NHL

2023 NHL Draft: Dragicevic moves up to A rating by Central Scouting

2023 NHL Draft: Dragicevic moves up to A rating by Central Scouting

Lukas Dragicevic, a defenseman for Tri-City of the Western Hockey League, is one of six players who have upgraded to an A rating on NHL Central Scouting’s list of players to watch presented by BioSteel.

The revised list of players to watch updates the preliminary list published on October 25. Players with an A rating are considered candidates to be selected in the first round of the 2023 NHL Draft June 28-29 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

Dragicevic (6-foot-1, 192 pounds) is joined by right winger Lenni Hameenaho of Assat a Liiga (Finland), left winger Andrew Cristall of Kelowna (WHL), right winger Koehn Ziemmer of Prince George ( WHL), left winger Quentin Musty of Sudbury in the Ontario Hockey League and defenseman Beau Akey of Barrie (OHL).

Each player was a B-rated skater from Central Scouting’s starting players to watch the pitch.

Dragicevic is second among WHL defensemen with 29 points (six goals, 23 assists) and has 12 power-play points (nine assists) in 20 games this season. The right-shooting defenseman has 22 points (four goals, 18 assists) during a 14-point streak.

“Lukas has been on a tear lately,” said John Williams of NHL Central Scouting. “He’s very smart and poised with the puck and is very good on the power play. He can distribute the puck very well and also has a good shot from the point.”

Here are the five additional 2023 NHL Draft-eligible players upgraded to an A grade, according to NHL Central Scouting (listed in alphabetical order):

Beau Akey (5-11, 170): The right-shooting defenseman leads Barrie defensemen with 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in 18 games.

“Elite skater who plays top minutes and all situations. Very good hockey sense and transition game with and without the puck, affects the game.” — Dan Marr, director of NHL Central Scouting

Andrew Cristall (5-9, 167): Cristall leads Kelowna with 35 points (15 goals, 20 assists) and has 12 power-play points (nine assists), three game-winning goals and 68 shots on goal in 17 games. He has 22 points (eight goals, 14 assists) during an eight-game hitting streak.

“Andrew has been an offensive catalyst in Kelowna this year. He’s very gifted offensively, good on the power play, has great vision and can score.” — Williams

Lenny Hameenaho (5-11, 173): The right forward has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) and 63 shots on goal while averaging 15:51 of ice time in 23 games in Finland’s top professional men’s league.

“Plays a mature game, is competitive and active with an excellent work ethic. Has soft hands and is effective in traffic, uses good puck-handling skills. Plays with a lot of confidence, isn’t afraid to involve- se and often emerges as the winner of the battles along the boards.” — Goran Stubb, NHL Director of European Scouting

Quentin Musty (6-2, 200): The forward is second in scoring in Sudbury with 21 points (seven goals, 14 assists) and first with 75 shots on goal in 18 games.

“Powerful winger who continues to develop, uses physical attributes effectively and has very good offensive tools and intelligence.” — Marr

Koehn Ziemmer (6-0, 204): The right-handed forward is tied with Cristall for third in the WHL with 35 points (15 goals, 20 assists) in 21 games with Prince George. He has 17 power-play points (six goals, 11 assists).

“Koehn has had a strong start to the season and has shown that he is among the elite scorers in the WHL. He is a very strong player physically, strong on the puck and strong on his feet. He is a tough guy for defensemen to handle in tough situations . . , makes plays in all zones and can score. He’s a potential power forward type of player.” — Williams

Photos: Chris Mast

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