Everett Silvertips defenseman Ryan Murray remains the highest-ranked WHL player among North American skaters eligible for the 2012 NHL Draft as NHL Central Scouting released its final rankings on Monday.
Murray, a product of White City, SK, moved up to second among North American skaters, behind only Nail Yakupov of the Sarnia Sting. The 18-year-old just completed his third season in the WHL with the Silvertips, netting nine goals and 31 points in 46 games.
A steady, reliable two-way defenseman with poise, terrific hockey sense and excellent skating ability, Murray helped Canada win a Bronze medal at the 2012 World Junior Championship, and also suited up in the 2012 Home Hardware CHL / NHL Top Prospects Game.
The Silvertips’ first-round pick, ninth overall, in the 2008 WHL Bantam Draft, Murray was selected to the WHL Western Conference Second All-Star team for the second consecutive season.
Murray is the first of five WHL defensemen who are among the Top 12 skaters in the mid-term rankings. Moose Jaw Warriors’ smooth-skating rearguard Morgan Rielly is ranked fifth, despite having played just 18 games this season, while Edmonton Oil Kings rearguard Griffin Reinhart comes in at No. 10 on the list.
Mathew Dumba of the Red Deer Rebels is the fourth-highest ranked WHL skater, coming in at No. 11 in the final rankings, and Portland’s Derrick Pouliot is right behind Dumba at No. 12.
Colton Sissons of the Kelowna Rockets remains the highest ranked forward, coming in at No. 14 on the list. Sissons, a strong two-way forward from North Vancouver, B.C., put up a career-high 26 goals and 41 points in 56 games for the Rockets this season.
Mike Winther of the Prince Albert Raiders moved up to No. 26 in the rankings with his strong play. The product of Trochu, AB, enjoyed a strong sophomore campaign for the Raiders, scoring 32 goals and 56 points in 71 games.
Saskatoon Blades defenseman Dalton Thrower also continued to move up the CSS rankings, slotting in at No. 26 on the list after coming in at No. 30 in the mid-term rankings.
18-year-old Russian netminder Andrey Makarov remained the top-ranked WHL goaltender in Central Scouting’s final rankings, coming in at No. 7 among North American netminders. Makarov helped Russia to a Silver medal at the 2012 World Junior Championship.
Red Deer’s Patrik Bartosak moved up to 8th on the list, despite having missed the last half of the season due to injury. Calgary Hitmen netminder Chris Driedger is the 12th-ranked goaltender on the list, while Kootenay’s MacKenzie Skapski and Prince Albert’s Cole Holowenko come in at No. 19 and No. 29 on the list, respectively..
In total 43 WHL skaters and five WHL goaltender are among those ranked in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings ahead of the 2012 NHL Draft.
NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING FINAL RANKINGS: