Nine current and former North American Hockey League (NAHL) players, were recognized on the National Hockey League’s (NHL) ‘Prospects to Watch’ list for 2014 draft-eligible players Wednesday with the release of NHL Central Scouting's preliminary list of players to watch in North America and Europe. The list included five players that are currently playing in the NAHL this season.
The only other non-major junior league in North America that had more players listed than the NAHL was the USHL. A total of 48 NHL scouts, including those from NHL Central Scouting, were on hand this past week scouting players at the NAHL Showcase.
The lists, comprised of "A," "B" and "C" players for the upcoming season in each of the major junior hockey leagues, are sent to NHL team scouts for the purpose of tracking the top draft-eligible players entering the 2013-14 season. All "A" skaters have been identified as potential first-round picks, while "B" players are considered second- or third-round candidates. The players on the "C" list are thought to be fourth-, fifth- or sixth-round possibilities. Central Scouting's preliminary rankings will be revealed in November. That list includes the top 25 prospects for each of the various leagues throughout North America and Europe.
Players from the NAHL on the list include Wenatchee Wild goaltender Chase Perry, who is the highest ranked NAHL player on the list with a B-rating. Former Wichita Falls Wildcats goaltender Evan Cowley, who was drafted in the 4th round by the Florida Panthers in last summer’s 2013 NHL Entry Draft and is now playing for the University of Denver, was also given a B-rating a year ago when the watch list was released.
Other current NAHL players on the list include: Soo Eagles defenseman Kristofers Bindulis, Wenatchee Wild forward Parker Tuomie, Minnesota Magicians defenseman Logan Vonruden and Topeka RoadRunners goaltender Drew Vogler.
This year’s list also features four former NAHL players, three of which also happen to be alumni of the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament. It includes former NAHL Top Prospects alums Minot Minotauros forward Mason Morelli, former Austin Bruins goaltender Jason Pawloski and former Dawson Creek Rage defenseman Luke Ripley. The other NAHL alum on the list was former Wichita Falls Wildcats forward Justin Gutierrez.
NHL Central Scouting will release its midseason rankings of 2014 draft-eligibles in January, followed by its final rankings in April. The 2014 NHL Entry Draft will be at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 27-28.
A total of five players with NAHL ties were selected in this past summer’s 2013 NHL Entry Draft.