Two players of color have been upgraded to potential first-round picks in the 2018 National Hockey League Draft in June by NHL Central Scouting.
Serron Noel, a forward for the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League, and defensman Jett Woo of the Western Hockey League’s Moose Jaw Warriors were elevated to “A” ratings from “B” ratings last week by Central Scouting.
An A rating designates players as potential first-round candidates. A B rating indicates a player is a likely second or third-round pick in the June 22-23 draft at Dallas’ American Airlines Center.
“Noel is a power forward who is a strong skater with deceptive outside speed to separate himself from checking and quickness by pulling away on the rush,” NHL Central Scouting Director Dave Marr told NHL.com. “He works hard on the forecheck, forcing turnovers and finishing hits.”
“He’s a point-a-game player now, runs the first power-play unit and plays with a lot more poise and patience with the puck,” Central Scouting’s John Williams told NHL.com. “He’s not likely a power play guy in the NHL, but more of a two-way guy who can bring a physical element with enough skill to contribute.”
He also owns one of the coolest first names in hockey, though he has no idea why his father chose it.
“I know he’s a fan of (Chinese actor/producer) Jet Li, but I don’t know if that’s why I got the name. I like my name, though,” Woo told the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Andrew Podnieks in April.
Noel and Woo join Akil Thomas, a forward for the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs as minority players who could hear NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman call their name in the first round of the Dallas draft.
The three 17-year-olds played for Canada’s gold medal-winning team at the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup tournament last August in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Thomas tallied 2 goals and 4 assists in five tournament games while Noel had a goal in five contests. Woo, an assistant captain on the team, went scoreless.
— Serron Noel (@serron_noel) August 14, 2017
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