Ryan Pulock and Eric Roy have gotten used to being under the microscope as prospects for June’s National Hockey League Entry Draft.
They’ll face more scrutiny than ever when they suit up in the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game next month in Halifax. The Brandon Wheat Kings blue-liners were both among 40 Canadian Hockey League players named to the draft showcase on Wednesday.
Pulock, a possible top-10 pick, was virtually a lock to be chosen for the Jan. 16 game, while Roy’s inclusion was a little more touch-and-go.
"Definitely it’s very exciting," Roy said. "The Top Prospects game is a real good thing. We’ll represent the team well over there."
Both players will suit up for Team Cherry and they should have the fans on their side with their teammates including a trio of players from the host Halifax Mooseheads, led by Nathan MacKinnon, who is the favourite to go first overall in next year’s draft. Their Team Orr opponents will include Portland Winterhawks defenceman Seth Jones, who is another candidate to be chosen first in the draft.
Pulock, a former member of the Canadian under-18 team, has crossed paths with many of these players before and he’s looking forward to checking out what the other prospects have to offer.
"I definitely have played against quite a few of those guys and even with a few of those guys, but there definitely will be some new faces there that I haven’t seen or met before, so I think it will be a good chance to do that. And I think it’s a game and a little bit of time to just kind of get your mind off the season a little bit and have some fun."
The 6-foot-1, 211-pound Pulock went into Wednesday’s slate of games leading all Western Hockey League defencemen with 10 goals in 27 games and was third among blue-liners in points, with 28. The Grandview native was slotted third among WHLers in the NHL Central Scouting Service’s preliminary rankings, and was ranked eighth among all players in the most recent Red Line Report.
Roy, a 6-foot-3, 187-pounder from Beauval, Sask., was ranked ninth among WHLers by the CSS and 89th overall by Red Line Report. He has struggled defensively this season, with a plus/minus of -24, but has been productive offensively, with six goals and 20 points in 33 contests.
"It’s a great feather in their cap," Wheat Kings head coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk said of the duo’s selection. "It’s an opportunity for them to go and show their talent against their age group, the guys who are draft eligible, and it’s another step in the whole process. … They’ve got to continue to improve. Both of them have had good years. I think there’s parts of both their games that they wish would be better and that’s one of the unique things about them: They both strive to be better."
<B>ONE-TIMERS: Wheat Kings G <B>Corbin Boes sat out Wednesday’s practice on what Gylywoychuk called a maintenance day … Rookie Brandon C <B>Tim McGauley has resumed practising fully after missing six games with a suspected concussion and could return as soon as Friday against the Moose Jaw Warriors (7:30 p.m., Westman Place) in the Wheat Kings’ last home game before the Christmas break … The Regina Pats made a pair of trades on Wednesday, sending 18-year-old Czech LW <B>Dominik Volek to the Red Deer Rebels for
18-year-old C <B>Marc McCoy, 19-year-old Slovakian LW <B>Filip Vasko and a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft. Volek has been playing junior hockey in Sweden this season, but is expected to join the Rebels after Christmas. The Pats then picked up D <B>Darian Henry from the Calgary Hitmen for a fifth-round pick in 2015.