NHL scouts eying Primeau

NORTH BAY, Ont. — Centre Mason Primeau of the North Bay Battalion is among 44 Ontario Hockey League skaters in the first rankings by the National Hockey League’s central scouting department in advance of the 2019 NHL Draft.

Primeau, who turns 18 on July 28, is rated 142nd among the 217 North American-based skaters on one of four lists released Monday.

A six-foot-five, 203-pound Toronto resident, Primeau has seven goals and 12 assists for 19 points in 27 games with the Battalion since a Nov. 15 trade from the Guelph Storm, which took him in the second round, 22nd overall, of the 2017 OHL Priority Selection from the Toronto Nationals minor midgets. The Troops sent two picks to Guelph for him.

In 107 OHL games, including 80 with the Storm, Primeau has 17 goals and 22 assists for 39 points.

“It’s nice to be recognized on the list, but obviously it’s a number that I’m looking to improve upon greatly and come next term be rated much higher,” Primeau said via text.

A total of 128 Canadian Hockey League skaters are on the list, including 39 from the Western Hockey League and 35 from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

The top-rated OHLer is defenceman Thomas Harley of the Mississauga Steelheads, who’s ranked ninth, followed by centre Ryan Suzuki of the Barrie Colts at 10th and left-shot right winger Arthur Kaliyev of the Hamilton Bulldogs at 11th.

The No. 1-rated skater is American centre Jack Hughes of the National Team Development Program under-18 team based at Plymouth, Mich.

The NHL also ranked 31 North American-based goaltenders, including six OHLers, led by Hunter Jones of the Peterborough Petes at No. 2. Seven WHL and three QMJHL goaltenders also made the list.

A total of 130 European-based skaters and 12 European-based goaltenders made up the other two lists in anticipation of the draft, to held June 21-22 at Vancouver.

Players are first-time eligible for the NHL Draft in the year they turn 18, unless they are born Sept. 16 or later, in which case they must wait until the following year.

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