Vees duo could be drafted

Vees captain/centre Massimo Rizzo in action in a game against the Prince George Spruce Kings this season at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Penticton Vees captain/centre Massimo Rizzo and defenceman Mason Snell are among 10 BCHL players listed in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings for the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.

The Victoria Grizzlies had four of the 10 ranked players, including reigning BCHL most valuable player Alex Newhook at No. 13.

Rizzo, from Burnaby, was ranked 84th among North American skaters after being listed at 57th in Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings.

Snell, from Clarington, Ont., was not listed in the mid-term rankings but a strong season hoisted him to 212th among North American skaters.

Rizzo finished his second season in Penticton with 11 goals and 40 points in 37 games. Despite missing 21 games, Rizzo finished tied for first on the Vees with 20 power-play assists.

In the playoffs, Rizzo scored three goals and added three assists in six games. He also represented Canada at the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge in Bonnyville, Alta., recording two assists in six games with Team Canada West. He is committed to the University of North Dakota for 2019-20.

Snell played just one season in Penticton after two in the OJHL with Whitby and Wellington. Acquired in a multi-team deal just ahead of training camp, Snell was immediately thrust into a top-pairing role with James Miller in Penticton.

While being matched up against opposing teams’ top lines, Snell scored five goals and 20 points in 52 games and had one assist in the playoffs.

He also played for Team Canada West at the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge, being held pointless in six games. He is committed to Penn State University for 2019-20.

The Vees have had 32 players drafted into the NHL from their franchise, most recently being Jonny Tychonick who went 48th overall to the Ottawa Senators in 2018.

Other BCHL players identified in the final rankings (mid-term rankings in parenthesis) are as follows:

13 Alex Newhook (16), centre, Victoria Grizzlies

43 Alexander Campbell (42), left-wing, Victoria

62 Layton Ahac (114), defenceman, Prince George Spruce Kings

80 Harrison Blaisdell (52), centre, Chilliwack Chiefs

114 Jeremie Bucheler (113), defenceman, Victoria

124 Kevin Wall (190), right-wing, Chilliwack

157 Carter Berger (181), defenceman, Victoria

167 Ethan Leyh, left-wing, Langley Rivermen

Also, former Langley left-winger Brendan Budy, now with Tri City of the WHL, was pegged at 155, while former Vernon Vipers centre Alex Swetlikoff, now with the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets, slotted in at 175 – jumping from 217 in the mid-term rankings.

There were no North American goaltenders in the rankings from the BCHL, but Kelowna Rockets goalie Roman Basran was rated at No. 18 after being listed at 11 in the mid-term rankings.

Two Alberta Junior Hockey League goalies were listed Sherwood Park’s Carter Gyland at No. 10 and Spruce Grove’s Matthew Davis at No. 24.

In all, 24 Canadian Junior Hockey League players were listed in the rankings.

Centre Jack Hughes of the U.S. under-18 team remained No. 1 among North American skaters and the consensus first overall pick in the entry draft.

The NHL Entry Draft takes place at Rogers Arena in Vancouver June 21-22.

Meanwhile, the Fred Page Cup BCHL championship series resumes with Games 3 and 4 Tuesday and Wednesday at Kal Tire Place in Vernon, with Prince George leading Vernon 2-0 after 3-1 and 4-1 home-ice triumphs. Game time in both games is 7 p.m.

If necessary, Game 5 goes Friday in Prince George.