January 22nd, 2022

Turning a few heads: Tabby defencemen motivated by draft rankings

By JAMES TUBB on January 14, 2022.


Bogdans Hodass and Pasha Bocharov are using their NHL draft rankings as motivation for the rest of their seasons.

The duo of Medicine Hat Tigers defencemen were listed on the National Hockey League Central Scouting’s midterm rankings of the top North American skaters eligible for the draft, which was released Wednesday morning.

Bocharov, who was acquired by the Tigers in a three-way trade with the Saskatoon Blades, was ranked 157th among North American skaters. He says he found out about the ranking from Brenden Lee, who also joined the Tigers this season from Saskatoon.

Lee says he was thrilled for his friend and teammate to be listed but knows he has more ahead.

“I was super happy for him but I know he’s got more, I think he can go higher and if he shows what he’s really got, I think he can go higher,” Lee said.

Bocharov, who scored his first goal as a Tiger in their 4-3 overtime win over the Brandon Wheat Kings Wednesday night, says it’s special to be recognized but there’s more work ahead.

“It’s really special to be a part of a huge group of talent in my age group and draft year and to be recognized as one of those guys is really special to me,” Bocharov said. “But the work doesn’t really end at all, still have a lot of work to do. It’s good but it’s not everything.”

The 5-foot-11 blueliner has two goals and eight points in 34 games with the Blades and Tigers this season.

Hodass was ranked 173rd among North American skaters in his first WHL season after being selected by the Tigers in the CHL import draft last summer. The Latvian defenceman has three goals and 16 points in 23 games in orange and black this season.

He says he was happy about being named and it’s motivation for him to keep working hard. Hodass says the possibility of being seen by scouts and being listed was one of the reasons he came over to North America this season.

Tigers head coach and general manager Willie Desjardins says being listed is something all guys want to see and it didn’t surprise him to see both Bocharov and Hodass on the list with their talents.

“Bogdans… certainly a big strong defenceman, has a very good shot on the power play,” Desjardins said. “I think that’s probably his key. He’s committed to his game, he works at the game but I think there is still room for him to get better. I can see he has the ability to come in and play well.

“(Bocharov)’s got lots of good things with his game too, he sees the game well, he’s more offensive and I think he’s another guy that I think he’ll just keep getting better… He is still a young guy and I think once he gets his confidence up I think he’s going to get quite a bit better.”

Desjardins says, for the draft eligible players on the Tigers that didn’t get listed, they just have to keep working and believing.

“You look at Cole Clayton, it doesn’t matter if you get drafted, listed or whatever it is. You have until you are 20 to get yourself to the level you want to,” Desjardins said. “For some it comes quicker, but you have to keep believing and you have to keep working.”

Clayton played 214 games for the Tigers over five seasons and went un-drafted before signing with the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters last summer.

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