By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
Five Everett Silvertips were listed in the NHL Central Scouting Service’s final rankings for the 2013 NHL draft, which were released Wednesday.
Swiss defenseman Mirco Mueller led the way for the Tips. He’s ranked ninth among North American skaters. The ranking was three spots ahead of where he was ranked at the midterm, and it made him the third-ranked Western Hockey League skater. The ranking suggests Mueller is a candidate to be picked in the first round.
Goaltender Austin Lotz was ranked 10th among North American goalies. Lotz moved up one spot from the midterm rankings, and he’s expected to be a mid- to late-round pick.
Everett had three other defensemen crack the rankings among North American skaters. Ben Betker, who was not ranked at the midterm, was ranked 147th. Ayrton Nikkel was 149th and Austin Adam was 175th, both moving up slightly from their midterm rankings. All three are ranked in the range that makes them borderline selections.
Everett had two players picked in last year’s NHL draft. Defenseman Ryan Murray was selected second overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Defenseman Nick Walters, since traded to Brandon, was a fourth-round pick by the St. Louis Blues.
Former Silvertips prospect Seth Jones, a defenseman who announced he wouldn’t play for Everett last offseason and was subsequently traded to Portland, was ranked No. 1 among North American skaters and is the favorite to be picked first overall. Also, winger Trent Lofthouse, who was traded to Victoria midseason, came in at No. 126 among North American skaters.
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.