June 21st, 2024

Chyzowski leads class of 17 Tigers eligible for this weekend’s NHL draft

By Ryan McCracken on June 21, 2018.

Medicine Hat Tigers centre Ryan Chyzowski leads his team back to the bench after scoring a goal in Game 5 of the Western Hockey League's Eastern Conference quarter-final series against the Brandon Wheat Kings on March 30, 2018.


Ryan Chyzowski has done all he can. All that’s left to do is wait.

The 18-year-old Medicine Hat Tigers centre will be in Whistler with his family to watch the NHL entry draft this weekend after putting in an impressive Western Hockey League season and earning himself NHL Central Scouting’s 95th ranking among North American skaters. While he knows anything can happen once teams start taking the stage Friday and Saturday at the American Airlines Centre in Dallas, Chyzowski say’s it’s hard not to think about the prospect of taking another big step toward a professional career on the ice.

“It’s a little bit nerve-racking but I’m pretty excited about it. I don’t want to hype myself up too much or strike myself out, but I’m looking forward to Saturday and hopefully my name will get called,” said Chyzowski, who leads a group of 17 Tigers eligible for this year’s draft. “I went into the season not really thinking about the draft too much. I just worried about my game and helped the Tigers win. I think with the play we had and the way we started off the season, it was pretty strong and my game was pretty strong. I think that helped not only my reputation, but everybody’s reputation on the team.

“I really think it was important to continually improve myself throughout the season and just kind of work on my game, every aspect of it, to continually improve.”

The 6-foot, 190-pound Kamloops product had a breakout season on the Tigers’ second line, dwarfing his rookie numbers with 21 goals and 31 assists in a full 72-game campaign. Chyzowski went on to add four goals and an assist in Medicine Hat’s six-game Eastern Conference quarter-final loss to the Brandon Wheat Kings.

His performance down the stretch and into the post-season turned a few heads while launching up NHL Central Scouting’s ladder from 160th in the midterm rating to within the top 100 top available North American skaters.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have already expressed interest in both Chyzowski, as well as Tigers blueliner Joel Craven. While Craven sits unranked approaching the draft, he and Chyzowski attended a fitness training camp with the Leafs a few weeks ago. The Tabbies didn’t see much of each other at the event — as the camp was split into forwards and defencemen —but Chyzowski says it was definitely a valuable experience for both of them. Each went through a brief fitness test, as well as a couple of on-ice sessions with Maple Leafs skills coaches.

“That was good,” said Chyzowski. “They talked to us about little things we had to work on to play pro hockey. It was more of a little general camp, they didn’t really do as much 1-on-1 stuff with us. There was about 40 kids there so it was more of an experience for us, just to get to know what it’s like at that level.”

Other notable Tigers available at this year’s draft include centres James Hamblin, Gary Haden and Elijah Brown, wingers Tyler Preziuso, Hayden Ostir and Bryan Lockner. The Tigers had three of 19 eligible players hear their names called last year — centre Mason Shaw, winger Zach Fischer and goaltender Jordan Hollet.

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