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Leppard among 43 WHLers on NHL central scouting midterm rankings


Jackson Leppard
Jackson Leppard.

The Western Hockey League announced today 43 WHL players have been listed by NHL Central Scouting in its midterm rankings in advance of the 2018 NHL Draft, scheduled for June 22-23 in Dallas, Texas.

Heading the list is defenceman Ty Smith (Lloydminster, Alta. / Spokane Chiefs), who is ranked 14th among North American skaters. Joining Smith in the top 31 are defencemen Jett Woo (20th – Winnipeg, Man. / Moose Jaw Warriors) and Alexander Alexeyev (26th – St. Petersburg, Russia / Red Deer Rebels).

Including Smith, Woo and Alexeyev, a total of 18 WHL defencemen land in the midterm rankings. Defencemen Calen Addison (34th – Brandon, Man. / Lethbridge Hurricanes) and Filip Kral (52nd – Bransko, Czech Rep. / Spokane Chiefs) also landed in the top 60.

Prince George Cougars left-winger Jackson Leppard is listed 95th.

Centers Milos Roman (40th – Kysucke Nove Mesto, Slovakia / Vancouver Giants) and Kyle Topping (64th – Salt Spring Island, B.C. / Kelowna Rockets) rank highest among the 22 WHL forwards listed, while Joel Hofer (sixth ­– Winnipeg, Man. / Swift Current Broncos), David Tendeck (eighth – North Vancouver, B.C. / Vancouver Giants) and Duncan McGovern (22nd – Winnipeg, Man. / Kootenay ICE) land among ranked goaltenders from North America.

The Vancouver Giants lead all WHL clubs with five players ranked. In addition to Roman and Tendeck, forwards James Malm (176th – Langley, B.C.) and Alex Kannok-Leippart (190th – Regina, Sask.) along with defenceman Dylan Plouffe (208th – Sherwood Park, Alta.) find a place on the NHL radar.

The Calgary Hitmen and Red Deer Rebels sit just behind the Giants, each with four players named in the NHL Central Scouting midterm rankings. The Brandon Wheat Kings and Moose Jaw Warriors each boast three players.

Of the 43 WHL players listed in the NHL Central Scouting midterm rankings, eight will participate in the 2018 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects game, scheduled for Thursday, January 25 (5 p.m. MT), in Guelph, Ont. Included among those eight is Smith of the Chiefs, who will captain Team Orr. The Giants’ Roman had previously been named to the annual outing, but will miss due to injury.

At the 2017 NHL Draft, a total of 33 WHL players were selected, including seven in the first round.

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