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Chilliwack Chief holds steady on NHL’s Central Scouting list

AJ Lacroix is viewed as a potential late round pick when NHL teams select prospects next June

Chilliwack Chief AJ Lacroix is one of 11 players with BCHL ties on the National Hockey League radar.

The NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau released its midterm rankings this week, with Lacroix checking in at No. 200 among North American skaters. The future Michigan State Spartan earned a ‘C’ grade in the CSB preseason watch list, and his updated ranking affirms his status as a possible late-round pick.

NHL teams will go seven rounds when they meet in June for the entry draft in Nashville, TN.

Lacroix is in his second full season in Chilliwack. He’s collected 10 goals and 26 points in 31 games, good for second in Chiefs scoring behind team captain Abram Wiebe’s 33 points. Lacroix had 21 goals and 40 points in 53 games as a rookie in 2021-22.

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Lacroix has been picked to play in the BCHL Top Prospects Game, taking place Jan. 20 in Penticton.

Former Victoria Grizzlies forward Matthew Wood is the top-ranked player with BCHL ties. At 17 years old he is the youngest player in NCAA Div 1 college hockey, but he’s still produced eight goals and 17 points in 22 games for the University of Connecticut (UConn) Huskies. He is the eighth rated North American skater, making him a likely first round pick.

The powerhouse Penticton Vees have three skaters on the CSB list with forwards Bradly Nadeau at No. 19 and Aydar Suniev at No. 35 and defenceman Ryan Hopkins at No. 196. Other players on the list are Hoyt Stanley (Victoria, No. 77), Owen Beckner (Salmon Arm, No. 128) and former West Kelowna Warrior Charles-Alexis Legault at No. 199.

Three players who are committed to the Vees for next season are also listed, Franceso Dell’Elce at No. 106, Larry Keenan at No. 107 and Jonathan Castagna at No. 135.


@ProgressSports
eric.welsh@theprogress.com

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