How do you handle the anticipation of the NHL draft? By treating it like any other weekend.
“I’m not going to think about it,” said Dysin Mayo of Victoria, Central Scouting’s 82nd ranked North American skater for the draft which takes place today and Saturday at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
“There is nothing I can do at this point to change my stock.”
But there was a lot the Juan de Fuca minor hockey grad could have done, and did, over the spring in an extended post-season run with the Edmonton Oil Kings to the Memorial Cup title.
“The longer the playoff run, the longer scouts have a chance to look at you,” said Mayo.
He certainly didn’t hurt his reputation as a two-way blue-liner, taking care of business in his own end while also leading all Oil Kings defencemen in scoring in the WHL playoffs with three goals and 12 assists in 21 games while adding an assist in five Memorial Cup games.
But the draft can be a crapshoot.
“I don’t want to get my hopes up. I have no idea what to expect,” said Mayo.
Fellow WHL blue-liner Joe Hicketts of the Victoria Royals was left off Central Scouting’s ranking list, mainly because of an injury that limited him to 36 regular-season games in 2013-14. But Hicketts did get to extend his season with bronze-medallist Canada at the IIHF Under-18 world championship in Finland.
“I haven’t heard a lot [about his draft prognosis],” said Hicketts, from his home in Kamloops.
“The consensus is some teams might shy away because of all the time off I had last season. I’m understanding of that.”
Hicketts, five-foot-eight but a highly mobile blue-liner who can start plays and jump into attack, is taking the long view.
“I’m working hard through the summer and hope to be in a [NHL team] camp,” he said.
“I’m hoping then to have a strong start to the [Royals 2014-15 WHL] season. About 99 per cent of the players taken in the NHL draft will be back in junior next season.”
Part of Hicketts’ off-season regimen includes ball hockey and he plans to be in Victoria later this summer for the provincial championships with the Interior first-place Kamloops Jets.
A crease player expected to be selected this weekend in Philadelphia is Alec Dillon. The netminder is coming off a breakout rookie season in the B.C. Hockey League with the Victoria Grizzlies and ranked 13th among North American goaltenders for the NHL draft. This is a guy who two years ago was playing Junior B with the West Shore Wolves after being cut by the Grizzlies. Dillon’s rise last season was quick and sharp, and his six-foot-five frame hasn’t gone unnoticed. The lanky Belmont Secondary graduate was among 34 goaltenders invited earlier this month to the Hockey Canada Program of Excellence goaltending camp in Calgary. Dillon has a U.S. collegiate NCAA athletic scholarship offer to Renssellaer Polytechnic Institute beginning in 2015-16. His WHL rights are held by the Oil Kings.