Draft day for Ferraro

Maybe Landon Ferraro would prefer to be selected by his hometown Vancouver Canucks in the opening round of the NHL entry draft this evening in Montreal.

Landon Ferraro

Maybe Landon Ferraro would prefer to be selected by his hometown Vancouver Canucks in the opening round of the NHL entry draft this evening in Montreal.

Perhaps he’d be overly pleased with going to any one of the six Canadian teams, and yet, how can you beat living in Florida or southern California?

“No, I don’t really care,” the Red Deer Rebels sniper said from his hotel room on Thursday afternoon.

“You think about how it might be kind of cool to go to one place, but it’s probably not going to work out so you’re settled on the fact that you’re going to be happy with whatever happens.”

The likes of John Tavares, Victor Hedman and Evander Kane know they’ll be among the initial handful of juniors plucked in today’s first round. As for Ferraro, he could go anywhere from late in the first round to early in the second, although the smart money is on the former.

The five-foot-11, 165-pound centre, who scored 37 goals last season, is ranked 18th among North American skaters by Central Scouting and is 26th overall in a mock draft compiled by Bob McKenzie of TSN.

Ferraro talked to 23 of the 30 NHL teams during a draft combine last month in Toronto, but didn’t receive any feedback regarding their interest in the Rebels star.

“They didn’t really say much outside of asking a lot of questions,” he said.

Indeed, the top prospects are incessantly grilled by teams at the annual combine, with some of the questions downright quirky.

“Some of the guys got a bunch of weird ones, but I was pretty lucky that way,” said Ferraro. “They kept them pretty easy for me. The only weird one I got was from the Islanders, and it was ‘if I could be anyone, fact or fiction, who would I be’? They had been asking me more normal questions, serious stuff, so that one kind of caught me off guard.”

Ferraro has been flirting with a case of nerves since arriving in Montreal on Wednesday, and the butterflies will be in full flight when he enters the Bell Centre today.

“I try not to think about it too much because then I get too worked up,” he said.

“But overall it’s a really cool experience and I’m really enjoying myself at this time. We went out to one of the nicest Italian places in town on Wednesday and had a good meal. Right now, I’m just kind of relaxing. This is the part of that you just get to enjoy. Tomorrow will be different.”

Ferraro is one of possibly five Rebels expected to be selected in the 2009 NHL entry draft. Forwards Cass Mappin (73rd) and Willie Coetzee (132nd), and netminder Darcy Kuemper (ninth) are all ranked by Central Scouting, while defenceman Justin Weller could sneak into the mix despite being held to 32 games last season due to injury.

Tommi Kivisto, who was on the Red Deer blueline last season but has since signed with Jokerit Helsinki in his native Finland, is ranked 119th by Central Scouting.

• Rebels graduating defenceman Luke Egener will suit up with the University of Calgary Dinosaurs for the 2009-10 CIS hockey season.

New U of C head coach Mark Howell, a Red Deer native, has also recruited former Rebels rearguard Eric Frere of Trochu, who played with the Kootenay ice last winter, and blueliner Graham Potuer, a Red Deer product and graduate of the Everett Silvertips.

gmeachem@bprda.wpengine.com

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