The Western Hockey League announced today that 56 WHL players have been listed on NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings ahead of the 2015 NHL Draft.
Kelowna Rockets players Nick Merkley (23), Devante Stephens (116) and Joe Gatenby (174) were all listed in the final rankings.
Nine of the top-30 North American skaters are WHL players while three WHL netminders finished in the top-10 amongst North Americans. In total, the 56 WHL products that were identified by Central Scouting for the final rankings are more than any other league in the world.
Ivan Provorov (Yaroslavl, Russia / Brandon Wheat Kings) jumped into the seventh spot in the final rankings while Mathew Barzal (Coquitlam, BC / Seattle Thunderbirds) came in at 11th. Rounding out the top-30 were Jansen Harkins (#15 – North Vancouver, BC / Prince George Cougars), Jake DeBrusk (#19 – Edmonton, AB / Swift Current Broncos), Noah Juulsen (#22 – Abbotsford, BC / Everett Silvertips), Nick Merkley (#23 – Calgary, AB / Kelowna Rockets), Ryan Pilon (#24 – Duck Lake, SK / Brandon Wheat Kings), Brandon Carlo (#25 – Colorado Springs, CO / Tri-City Americans), and Paul Bittner (#26 – Crookston, MN / Portland Winterhawks).
Adin Hill (Calgary, AB / Portland Winterhawks) topped WHL goaltenders at fourth on the list while Nick McBride (Maple Ridge, BC / Prince Albert Raiders) came in at seventh. Nick Schneider (Leduc, AB / Medicine Hat Tigers) also hit the top-10 at ninth.
Last year, 37 WHL players were selected in the 2014 NHL Draft including nine in the first round.