Hockey: Tambellini, Birks crack NHL final rankings

Seven BCHL players secured themselves a spot in the NHL Central Scouting’s Final Rankings Wednesday.

Seven BCHL players secured themselves a spot in the NHL Central Scouting’s Final Rankings Wednesday.

Surrey Eagle Adam Tambellini, son of Trail’s Steve Tambellini, was selected as top NHL prospect in the Canadian Junior Hockey League. Ranked 42nd of over 200 North America skaters, the former Vernon Viper was ranked 62nd overall in the Midterm Rankings and climbed 20 spots. He was also a BCHL second Team All Star and led the BCHL in goals during the 2013 playoffs, while netting 36 goals and 29 assists for the Eagles and Vipers this season.

Tambellini scored the double-overtime goal against the Penticton Vees to capture the 2013 Fred Page Cup and has committed to the University of North Dakota (NCAA Division I) for the upcoming season. The 18-year-old forward also earned a tryout with Team Canada West for the 2012 World Junior A Challenge.

Tambellini and the Surrey Eagles captured the BCHL Title and will now compete in the Western Canada Cup in Nanaimo from April 27 – May 5th.

The son of Trail Smoke Eaters coach Bill Birks also cracked the top 210. Dane Birks who played 10 games with the Smokies in 2011-12, is a defenceman with the Merritt Centennials and was ranked 121st overall. Birks, 17, scored five goals and added 20 assists in 52 games last season.

The other BCHL ranked players include David Pope of West Kelowna, 67th; Powell River Kings’ Luke Ripley, 86th, while Nolan De Jong from Victoria was ranked 111th.  Jedd Soleway of Penticton Vees and Prince George Spruce King Kevin Guiltinan rounded out the BCHLers at 131st and 162nd respectively.

The Vees Chad Katunar, 28th, was the only BCHL goaltender ranked in the top 32 of North American netminders.

Seth Jones of the Western Hockey League’s Portland Winterhawks kept his number one overall ranking, while Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathon Drouin both from the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League were second and third overall ranked players respectively.

The top ranked goalie overall is Zachary Fucale also of Halifax, while the top European player is Aleksander Barkov of Finland.

The NHL draft lottery which determines the order of picks for the June 30 draft, will go on Monday at 7 p.m.

The lottery will be the first in NHL history in which all 14 clubs not qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs will have a chance at winning the right to the first overall selection.

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