Victoria skaters listed in NHL draft rankings

Will former Saanich Braves forward Wade Murphy get drafted? Murphy joins a pair of Victoria Royals in the NHL draft rankings

The NHL likes players who can score.

That wasn’t a problem for Victoria Royals rookie Logan Nelson this season.

What took awhile for Logan to reveal, however, was the physical element in his game. That, and his consistent offence caught the NHL’s Central Scouting bureau’s eye as Nelson jumped to 73rd overall from 108th among North American skaters eligible for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Nelson finished fifth in league scoring among rookies with 62 points in 71 games (23 goals, 39 assists). But it was his physical game that stood out, especially in the playoff series against the Kamloops Blazers. Nelson showed the natural timing necessary to throw a punishing but legal check.

Things aren’t as rosy for teammate Steven Hodges, however, as he dropped from 55th to 85th.

The draft rankings also listed six BCHL skaters.Fourth among them is Wade Murphy of Saanich, who split his season between the Victoria Grizzlies and Penticton Vees.

Murphy scored the overtime winner on Tuesday as his Vees went up 3-0 in the BCHL final over the Powell River Kings. Vees defenceman Nick Buchanan of Victoria also scored in the Vees’ 4-3 win. Game 4 was Wednesday night.

Murphy is ranked 142nd, and is headed to Div. 1 Merrimack in the NCAA next year, while Buchanan is headed to Minnesota State-Mankato.

WHL playoff notes

As of Monday Tri City Americans led the Spokane Chiefs 3-2 in the Western Conference semifinal while the Portland Winterhawks led the Kamloops Blazers 3-2 in the other Western semifinal.

The Edmonton Oil Kings swept the Brandon Wheat Kings and will meet the Moose Jaw Warriors in the Eastern Conference final, the Warriors having swept the Medicine Hat Tigers.