The National Hockey League’s 2014 midterm draft rankings are out and players of color populate the list from top to bottom. Forward Josh Ho-Sang of the Ontario Hockey League’s Windsor Spitfires placed highest – listed as the 18th best North American skater. Forward Keegan Iverson of the Western Hockey League’s Portland Winterhawks ranked 64th among draft-eligible North American players.Forward Jaden Lindo of the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack was graded as the 96th-best North American player. And Cordell James, a forward for the OHL’s Barrie Colts, ranked 126th among North American skaters.
Samuel Bennett, a forward for the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs topped the list of North American skaters, with 26 goals and 66 points so far this season. Kasperi Kapanen, a forward for KalPa of Finland’s SM-liiga, heads the list of draft-eligible European skaters. He has four goals and four assists.
The draft will be conducted June 27-28 at the Wells Fargo Center, home of the Philadelphia Flyers. Last year, eight minority players were chosen in the draft. Some hockey experts think this year’s draft could exceed that number.
Some people believe that the offensively-gifted Ho-Sang could be a first or second round pick. He has 19 goals and 32 assists for the Spitfires in 42 games. Craig Button, director of scouting for Canada’s TSN, ranks Ho-Sang 33rd among North Americans and European draft-eligible players.
“I like him as a player,” Chris Edwards, a scout for the NHL’s central scouting bureau told The Windsor Star. “He’s highly-skilled and has a chance to be a good pro.”
Bob Boughner, Ho-Sang’s coach at Windsor, agrees but also noted that the young player still has some work to do.
“You can’t teach his skill, but he still has to learn to conform a little and make guys around him better,” Boughner told The Star.
Ho-Sang, who’ll turn 18 on Jan. 22, still has some growing up to do. he was scratched for one game this season for what Boughner termed “internal discipline problems.” Ho-Sang told The Star the benching stemmed from being late for a practice.
“I know it could (hurt my draft ranking), but that’s not what bothers me,” he told the newspaper. “It’s the 22 players (teammates) in that room that I let down.”
Button ranks Lindo the 76th best player available. Lindo has nine goals and nine assists in 35 games for the Attack. Iverson, who didn’t make Button’s list, has 10 goals and 11 assists for Portland. James has tallied two goals and three assists in 39 games for the Colts.