Viper centre Brett Stapley has been ranked a C-level prospect by NHL Central Scouting. (Morning Star File)

NHL puts Viper centre on notice

NHL Central Scouting has ranked Vernon Viper centre Brett Stapley a C-level prospect for next draft

NHL Central Scouting has put Vernon Viper centre Brett Stapley on notice.

The pro bird-dog bureau unveiled its players-to-watch list this week and of the 18 Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) players included, eight are from the BCHL.

Stapley is listed as a C-level prospect, meaning a possible fourth-, fifth- or sixth-round selection in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, June 22-23 at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

Stapley, who turns 19 in February, is a Campbell River product in his third year with the Vipers. He is fourth in league scoring with 14 goals and 33 points in 25 games.

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound dangler has locked up a scholarship with the University of Denver Pioneers for next season. He rang up 138 points in his final Bantam season with North Shore Winter Club.

“He’s creative, he’s quick, he’s shifty and he sees the ice well,” said Marty Stein, a Vernon-based scout with the Detroit Red Wings. “He’s going to a good program in Denver; they won it last year.”

Stapley and the Vipers visit the Merritt Centennials tonight.

There were just five BCHLers listed on the Central Scouting report published in early October. Added for this latest ranking besides Stapley are Langley Rivermen forward Angus Crookshank and Trail Smoke Eater defenceman Seth Barton. They are both rated C prospects.

BCHLers rated again by Central Scouting include Vernon’s Powell Connor, a rugged sophomore d-man with the Chilliwack Chiefs. He’s a C lister.

Connor, 17, has one goal and 14 points with the Chiefs. The former Okanagan Major Midget Rocket pocketed 16 points in his rookie season.

Penticton defenceman Jonny Tychonick and Wenatchee D Slava Demin are listed as a B-level prospects, meaning a possible second- or third-round selection.

Langley F Brendan Budy and Nanaimo Clippers D Max Crozier are rated C-level prospects.

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