Rebels and local products on NHL Central Scouting final rankings

A strong push during the final month of the WHL season could pay dividends for a few players with local connections come the NHL Draft in June.

Red Deer Rebels forward Lane Zablocki got the highest ranking at 52 in the final NHL Central Scouting list released Tuesday. At the midterm rankings, the 18-year-old was ranked 70.

Zablocki scored 19 goals in 31 games after arriving in Red Deer on Jan. 10, and had eight points in eight games in March.

The Wetaskiwin native also had six goals in six playoff games this season with the Rebels.

The biggest riser was Sylvan Lake native Tyler Steenbergen who plays for the Swift Current Broncos. The 19-year-old was passed over his first time in the NHL Draft, but with a 51-goal season under his belt this year, that likely won’t happen again.

Steenbergen jumped in the rankings from 138 at the midterm, to 70 on the final list Tuesday.

Steenbergen had six goals and 11 points in Broncos’ last 10 games of the season.

He currently has seven goals in 10 playoff games this year as the Broncos lead the Regina Pats 2-1 in their best-of-seven second round WHL playoff series.

Rebels forward Austin Pratt dropped in the final rankings, at the midterm he was ranked 83 and finished at 103. The 17-year-old struggled down the stretch for the Rebels with only one goal in his last six games. He also failed to record a point in the playoffs.

Kale Howarth rounded out the local names on the list, moving up to 128 after sitting at 129 at the midseason rankings. Howarth had a stellar season with the Trail Smoke Eaters of the BCHL recording 30 goals and 29 assists in 51 games.

Howarth only had two points in nine playoff games with the Smoke Eaters.

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