The 2019 NHL Draft is set for this weekend and teams are preparing to solidify their future.
For a few members of the Red Deer Rebels, wonder is setting in about whether they will find an NHL home or not.
Forward Oleg Zaystev should be the first Rebel off the board if he does get selected.
He was ranked 38th among North American Skaters by NHL Central Scouting at the mid-term rankings. As of their final ranking, he was 66th. The Russian centre had an adequate first season in North America, notching 13 goals and 30 assists for 43 points in 66 games. The six-foot-one, 185-point left shot forward is ranked 182nd by Future Considerations, a prominent draft prospect service.
Rebels forward Alex Morozoff was also ranked in the final NHL Central Scouting list. After missing out on the midterm rankings, he was listed at 182 in the final. The 18-year-old had15 points in 64 games in Red Deer this season.
Rebels 20-year-old forward Brett Davis, acquired in a deadline deal with the Kootenay Ice, is also eligible. He was originally drafted by the Dallas Stars in the sixth round, 163rd overall in 2017. He was not invited to Stars rookie camp later this summer and since he was not signed, is eligible for the 2019 draft.
Goalie Ethan Anders will be an interesting name to listen for. The 18-year-old was ranked 13th among North American goalies at the mid-term rankings. He slipped to 21 by the final rankings. The Pilot Butte, Sask. native finished the year with a 3.09 goals against average 0.907 save percentage.
The Red Deer Rebels also announced their preseason schedule early last week.
First up is a tilt with the Edmonton Oil Kings on Sept. 3. That contest at Rogers Place in Edmonton is touted as a “Young Guns Game” featuring up and coming talent on each club, excluding most 19 and 20-year-olds.
Red Deer will play just a pair of preseason home games. They will take on the Lethbridge Hurricanes at the Centrium on Sept. 6 and the Medicine Hat Tigers on Sept. 13. In between, Red Deer will make a trip to Lethbridge to take on the Hurricanes Sept. 7.
To round out the preseason, Red Deer will travel to Calgary on Sept. 15 and play the Hitmen in an afternoon title at 2 p.m.
In years past, the Rebels hosted a preseason tournament that welcomed a group of WHL teams to town. Last season, Calgary, the Kootenay Ice (now based out of Winnipeg) and Edmonton played in the mini-tournament at the Centrium over three days.