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BRAMPTON, Ont. – Defenceman Dylan Blujus leads a group of four Brampton Battalion players ranked by the National Hockey League’s central scouting department in its final ratings for the NHL Draft in June.
Blujus is 71st among 210 North American-based skaters on the list released Monday, while fellow rearguard Marcus McIvor is 154th and centre Patrik Machac is 190th. Matej Machovsky is No. 14 among 35 North American-based goaltenders.
Blujus, a Buffalo native who turned 18 on Jan. 22, was 52nd in central scouting’s midseason rankings in January. In his second Ontario Hockey League season with the Troops, Blujus was the team’s leading scorer among defencemen with seven goals and 27 assists for 34 points in 66 games.
The six-foot-three, 193-pound Blujus was a third-round pick in the 2010 OHL Priority Selection and contributed four goals and 22 assists for 26 points in 67 games as a rookie. He has one goal and four assists for five points in six playoff games.
“I’m pretty happy,” said Blujus. “I dropped a little bit in the rankings, but overall I can’t really complain.”
McIvor, ranked 113th in January, was the Battalion’s first-round pick in 2010. He recorded one goal and 13 assists for 14 points in 64 games this season. A six-foot-one, 203-pound resident of Whitby, Ont., who turns 18 on May 20, McIvor chipped in with 14 points, including one goal, in 62 games in 2010-11.
“I don’t really pay too much attention to the rankings,” said McIvor, who has three points, including two goals, in six playoff games. “The main focus is the playoffs right now, and I might pay a little more attention a little closer to the NHL draft. Obviously, the goal is to get drafted, but I try to stay away from that right now.”
Machovsky said he isn’t surprised that Blujus and McIvor have caught the eye of NHL scouts.
“Dylan is skilled offensively and scores goals. It’s good for him to be ranked that high. I think Marcus is the opposite of Dylan. He’s more of a defensive defenceman. It’s good for both of those guys.”
A native of Prague, Czech Republic, Machac was ranked 147th at midseason. A first-round pick, 10th overall, in the Canadian Hockey League’s Import Draft last June, the five-foot-nine, 168-pound Machac recorded 14 goals and 18 assists for 32 points in 61 games in his rookie season. Machac, who turns 18 on April 23, has yet to record a point in the playoffs.
Machovsky, who turns 19 on July 25, was ranked 17th in January. The six-foot-two, 195-pound resident of Opava, Czech Republic, appeared in 42 games in his second OHL season, compiling a won-lost-extended record of 23-13-4 with five shutouts, a 2.36 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage. He has started every playoff game for the Troops this year, with a record of 4-2, one shutout, a 1.62 GAA and a .927 save percentage.
Chosen in the second round of the 2010 CHL Import Draft by the Guelph Storm, Machovsky made five appearances with Guelph before being acquired by the Battalion in a trade on Dec. 1, 2010. He played 18 games with the Troops, posting a record of 5-11-2 with one shutout, a GAA of 2.65 and a save percentage of .901.
Machovsky was eligible for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft but wasn’t chosen. He attended a development camp with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings last July and was invited to the Ottawa Senators’ rookie camp in September.
“I don’t really pay attention as much as I did last year, because I ended up being ranked third and didn’t get drafted,” said Machovsky. “So the list isn’t as important to me. It’s definitely positive to be on the list, but it’s the playoffs, and I’m really focusing on the team and winning some games.”
Said McIvor: “It’s a credit to him. He’s been playing really well right now, and as a team we’ve been playing better. He’s done a great job stopping the puck back there for us.”
The Battalion owns the OHL rights to one other player on the list, centre Matt Lane of the United States under-18 team, who is ranked 150th. Lane, whose older brother, Philip, is in his third season as a right winger with the Troops, was ranked 133rd at midseason. The Rochester, N.Y., resident, who turned 18 on March 15, was a fifth-round pick in 2010.
Russian import right winger Nail Yakupov of the Sarnia Sting is the top-rated skater, while teammate Alex Galchenyuk, a centre, is fourth. Defenceman Cody Ceci of the Ottawa 67’s, centre Radek Faksa of the Kitchener Rangers and blueliner Olli Maatta of the London Knights occupy the sixth, seventh and eighth spots respectively.
Three of the top nine rated goaltenders play in the OHL. Malcolm Subban of the Belleville Bulls is first, while Jake Paterson of the Saginaw Spirit is third and Kitchener’s Franky Palazzese is ninth.
The CHL had 146 players, including 23 goaltenders, ranked. The OHL produced 65, the Western Hockey League 49 and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League 32.
Players are first-time eligible for the NHL Draft in the year they turn 18, unless their birthdate falls Sept. 16 or later, in which case they must wait until the following year.
The 2012 draft is scheduled June 22-23 at Pittsburgh.