The final rankings for 2015-16 are in from NHL Central Scouting and they include three members of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers.
These are the last rankings Central Scouting will release prior to the 2016 NHL draft, which is scheduled to be held in Buffalo on June 24 and 25.
Goaltender Connor Ingram of the Blazers is ranked No. 8 among North American goaltenders. That’s up four spots from the mid-term rankings.
Ingram is the third-ranked WHL goaltender, behind Carter Hart of the Everett Silvertips, who comes in at No. 2, and Zach Sawchenko of the Moose Jaw Warriors, who is at No. 6. Hart slipped a spot and now is behind Evan Fitzpatrick of the QMJHL’s Sherbrooke Phoenix, while Sawchenko is down three spots.
Ingram, 18, had a superb season, going 34-15-9 with a 2.61 GAA and a franchise-record .922 save percentage. In seven playoff games, he was 3-4, 2.12, .938.
Defenceman Ondrej Vala comes in at No. 102 among North American skaters, with centre Garrett Pilon at No. 109.
Vala, from Czech Republic, has played one season with the Blazers. He had 21 points, including four goals, in 72 games in a season in which he showed marked improvement in the second half. Interestingly, Vala, who turns 18 today (Wednesday), was 70th in the mid-term rankings.
Vala is on Czech Republic’s preliminary roster for the IIHF U-18 World Championship that is to begin Thursday in Grand Forks, N.D.
Pilon, 17, was at 187 in the mid-term rankings, so made a considerable move. He had 47 points, 15 of them goals, in 71 games as a freshman.
Left-winger Pierre-Luc Dubois of the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Screaming Eagles is No. 1 among North American skaters. Defenceman Jake Bean of the Calgary Hitmen is the highest-ranked WHLer, at No. 15.
Centre Auston Matthews, an American who played professional with the Zurich Lions in Switzerland, is rated No. 1 among European skaters.
The complete NHL Central Scouting rankings are right here.
Right-winger Deven Sideroff of the Blazers will finish the season with San Diego Gulls, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks.
The Gulls, who have clinched a playoff spot, have two regular-season games remaining, at home against the Ontario Reign on Friday and Saturday.
Sideroff, who will turn 19 on Thursday, was a third-round selection by the Ducks in the 2015 NHL draft but has yet to sign a contract.
From Summerland, B.C., Sideroff, who is a tremendous skater, had 59 points, including 19 goals, in 63 games as a sophomore with the Blazers. In 141 career regular-season games, he has 109 points, 39 of them goals. He got off to a slow start after missing the opening of the regular season with mononucleosis.
The Prince George Cougars are in the market for a head coach after parting company with head coach Mark Holick on Tuesday.
Holick was signed through the 2016-17 season, with the club also holding an option for 2017-18.
The Cougars had a regular-season record of 101-119-20 under Holick, 47, who took over from the fired Dean Clark on Jan. 23, 2013.
This season, the Cougars were 36-31-5, but went 15-20-3 after the Christmas break. As they lost their last five regular-season games, the Kamloops Blazers finished with nine straight victories and moved past them into third place in the B.C. Division.
Prince George then lost four straight games in a first-round playoff series with the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Assistant coaches Roman Vopat, Mike Hengen and Brent Arsenault remain under contract.
With the Cougars making a change, there are three WHL teams looking for head coaches. The Portland Winterhawks fired general manager/head coach Jamie Kompon after their season ended, while the Vancouver Giants fired head coach Lorne Molleken with two games left in the regular season.
The Giants also are looking for a general manager after Scott Bonner announced on Dec. 8 that he would be leaving the team.
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