Many good hockey players never hear their name called during the NHL draft. Josh Thrower hopes he isn’t one of them.
The Tri-City Americans defenseman would like to follow in the footsteps of his older brother, Dalton, who was a second-round pick (51st overall) of Montreal in 2012.
“It’s a nerve-wracking time,” said Thrower, who was ranked 148th in the final Central Scouting rankings in April. “I watched my brother go through it. I’m excited for it. I’ve talked to a couple of teams, and a couple have talked to my agent, but my phone hasn’t been blowing up.”
The Florida Panthers have the first pick of the draft today. Among the top contenders for the top pick are center Samuel Bennett (Kingston, OHL), defenseman Aaron Ekblad (Barrie, OHL), Kootenay Ice center Sam Reinhart and Prince Albert Raiders center Leon Draisaitl.
The first round of the draft is today in Philadelphia, with the final six rounds taking place Saturday.
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Thrower was acquired by the Americans from the Calgary Hitmen at the trade deadline for Connor Rankin. Thrower did not have any points for Tri-City in 28 games, but general manager Bob Tory said his game isn’t about the numbers.
“He brings an element to the game others don’t,” Tory said. “He is the toughest, hard-nosed kid coming out of the WHL. He skates well and plays tough. It would be nice if he got recognized for his efforts and was drafted. If not, he could get an invite to an NHL camp.”
While scouts might like to see another inch or two on Thrower’s frame, Tory said his size shouldn’t be a factor.
“He’s big enough,” Tory said. “You have to look at the actual talent. Height and weight don’t tell you a whole lot except for shirt size.”
While waiting for draft day, Thrower has kept busy at the gym and on the ice.
“I’ve been working out and training for the upcoming season,” said Thrower, who noted he has been working out with his brother. “I’ve been going on the ice and practicing hard.”
When Thrower returns to Kennewick in the fall, he will see a familiar face behind the bench — coach Mike Williamson — whom Thrower played under in Calgary for a year and a half.
“I’m excited to have him back as a coach,” Thrower said. “He knows what kind of player I am. I’m looking forward to it.”
Should Thrower get drafted, it would be the first time since 2010-11 that the Americans had players drafted in consecutive years. Goalie Eric Comrie was selected in the second round (59th overall) last year by the Winnipeg Jets.
Going camping: Tri-City Goaltender, Evan Sarthou, 17, and defenseman, Brendan O’Reilly, 17, will participate in USA Hockey’s Player Development Camp today through July 2 in Amherst, New York. The camp is part of USA Hockey’s selection process in determining its roster for the U18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament to be held in Piestany, Slovakia, and Breclav, Czech Republic, from Aug. 11-16.
Going overseas: The CHL’s import draft is scheduled for July 2. The Americans, who have no European players on their roster, have the 18th pick overall.