May 21st, 2024

Four Tigers named to NHL Central Scoutings final rankings

By JAMES TUBB on April 17, 2024.

The Medicine Hat Tigers had four players listed by NHL Central Scouting in their final rankings ahead of the 2024 NHL Draft this June.

Forward Cayden Lindstrom was the Western Hockey League’s highest ranked player, coming in as the third-ranked North American skater. Lindstrom had 27 goals and 46 points in 32 regular season games before a hand and back injury held him out of the second half.

He recorded a goal and two points in four playoff games.

Andrew Basha was ranked 26th. The 18-year-old Calgary product finished the regular season with 30 goals and 85 points in 63 games, adding another three goals and five points in five playoff games.

Tomas Mrsic was ranked 64th after a strong second half, finishing with 23 goals and 62 points in 63 games. The Surrey, B.C. product had an assist in five playoff contests.

Entering his second year of NHL Draft eligibility, Shane Smith was ranked 161st among North American skaters. The 19-year-old forward had 29 goals and 51 points in 64 regular season games, recording two assists in five playoff games.

Associate coach Joe Frazer says the Tigers organization is excited for all four forwards to be ranked and he looks forward to seeing where they will be picked.

Mrsic and Smith both jumped spots from the NHL’s mid-term rankings. Mrsic went from the No. 90 skater to 64th and Smith from 188th to 161st, not a surprise, Frazer says.

“Both guys had great second halfs, Smitty really stepped up with Lindstrom going down, and he was one of those guys who played a bigger role, especially on the power play,” Frazer said. “He really stepped up and did a nice job. Mrsic had a really good second half as well, so to see those guys move up, it’s exciting.”

The NHL draft is set for June 28-29 in Las Vegas. Frazer expects to see some NHL camp invites extended to Tigers who don’t get drafted, and he says every team believes they should have a few more players ranked on the scouting list.

“We’re the same, it’s not the end all be all, I think the draft goes differently than what Central Scouting has it, but it’s obviously a great feather in the cap to the guys who made it on the list,” Frazer said. “And to the guys who didn’t make it on the list, there’s a lot of development to be had regardless if you get picked, where you get picked or if you don’t get picked. So it’s a great feather in the cap, but there’s always more work to be done.”

McKenna to play

at U18s

Tigers forward Gavin McKenna was named to Hockey Canada’s roster for the World U18 championship.

The 16-year-old forward represented Canada at the World U17s in Moncton, N.B. in November and is coming off 34 goals, 97 points in 61 games in a rookie campaign that has him nominated as the Central division choice for the WHL’s rookie of the year.

The U18s are hosted in Espoo and Vantaa, Finland and run April 25 to May 5. Frazer says they’re looking forward to watching McKenna and says the young forward shines when the lights get brighter.

“You watch how his career’s developed so far and all the big games he’s played, he’s one of those guys who gets better when the pressure intensifies,” Frazer said. “That’s what makes him know who he is. He’s an unbelievable player and when the games get bigger, he rises to the occasion. He’s going to have a great tournament over there and it’ll be an unbelievable experience for him.”

Lindstrom was also named to Team Canada’s roster but will not participate due to injury.

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