Several Kitchener Rangers could hear names called during NHL entry draft

Several Kitchener Rangers players are hoping to hear their names called during the NHL’s annual entry draft in Nashville, Tenn., which begins Wednesday night and continues on Thursday.

A handful of Rangers have become draft eligible, including Matthew Andonovski, Hunter Brzustewicz, Cameron Mercer, Kyle Morey, Jackson Parsons, Carson Rehkopf and Blair Scott.

The most likely to hear their name called over the next two days will be Rehkopf, Brzustewicz and Andonovski, although the trio are all more likely to be selected on the second day of the draft.

Rehkopf, who grew up in Vaughan, Ont., is also to go in the second or third round, according to mock drafts. The forward is listed as the 29th-best North American skater, according to the Central Scouting rankings. He scored 30 goals and assisted on 29 others in 68 games last season.

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Brzustewicz, who is a native of Washington, Mich., is being touted to go as high as in the second round and is ranked 41 among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings list. He was the team’s top point-getting defenceman last season with six goals and 51 assists in 68 games.

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Andonovski, who is also a blueliner, was the 134th-ranked skater in North America, according to the NHL Scouting Bureau. The Markham, Ont., native had 17 assists in 67 games. He is expected to be a later-round pick on Thursday.

The Rangers have had 165 players drafted since the team was formed in 1969, which ranks the club fourth among OHL clubs over that timeframe.

Gabriel Landeskog (2011) and Brian Bellows (1982) share the record for the highest-ranking Rangers drafted as each went second overall.

Last season’s roster was littered with Rangers who had been drafted and signed by NHL clubs, including Francesco Arcuri (Dallas Stars), Tomas Hamara (Ottawa Senators), Filip Mesar (Montreal Canadiens), Francesco Pinelli (Los Angeles Kings), Roman Schmidt (Tampa Bay Lightning) and Danny Zhilkin (Winnipeg Jets).

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