Early NHL Grades Are In

Central Scouting Releases Watch List

Two current and one former Waterloo Black Hawks players were noted as prospects for the 2016 National Hockey League Draft in Tuesday’s “Preliminary Players to Watch List” released by NHL Central Scouting.

Sam Rossini, Garrett Wait, and Ethan Spaxman were each named as draft candidates for the June event in Buffalo.  Less than a week ago, Rossini and Wait were each in western New York to appear in a showcase event for scouts and team executives: USA Hockey’s All-American Prospects Game at the First Niagara Center, site of the 2016 Draft.  They also both represented the United States during the highly-scouted Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup Tournament in Europe this August.

“These guys know that scouts are watching.  They also know that the draft is just one step in the process, and that coming to the rink to improve everyday is how they will open the doors ahead of them,” said Black Hawks Head Coach P.K. O’Handley.

Tuesday’s Central Scouting grades were on an “A/B/C” scale, with “A” indicating that the player is a first round draft candidate, “B” projecting a second or third round selection, and “C” suggesting a pick in the fourth through sixth rounds.  Rossini was given a “B” rating, while Wait and Spaxman took “C” marks.

Rossini is in his second year with the Black Hawks.  As a 16-year-old rookie defenseman in 2014/15, he netted a goal and four assists over the course of 44 appearances.  In just two games during the current schedule, Rossini already has a goal and an assist to go along with a +2 plus/minus differential.  He is committed to the University of Minnesota.

Wait is also Minnesota-bound.  Central Scouting gave him a “C” grade during the current round of projections.  Following a strong preseason for Waterloo, the former Edina High School forward appeared in both of the Black Hawks’ games over the weekend.

Spaxman spent most of 2014/15 with the Hawks after being acquired in a November trade.  He recorded two goals, 14 assists, and a +1 mark while dressing in Waterloo colors 43 times.  The Brantford, Ontario, defenseman will open his freshman season at Merrimack College on October 16th.

Last summer, Brock Boeser became the earliest Black Hawk ever chosen during an NHL Draft when he was selected by the Vancouver Canucks with the 23rd overall pick.  Additionally, Tom Novak was called during the third round by the Nashville Predators.  Current Black Hawk David Cotton was a sixth round selection of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Central Scouting will periodically release updated grades and rankings throughout the winter.  A final ranking of North American prospects will be issued in April.

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