- Our Town
Kootenay Ice players hit NHL draft list
When it comes to the NHL scouts, Kootenay Ice captain Sam Reinhart has generated all kinds of buzz since he came into the league as a rookie 16-year-old.
However, other members of the team have quietly made those same scouts sit up and take notice.
The final NHL Central Scouting rankings were released on Tuesday, with Reinhart, Luke Philp, Jaedon Descheneau and Rinat Valiev all finding themselves on the list.
All four were there in the mid-season rankings, but all have climbed up the ladder.
Reinhart is the highest at third overall, while Philp is 80th, Valiev at 83rd, and Descheneau at 95th.
Defenceman Tanner Faith remains on the list in the Limited Viewing category, as he has missed much of the season due to a shoulder injury.
The biggest jump was Philp, who went from 122nd in the mid-season rankings, to 80th. Descheneau went from 125th to 95th, while Valiev occupies 83rd, climbing up from 106th.
Philp ended the regular season with 31 goals and 46 assists for 77 points in 71 games.
"It's awesome, to make that big of a jump, I wasn't expecting it, but I'm happy with the result," said Philp.
"I've felt good in the second half, I can't put in anything in particular, if I've started to play better or not, but I'm happy getting ranked and hopefully I can keep making this playoff push to help it out even more."
Descheneau has been a key part of the team this year, leading the team in goals with 44 and tallying 98 points. He was recently named CHL player of the week after the Ice defeated the Calgary Hitmen in six games in the first round of the playoffs.
"I guess it's something to be happy about, moving up quite a few spots from the last rankings, but I want to move up more and obviously I need to prove myself more in these playoffs to move up and hopefully get drafted higher in June," he said.
Already passed over in the 2013 NHL Draft, Descheneau has certainly made a strong case for himself this time around.
"I think I've just tried to be more consistent," he said. "The first half [of the season], I wasn't very consistent with things. I have a good game, then a bad game, then a good game kind of thing.
"After Christmas, I tried to play more defensive, too, and play well every game every time I'm on the ice, and obviously, I've done better at that."
Valiev, who came in from the CHL import draft after playing in the USHL last year, is the Ice rookie of the year who collected five goals and 23 assists with a plus-27 rating before playoffs.
Sam Bennett of the Kingston Frontenacs and Barrie Colts D-man Aaron Ekblad are first and second in front of the Kootenay Ice captain. Reinhart had a strong year, tying a franchise record with 105 points, making a trip to the World Junior Championship with Team Canada and playing in the CHL Top Prospects showcase game.