Bonnyville native Brinson Pasichnuk is ranked 115 in the final NHL Central Scouting draft rankings ahead of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft in Buffalo.
The 18-year-old Bonnyville Jr. A Pontiacs defenceman jumped 32 spots after being placed 147 on the mid-season watch list back in November.
“I was a bit surprised. In talking to the local central scout he thought I would maybe jump up a bit or not even move, so when I went up 32 spots I was pretty happy,” said Pasichnuk.
The 2016 AJHL Most Outstanding Defenceman finished the season 15th in league scoring notching 20 goals and 65 points in 52 games. He also played a key role in Team Canada West’s gold medal run at the World Junior A Challenge and appeared in the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) Top Prospects game.
He is the only AJHL player listed in the NHL Central Scouting final 2016 rankings, as Okotoks Oilers defenceman Reece Soukoroff and Olds Grizzlys forward Riley Smith dropped off the list after being ranked mid-season.
“The AJHL is a really good league with a lot of great hockey players in it. So being recognized as the only skater out of it is a pretty big honour,” said Pasichnuk.
The young defenceman was turning heads all season long by keeping up the torrid scoring pace he started back at the beginning of the season going. His seven goals and 14 assists through 12 games in October allowed him to snag the AJHL Player of the Month honours and he did slow down from there.
“I don’t think my year could have gone any better. Everything went right for me, from my point total, to winning the World Junior A Challenge, to playing in the CJHL Top Prospects game, it has all been great,” said Pasichnuk.
Pasichnuk threw himself into the league spotlight on Oct. 3 by notching a hat trick against the Calgary Canucks at the AJHL Showcase in Camrose. The event is attended by hundreds of scouts from across the NHL and NCAA and Pasichnuk put himself on their radar.
Two months away from the draft Pasichnuk says he has been in talks with scouts from “five or six teams” who are really interested in the Bonnyville defender.
Although the interested and hype has surrounded him all year long, he isn’t heading into the June 24-25 draft with any expectations of being selected.
“I am not expecting anything because the draft is a weird thing. There have been players who have been ranked in the third round that haven’t been drafted and guys that aren’t even ranked that do get drafted,” said Pasichnuk.
Whether or not he gets selected, the former Pontiac will be taking his talents to Tempe, Arizona next season to suit up with the Arizona State Sun Devils alongside his brother Steenn Pasichnuk.
He leaves Bonnyville after notching an impressive 28 goals and 95 points in 110 games as a member of the Jr. A Pontiacs.
“Anything can happen at the draft,” said Pasichnuk. “If I do hear my name called it is going to be a day to remember for me and my family that is for sure.”