By Yoos, Cam on April 9, 2020.
Four members of the Lethbridge Hurricanes were listed as the National Hockey League Central Scouting Service announced their final rankings Wednesday for the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
Alex Cotton (79th), Oliver Okuliar (154th) and Noah Boyko (201st) are ranked among North American skaters while Bryan Thomson (11th) was ranked among North American goaltenders.
Cotton, 18, was originally drafted by the Hurricanes in the fourth round (99th overall) in the 2016 Western Hockey League bantam draft. The product of Langley, B.C., was passed over in his first year of eligibility for the NHL Draft last year. The second-year rearguard posted a career-high 67 points in 2019-20 while leading the entire WHL in defenceman scoring. Cotton scored 20 goals in 2019-20, becoming just the third Hurricanes defenceman in franchise history to reach the 20-goal mark.
Okuliar, 19, was drafted by the Hurricanes in the first round (49th overall) in the 2019 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft. The product of Trencin, Slovakia was not selected in the NHL Draft in his first two years of eligibility. In his first year with the Canes in 2019-20, Okuliar appeared in 55 games totalling 68 points (33g-35a) along with 51 penalty minutes and a plus-25 rating while finishing second in team scoring. He represented Slovakia at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championships where he recorded four points (2g-2a) in five games.
Boyko, 17, was drafted in the first round (16th overall) in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft by the Hurricanes. The product of Fort Saskatchewan appeared in 47 games in 2019-20 collecting 25 points (10g-15a) along with 26 penalty minutes and a plus-nine rating. The 6’2, 181-pound forward has totalled 40 points (17g-23a) in 105 career games with the Canes.
Thomson, 17, was selected in the second round (37th overall) by the Hurricanes in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft. The product of Moose Jaw appeared in 30 games in his first full season in the WHL in 2019-20. Thomson posted a 16-7-1-0 record with a 2.83 goals- against average and a .898 save percentage with one shutout. He has appeared in 35 career games with a 19-8-1-0 record.
The Hurricanes have had at least one player selected by an NHL club in the Entry Draft in three straight seasons and in five of the last six years including Dylan Cozens who was selected seventh overall last year by the Buffalo Sabres.
The 2020 NHL Entry Draft, which was originally scheduled for June 26-27 in Montreal, has been postponed due to the uncertainty resulting from COVID-19. The location, timing and format for the Draft has yet to be confirmed.