Incoming Freshmen Rated by NHL Central Scouting

Jeff Kyrzakos and Mike Lesperance have made the NHL Central Scouting's final draft ranking. If both are drafted they will bring the total number of players on WMU's 2004-05 hockey roster drafted by the NHL to five.

Both Pat Dwyer (Atlanta, 4th round) and Vince Bellissimo (Florida, 5th round) were drafted by NHL teams in the 2002 entry draft. They were the first draft picks of WMU hockey players since Kevin Clauson in 1998, but now the NHL could be quite well represented at WMU by the end of June.

Next fall's roster will already include a third draft pick even if Kyrzakos and Lesperance are not drafted. Incoming transfer student Mike Erickson was drafted in 2002 by the Minnesota Wild in the third round.

According to the final ranking announced just today (May 12), Kyrzakos is ranked 154, and Lesperance at 173. The rankings are for North American Skaters; goalies and skaters in Europe are in a separate ranking.

These rankings suggest the strong possibility that both players will be mid-to-late round draft picks if they are drafted.

Kyrzakos is a proto-typical NHL forward who skates well, is a playmaker, can score goals, and likes use the physical side of the game to his advantage. Lesperance is more of a work in progress, but possesses good playmaking abilities, skates well for his size, and also can be quite a physical force on the ice. Both players are 6'1" and just shy of 200 pounds.

Both Ryan Mahrle and Paul Szczechura were on a "Players to Watch" list this past fall, but both failed to make the draft rankings. In an interview last fall, head coach Jim Culhane felt both Mahrle and Szczechura might not get a lot of attention because they lack typical NHL size despite their high skill level.

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