The Thunderbirds’ Matthew Wedman, here working for the puck against Everett during WHL play last season, was chosen by the Florida Panthers in the seventh round of the NHL Draft. Wedman led the T-Birds in scoring last season with 40 goals and 37 assists. COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse, T-Birds

The Thunderbirds’ Matthew Wedman, here working for the puck against Everett during WHL play last season, was chosen by the Florida Panthers in the seventh round of the NHL Draft. Wedman led the T-Birds in scoring last season with 40 goals and 37 assists. COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse, T-Birds

Three Thunderbirds selected in NHL Draft

Panthers pick Rybinski, Wedman; Flyers grab Ross

  • Monday, June 24, 2019 10:58am
  • Sports

Right wing Henrik Rybinski, goalie Roddy Ross and center Matthew Wedman were selected on the second day of the NHL Draft on Saturday afternoon in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“This is a big day for our organization,” said Seattle Thunderbirds general manager Bil La Forge of the Kent-based team. “The players have worked hard to get selected and our staff has been diligent with their focus on development. It is exciting to look ahead to the future with this group.”

The Florida Panthers selected Rybinski in the fifth round, 136th overall.

Rybinski played 33 regular season games with the T-Birds last season and had seven goals and 28 assist for 35 points. Rybinski, born June 26, 2001, was acquired from the Medicine Hat Tigers on Jan. 4 for defenseman Aidan Brook, a second-round pick in the 2019 Bantam Draft, and a third-round pick in the 2020 Bantam Draft. In 47 games combined with the T-Birds and Tigers he had eight goals and 32 assists.

Rybinski was ranked No. 123 among North American skaters in the final NHL Central Scouting Draft Rankings.

“We are really excited Henrik’s hard work and performance were rewarded,” La Forge said. “He was a big part of our second half surge. The best part about Henrik is that he knows the journey is just beginning and he will embrace it.”

The Philadelphia Flyers selected Ross in the sixth round, 169th overall.

Ross, born July 4, 2000, signed a WHL standard player agreement with the team on Jan. 1. In 25 regular season games with the T-Birds he was 16-5-1-2 with a .919 save percentage and a 2.76 goals against average. Ross joined the T-Birds from the Camrose Kodiaks in the AJHL.

Ross was ranked 17th among North American goalies in the final NHL Central Scouting Draft Rankings.

“Roddy was another big part of our second half surge,” La Forge said. “Loads of credit goes to goaltender coach Ian Gordon. The best is yet to come with Roddy as he continues to refine his craft.”

The Panthers chose Wedman in the seventh round, 199 overall.

Wedman was the T-Birds’ leading scorer this past season with 40 goals and 37 assists in 66 games. He was the first T-Bird to hit 40 goals since Prab Rai had 41 goals in the 2009-10 season. Wedman was named a Second-Team Western Conference All-Star last season.

In 255 career games with the T-Birds he has 67 goals and 90 assists for 157 points. In 43 career playoff games Wedman has three goals and seven assists for 10 points. Seattle originally selected Wedman in the second round, 32nd overall, in the 2014 Bantam Draft.

“We are so proud of Weds,” La Forge said. “He is proof that if you keep working towards a goal, it can be achieved.”

The San Jose Sharks picked former T-Bird left wing Dillon Hamaliuk in the second round, 55th overall. The T-Birds traded Hamaliuk – along with defenseman Jake Lee and goalie Cole Schwebius – to the Kelowna Rockets on May 2. Hamaliuk had 11 goals and 15 assists in 31 games last season before a leg injury sidelined him for the rest of the season.

T-Bird notes

The T-Birds announced Monday that their home opener will be at 6:05 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, against the Kamloop Blazers. They will announce the full 2019-20 regular season schedule at 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 26. … Season tickets may be purchased by calling the T-Birds office at 253-239-7825. … For more on the team, visit seattlethunderbirds.com.

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