Leason and Protas ranked by NHL Central Scouting

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Prince Albert Raiders rookie forward Aliaskei Protas recorded his second straight hat-trick of the post-season on Sunday in Edmonton.

Two members of the Prince Albert Raiders have received recognition for their strong starts by NHL Central Scouting

Forwards Brett Leason and Aliaksei Protas, who have been on the same line with overager Sean Montgomery for most of the season, were both given ‘C’ grades in the latest Players to Watch list that came out last week.

A ‘C’ rating means that Central Scouting projects the player to be picked anywhere from the fourth to the sixth round at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.

Leason, a 19-year-old from Calgary that has been eligible for the last two drafts, is enjoying a breakout campaign as he has 22 goals (the most in the Western Hockey League) and 25 assists in 22 games heading into Friday’s road affair against the Medicine Hat Tigers.

Protas, a 17-year-old from Belarus, had four goals and 14 assists in 19 games in his first season in Canada.

He has the most assists by any freshman in the WHL and is tied with Brayden Tracey of the Moose Jaw Warriors and Oleg Zaytsev of the Red Deer Rebels for the rookie scoring lead with 19 points.

The two Raiders were not ranked in the initial list that came out last month.

A total of 48 players from the WHL were included in November’s list.

Bowen Byram (Vancouver), Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge), Kirby Dach (Saskatoon), Nolan Foote (Kelowna), Peyton Krebs (Kootenay) and Matthew Robertson retained their ‘A’ rankings as projected first round picks,

Meanwhile Josh Williams (Medicine Hat) saw his ranking slide to a ‘B’ and is now projected as a second or third round pick.

Lethbridge Hurricanes forward Logan Barlage, who played for the Prince Albert Mintos in the 2016-17 season, was given a ‘C’ rating.

Also receiving a ‘C’ ranking was one-time Raiders draft pick Chase Felguerias, who is now a blueliner for the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Humboldt Broncos.

Forward Jack Hughes of the United States National Team Development Program is widely expected to be the first pick in Vancouver next June.

Pre-Game Notes

The Raiders have won their three previous meetings with the Tigers and have a chance to sweep the season series for the first time since the 1998-99 campaign.

A year later, the Raiders would win three of their four matchups with the Tigers but ended up playing to a tie in the other game.

Since, the Tigers have swept the season series with the Raiders on four occasions (2006-07, 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2016-17).

After a 2-0 win over the Swift Current Broncos last Saturday, the Tigers have a 10-11-1-2 record to sit in fourth place in the Central Division and have a three point lead over the Calgary Hitmen for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Rookie import netminder Mads Sogaard is off to a solid start in Medicine Hat this season, as his .930 save percentage is the third best in the league.

Tigers defenceman Joel Craven is currently day-to-day after suffering a concussion, while forward Elijah Brown is listed as week-to-week on the WHL’s Weekly Report after suffering a sprained shoulder in a game against Saskatoon last week.

Around the WHL

Kirby Proctor, a third round pick by the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft, has committed to the NCAA’s Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks.

A 17-year-old blueliner from Okotoks, Alta., Proctor has seven assists in 17 games for the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers this season.

He had 25 points in 54 games last year with the AJHL’s Bonnyville Pontiacs.

Wednesday’s Scores

  • Edmonton 4 Brandon 1 (Quinn Benjafield – Two Goals)
  • Lethbridge 3 Saskatoon 1 (Ty Kolle – One Goal and Two Assists)
  • Kelowna 3 Regina 2 (Nolan Foote – Two Goals)
  • Calgary 3 Portland 2 (Carl Stankowski – 38 Saves)
  • Vancouver 4 Seattle 2 (Bowen Byram – One Goal and One Assist)

Friday’s Schedule

  • Edmonton vs. Moose Jaw – 7 p.m.
  • Lethbridge vs. Brandon – 7:30 p.m.
  • Red Deer vs. Kootenay – 8 p.m.
  • Prince Albert vs. Medicine Hat – 8:30 p.m.
  • Regina vs. Prince George – 9 p.m.
  • Victoria vs. Kelowna – 9 p.m.
  • Kamloops vs. Tri-City – 9 p.m.
  • Calgary vs. Seattle – 9:30 p.m.