NHL Central Scouting Services has released its Final Draft Rankings ahead of the upcoming 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas. The Niagara IceDogs are represented by Akil Thomas, Andrew Bruder, and Justin MacPherson in their pre-draft rankings! Bruder just wrapped up his rookie season in Niagara, while Thomas and MacPherson have completed their sophomore seasons in the OHL, both having increased their roles on the team this season.
Thomas, ranked 15th on NHL CSS’ North American skaters’ list, was named an assistant captain this season following a team record-breaking season in his rookie year. After overtaking the team record for most points by a rookie, with 48 points, Thomas has already surpassed last season’s point totals. He finished the season ranking 2nd in team scoring with 81 points (22 goals, 59 assists). Thomas’ point totals also placed him amongst the top in the league in assists, and powerplay assists. In 10 playoff games, Thomas ranked third in team scoring – finishing with 11 points (5 goals, 6 assists). Emerging as a strong all-around player, Thomas’ defensive game was taken to a higher level this season, being trusted in all situations.
In his first appearance on NHL Central Scouting Services’ draft rankings, Andrew Bruder comes in at 114th. The rookie finished the season with 11 points (4 goals, 7 assists) in 52 games. After making the jump from Junior C, having played with his hometown Woodstock Navy Vets, Bruder’s rookie campaign poises him for a solid second year.
MacPherson, who has emerged as a staple on the ‘Dogs blueline, is currently ranked 201st of all North American skaters. After making leaps during the offseason, MacPherson came into this season stronger and ready to expand his role after seeing limited ice time in his rookie year. He finished the season playing top 4 pairing minutes and contributing offensively when the opportunity arose.
IceDogs’ prospects Jack Randl (154th) and goaltender Ben Kraws (27th) were also listed on NHL CSS’ final draft rankings.
The Niagara IceDogs wish Akil, Andrew, and Justin the best of luck heading into the upcoming draft!