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Three Wheat Kings crack draft rankings

Wheat Kings centre John Quenneville is ranked 34th by NHL Central Scouting.

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Wheat Kings centre John Quenneville is ranked 34th by NHL Central Scouting. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)

Nejezchleb: Ranked 114th

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Nejezchleb: Ranked 114th

Hawryluk: Ranked 42nd

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Hawryluk: Ranked 42nd

John Quenneville has been on a roll for the Brandon Wheat Kings and NHL scouts are taking notice.

The 17-year-old centre is ranked 34th overall among North American skaters in the NHL Central Scouting mid-term rankings that were released on Monday, one of three Wheat Kings to make the list. Quenneville’s linemate Jayce Hawryluk, a 17-year-old right-winger from Roblin, is ranked 42nd, while 19-year-old Czech right-winger Richard Nejezchleb cracks the list at 114th overall.

Quenneville, a 6-foot-1, 186-pound native of Edmonton, has scored seven goals in his last eight games, racking up 10 points. Picked in the third round (54th overall) of the 2011 WHL bantam draft, Quenneville leads the Wheat Kings (23-17-4-0) in scoring with 21 goals and 43 points in 43 games this season.

Hawryluk sits second in team scoring with 13 goals and 41 points in 38 games, and is tied for the team lead in plus/minus at +12. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound member of last summer’s gold-medal winning Canadian under-18 team was picked in the second round (32nd overall) in the 2011 WHL bantam draft.

For his part, Nejezchleb leads the Wheat Kings in goals with 23 and sits third in team scoring with 37 points in 41 games. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound native of Slavia Praha in the Czech Republic, was Brandon’s first-round pick in the 2012 CHL Import Draft and attended rookie camp with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins in September as a free agent.

Former Wheat King left-winger Taylor Cooper, 18, of the Lethbridge Hurricanes is ranked 148th, while 17-year-old Elkhorn native Travis Sanheim, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound rookie defenceman with the Calgary Hitmen, is 167th. Sanheim, a graduate of the Yellowhead Midget AAA Chiefs, has four goals, 13 points and a +10 plus/minus rating in 39 games, while Cooper has scored eight goals and notched 18 points in 41 games with Brandon and Lethbridge this season.

Meanwhile, 6-foot-2, 175-pound former Virden Oil Capitals goaltender Ty Edmonds of the Prince George Cougars is ranked eighth among North American goaltenders. Edmonds, a Winnipeg native who played in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League as a 16-year-old rookie last season, has a 3.70 goals-against average and .890 save percentage with two shutouts in 1,993 minutes played for the Cougars.

Prince Albert Raiders centre Leon Draisaitl, an 18-year-old German, is the top-rated WHLer in the mid-term rankings at second overall behind Kingston Frontenacs centre Samuel Bennett, 17, while Canadian junior team centre Sam Reinhart, 17, of the Kootenay Ice is ranked fourth.

The NHL draft is June 27-28 in Philadelphia.

» Brandon Sun

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 14, 2014

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