Bay Roberts’ Dawson Mercer wasn’t the only player from Newfoundland and Labrador listed in NHL’s Central Scouting’s mid-term draft rankings released on Monday.
Labrador City native Mark Hillier was ranked 197th among North American skaters.
The 17-year-old Hillier (he turns 18 in March) attends St. Andrew’s College, an Aurora, Ont. prep school and leads the Saints varsity team with 63 points (25G, 39A) in 34 games. The 6-1, 185-pound forward has already committed to playing NCAA Division One university hockey at Merrimack University in Massachussets beginning in 2021.
Hillier played two years of bantam hockey for the Corner Brook-based Western Kings before heading to St. Andrew’s in 2017.
The Central Scouting rankings are divided into four separate lists — North American forwards and defenceman, European forwards and defenceman, North American goaltenders and European goaltenders. With just about 220 players to be selected this June’s NHL Entry Draft in Montreal, Hillier’s ranking means he’ isn’t a sure-fire pick like Mercer, who is seeded sixth overall among North American skaters.
Then again, there have been plenty of instances of players with similar rankings getting drafted and some of them going on to NHL careers. An example would be Ethan Bear, who was 187th in the 2015 mid-term rankings, ended up being taken in the fifth round by Edmonton that year and is now considered a young star on the Oilers' defence.
Central Scouting’s final rankings are expected in late April.