202) of Cape Breton, Julien Gauthier (6-3, 225) of Val-d’Or, and center Pascal Laberge (6-1, 162) of Victoriaville received A ratings.

Dubois and Gauthier were the only 2016 draft-eligible players named to the QMJHL roster for the 2015 CHL Canada-Russia Series, which is for players under consideration to play for Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Dubois leads Cape Breton with 38 points and is second with 16 goals in 27 games.

“[Dubois] is a big, skilled forward who plays a complete game,” Central Scouting’s Troy Dumville said. “He goes to traffic areas and plays with an edge, has good vision and very good hands in tight.”

Gauthier is third in the QMJHL with 21 goals.

“Gauthier is the prototype power forward who skates well, plays with an edge and can score,” Marr said. “He’s continuing to grow as a player and has tremendous upside. It’s not often you have the combination of skating, skills and physical assets that are capable of finding ways to contribute.”

Center Tyson Jost (5-11, 191) and defenseman Dante Fabbro (6-0, 189) of Penticton in the British Columbia Hockey League earned A ratings.

Jost, committed to the University of North Dakota in 2016-17, leads the BCHL with 54 points and is second with 23 goals in 26 games. Fabbro, committed to Boston University for 2016-17, leads BCHL defensemen with 31 points in 20 games.

Other international players to receive A ratings are Karpat right wing Jesse Puljujarvi, Tappara right wing Patrik Laine, Farjestad center Rasmus Asplund and Modo right wing Carl Grundstrom.

Puljujarvi (6-3, 203), has five goals, 11 points and 73 shots on goal while averaging 15:11 of ice time in 23 games in Liiga, Finland’s top professional league. Laine (6-4, 209) has five goals, nine points and 74 shots on goal while averaging 15:40 of ice time in 17 Liiga games.

Asplund (5-11, 176) has three goals and has won 51 percent of his faceoffs in 20 games in the Swedish Hockey League. Grundstrom has one goal and six points in 20 SHL games.

No goaltenders earned A ratings on the November list.

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