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Lucky 13? Alex Newhook of St. John's moves up in final rankings for 2019 NHL Draft

Entering Tuesday, Alex Newhook was leading the British Columbia Hockey League scoring race, seven points ahead of the next-highest scorer, who has played three more games than Newhook and who is two-and-a-half years older than the St. John’s native. — Victoria Grizzlies photo/Kyle Robinson
Alex Newhook, captain of the Victoria Grizzlies Tier II junior team as a 17-year-old this past season, is ranked 13th overall amongst North American skaters for the 2019 NHL Draft by NHL Central Scouting.. — Victoria Grizzlies photo/Kyle Robinson

Junior A scoring star rises three spots in Central Scouting's latest list; fellow Newfoundlander Brett Budgell slotted 156th among North American skaters

Since 1971, 40 hockey players born in Newfoundland and Labrador have heard their names called in the National Hockey League draft.

In June, that number will hit 41, and possibly 42.

On Monday, the NHL Central Scouting Bureau released its final rankings for the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, and for the first time in a long time, a player from this province is ranked in the first round.

Alex Newhook of St. John’s, captain of the Victoria Grizzlies of the Tier II junior British Columbia Hockey League, is ranked 13th amongst North American skaters, which is an improvement of three placings from his midterm ranking.

Newhook won the BCHL scoring title this season with 102 points in 53 games, and is currently with the national under-18 team, which opens the world U18 championship Thursday in Sweden.

The 18-year-old centre is set to attend Boston College next season.

Brett Budgell, another St. John’s product, is ranked 156th by Central Scouting. That’s a big drop, however, from his midterm ranking of 105th spot.

Budgell just finished his second season with the Charlottetown Islanders of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where he had 18 goals and 33 points in 67 games this season.

The rankings which include Newhook and Budgell only involve forwards and defencemen playing in North America. They do not include goaltenders or European players.

Newfoundland and Labrador last saw players drafted into the NHL in 2016, when a pair of St. John’s natives — Evan Fitzpatrick and Nathan Noel — went in the second round (59th overall) and fourth round (113th overall) respectively.

John Slaney poses with his father Joe and mother Helen after being taken ninth overall by the Washington Capitals at the 1990 NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver. Corner Brook-born Keith Brown had been taken in the first round of the 1979 draft, but Slaney was the first player born and raised in this province to be a first-rounder.
John Slaney poses with his father Joe and mother Helen after being taken ninth overall by the Washington Capitals at the 1990 NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver. Corner Brook-born Keith Brown had been taken in the first round of the 1979 draft, but Slaney was the first player born and raised in this province to be a first-rounder.

The NHL draft consists of seven rounds, with 217 players selected, plus any awarded compensation picks.

There have been five players from this province drafted in the first round, with Keith Brown of Corner Brook being the first (seventh overall to the Chicago Blackhawks) in the deep 1979 draft.

Brown, the son of an RCMP officer, left the province with his family as a toddler.

John Slaney of St. John’s was selected ninth overall by the Washington Capitals in 1990, and in 1994, Brad Brown was taken 18th overall by the Montreal Canadiens. Brown was born in Newfoundland, and lived in Baie Verte before moving to Ontario at an early age.

The Canadiens selected another Newfoundlander in the first round the next year, when Mount Pearl’s Terry Ryan Jr. went eighth overall, the highest-drafted hockey player from Newfoundland and Labrador, in 1995.

And two years after that, the Chicago Blackhawks tabbed Daniel Cleary of Riverhead, Harbour Grace with the 13th overall pick.

The undisputed top two prospects for the 2019 draft are American Jack Hughes at No. 1, and Kaapo Kakko of Finland at No. 2.

Hughes plays for the United States National Team Development Program’s under-18 squad, while Kakko scored 22 goals to lead TPS and rank tied for sixth in the Finnish Elite League, the country’s top professional circuit, this season.

This year’s draft is set for 21-22 at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena.

A few interesting draft notes regarding players from this province:

Daniel Cleary.
Daniel Cleary.

• Terry Ryan Sr. (44th overall by the Minnesota North Stars in 1972) and Terry Ryan Jr. (eighth overall by the Montreal Canadiens in 1995) are the only father-son duo from Newfoundland to be selected in the NHL draft

• The Montreal Canadiens have selected the most players from this province in the draft — five. They are Terry French of Grand Falls-Windsor (25th overall, 1971); Gerard Gibbons of St. John’s (80th overall, 1973); Brad Brown of Baie Verte (18th overall, 1994); Terry Ryan Jr. of Mount Pearl (8th overall, 1995); and Michael Ryder of Bonavista (216th overall, 1998)

• The Toronto Maple Leafs have drafted only one Newfoundlander in franchise history — Rob Gladney of Clarenville, who went 24th overall in 1977

• The most players from this province selected in any one draft was four, in 1997. That year, Daniel Cleary went 13th, Harold Druken of St. John’s 36th overall (Vancouver), Jeff Sullivan of Brigus South 146th overall (Ottawa) and Keith Delaney of North River 155th overall (Florida).

• There have been six Newfoundlanders to play in the National Hockey League who were not drafted, the first being Alex Faulkner, the very first from this province to crack the NHL. The others are Joe Lundrigan, Doug Grant, Don Howse, Darren Langdon and Teddy Purcell. Technically, the number would be seven if you included forward Pascal Pelletier, who was born in Labrador City, but raised in Quebec.

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians selected in NHL Draft

Players from Newfoundland and Labrador who have been selected in the National Hockey League Entry Draft, with overall selection and year (hometown in brackets):

*- indicates played in the NHL

  • Terry French, F (Grand Falls-Windsor): 25th overall by Montreal, 1971
  • Terry Ryan Sr., F (Grand Falls-Windsor): 44th overall by Minnesota, 1972
  • Gerard Gibbons, D (St. John's): 80th overall by Montreal, 1973
  • Kevin Neville, G (Corner Brook): 151st overall by Detroit, 1973
  • Tony White*, F (Grand Falls-Windsor): 161st overall by Washington, 1974
  • Bob Gladney*, D (Clarenville): 24th overall by Toronto, 1977
  • Keith Brown*, D (Corner Brook): 7th overall by Chicago, 1979 #
  • Paul Kenny, G (St. John's): 212th overall by Los Angeles, 1984
  • Steve Hollett, F (St. John's), 187th overall by Washington, 1985 #
  • Darren Colbourne, F (Corner Brook): 227th overall by Detroit, 1988
  • Steve Locke, D (Mount Pearl): 223rd overall by New York Rangers, 1989
  • John Slaney*, D (St. John's): 9th overall by Washington, 1990
  • Dwayne Norris*, F (St. John's): 127th overall by Quebec, 1990
  • Chad Penney*, F (St. John's): 25th overall by Ottawa, 1992
  • Brad Brown*, D (Baie Verte): 18th overall by Montreal, 1994
  • Gord Walsh, F (C.B.S.): 220th overall by New York Islanders, 1994
  • Chris Pittman, F (Stephenville): 243rd overall by Quebec, 1994
  • Terry Ryan Jr.*, F (Mount Pearl): 8th overall by Montreal, 1995
  • Jason Morgan*, F (C.B.S.): 118th overall by Los Angeles, 1995
  • Michael Pittman, F (Fox Harbour): 227th overall by Chicago, 1995
  • Kurt Walsh, F (C.B.S.): 87th overall by Buffalo, 1996
  • Daniel Cleary*, F (Harbour Grace): 13th overall by Chicago, 1997
  • Harold Druken*, F (Shea Heights): 36th overall by Vancouver, 1997
  • Jeff Sullivan, D (Brigus South): 146th overall by Ottawa, 1997
  • Keith Delaney, F (North River): 155th overall by Florida, 1997
  • Michael Ryder*, F (Bonavista): 216th overall by Montreal, 1998
  • Ryane Clowe*, F (Fermeuse): 175th overall by San Jose, 2001
  • Jason King*, F (Corner Brook): 212th overall by Vancouver, 2001
  • Dale Sullivan, F (Calvert): 265th overall by Dallas, 2001
  • Doug O'Brien*, D (St. John's): 192nd overall by Tampa Bay, 2003
  • Mark Tobin, F (St. John's): 65th overall by Tampa Bay, 2004
  • Dan LaCosta*, G (Labrador City): 93rd overall by Columbus, 2004
  • Adam Pardy*, D (Bonavista): 173rd overall by Calgary, 2004
  • Daniel Ryder, F (Bonavista): 74th overall by Calgary, 2005
  • Colin Greening*, F (St. John's): 204th overall by Ottawa, 2005
  • Luke Adam*, F (Kilbride): 44th overall by Buffalo, 2008
  • James Melindy, D (Goulds): 88th overall by Phoenix, 2012
  • Clark Bishop*, F (St. John's): 127th overall by Carolina, 2014
  • Evan Fitzpatrick, G (St. John's): 59th overall by St. Louis, 2016
  • Nathan Noel, F (St. John's): 113th overall by Chicago, 2016

    # - Keith Brown and Steve Hollett were born in Newfoundland, but raised elsewhere in Canada.

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