Amidst a season of expectation for the Kamloops Blazers, three of their young players were recently listed in midterm scouting rankings for the 2022 NHL Draft.
Blazers defenseman Mats Lindgren, along with forwards Fraser Minten and Matthew Seminoff were all slotted in the top 50 North American skaters according to NHL Central Scouting.
Defenseman Mats Lindgren is the first Blazer who appears on the list of North American skaters at no. 30.
A first-round pick of Kamloops in the 2019 Western Hockey League Draft, seventh overall, Lindgren already shows ability as a skilled puck-moving defenseman. After registering a goal and 10 points in 20 games as a rookie in 2020-21, Lindgren has a pair of goals and 20 points in 31 games so far this season.
Matthew Somma, a scout with Smaht Scouting, calls the product of North Vancouver, BC one of the top defensive prospects in the WHL. Somma adds in this report, “Lindgren combines puck skills with high end hockey sense to make him one of the league’s more intriguing prospects for the upcoming draft. There are few players in the WHL that can play with as much skill as Lindgren can.”
Lindgren’s father, also named Mats, played seven seasons in the NHL as a center for the Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders and Vancouver Canucks, scoring 54 goals and 128 points in 387 games. The elder Lindgren also represented Sweden at the 1993 and 1994 World Junior Championship, tallying five goals and nine points and helping Sweden claim silver in his second trip to the tournament.
Lindgren was interviewed in this WHL video last season.
Centerman Fraser Minten comes in at no. 34 among North American skaters.
The 17-year old from Vancouver, BC stands 6’1’’, 185 lbs and has been finding his scoring touch during his second WHL season. As a 16-year old rookie last season, Minten netted four goals with 18 points in 20 games in the abbreviated 2020-21 campaign. Minten has 23 points so far this season, but has upped his goal scoring, turning on the red light 10 times in 30 games.
FC Hockey scout Derek Neumeier said in a report that Minten is “a solidly built center who relies more on smarts and consistency than raw talent to be effective.”
Minten has spent time as the centerman on the Blazers checking line this season, taking defensive zone face offs and killing penalties, and has also seen ice time on the powerplay.
The third and final Blazer who made the midterm report card is forward Matthew Seminoff at no. 50.
The 18-year old winger is probably the most dynamic player of the three at this point in time, leading the Blazers in scoring with 15 goals and 33 points in 30 games on the season. Seminoff is also the most seasoned of the bunch, having recently skated in his 100th career WHL game, totalling 31 goals and 64 points in that time and seeing marked improvement in his production each season.
Matt Hnatiuk, a scout with Draft Prospects Hockey, called the 5’11’’ product of Coquitlam, BC “a diligent skater and a better puck carrier,” and added that Seminoff “could be a spark plug in the opponent’s end with his speed and his release on his wrist shot.”
Seminoff was a fifth-round selection of the Blazers in the 2018 WHL Draft out of the Burnaby Winter Club. It is safe to say already, that pick was a savvy choice by general manager Matt Bardsley and the Blazers scouting staff.
If the Blazers are to take a run at the Ed Chynoweth Cup and a Memorial Cup appearance this spring, they will need contributions up and down their lineup.
Although they still hold down second place in the Western Conference, the team has stumbled in recent weeks going through a 4-7-1 stretch, which coincided with absences due to the World Junior Championship. The Blazers swung a pair of deals recently to bolster their depth, but will continue to look to their trio of draft prospects to shoulder more of the load going forward.