Four Kent-based Seattle Thunderbirds players have been ranked by NHL Central Scouting in their final list of players eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft on July 23-24.
The players are left wing Conner Roulette, defenseman Jeremy Hanzel, left wing Lucas Ciona and goalie Thomas Milic.
“We are excited four of our players have been recognized by NHL Central Scouting,” said Bill La Forge, T-Birds general manager, in a May 27 press release. “This shows how important it was for us and all the teams in the Western Hockey League to play this last season. We can’t thank our owners Dan and Lindsey Leckelt and the WHL enough for their commitment to having a season and providing our players the opportunity to develop and grow as both hockey players and young men.
“The work done by our coaching staff and Steven Goertzen has been very important to our players’ development and the success we have had with players being selected in the NHL Draft and the recognition our players receive from Central Scouting.”
The T-Birds have had six players selected by NHL teams in the draft in the last two seasons. In 2019, Henrik Rybinski (Florida), Roddy Ross (Philadelphia), Matthew Wedman (Florida), and Dillon Hamaliuk (San Jose) were selected. In 2020, Tyrel Bauer (Winnipeg) and Matthew Rempe (New York Rangers) were selected.
• Roulette is ranked number 36 by NHL Central Scouting in the final North American player rankings. Roulette had six goals and six assists for 12 points in 11 games this season. Roulette played for Team Canada at the U18 World Championship in Plano and Frisco, Texas. He won a gold medal with Team Canada and had two goals and three assists for five points in seven games. Last year Roulette was third on the team in scoring in his rookie season with the T-Birds. He had 19 goals and 20 assists for 39 points in 54 games. Roulette was selected by the T-Birds in the second round, 34th overall, in the 2018 Bantam Draft.
• Hanzel is ranked number 77 by NHL Central Scouting in the final North American player rankings. Hanzel in his rookie season had two goals and six assists for eight points in 23 games. He scored his first goal in the WHL on March 19 against Spokane and it was also the T-Birds first goal of the season. Hanzel signed a Standard WHL Player Agreement with the T-Birds on March 24, 2020.
• Ciona is ranked number 151 by NHL Central Scouting in the final North American player rankings. Ciona had two goals and 11 assists for 13 points in 23 games last season. He has five goals and 21 assists for 26 points in 79 career games as a T-Bird. Ciona was selected by the T-Birds in the second round, 32nd overall, in the 2018 Bantam Draft.
• Milic is ranked number 10 by NHL Central Scouting in the final North American goalie rankings. In his rookie season, Milic had a 5-4-0-0 record with a 2.74 goals against average and a .913 save percentage with one shutout. Milic played for Team Canada at the U18 World Championship in Plano and Frisco, Texas. He won a gold medal with Team Canada and had a 2-0-0 record with a .975 save percentage and a 0.50 goals against average with one shutout. Milic stopped 40 of 41 shots he faced in two games. Milic was drafted in the third round with the 51st pick in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft by the T-Birds.