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Cougars winger Ziemmer now considered potential NHL first-rounder

Prince George power forward moves up to NHL Central Scouting's list of 'A' prospects for 2023 NHL draft
pg cougars koehn ziemmer dec 15/21 1
Prince George Cougars forward Koehn Ziemmer has had cause celebrate many moments on the ice this season. Ziemmer received an upgrade rating Monday which bumped him to 'A' status , joining teammate Riley Heidt in the top group on NHL Central Scouting's Players To Watch list. Citizen file photo

Koehn Ziemmer has upgraded his hockey report card.

The Prince George Cougars winger has earned himself an ‘A’ grade on NHL Central Scouting’s Players To Watch list, moving himself up from ‘B status on the initial list was released a month ago.

Ziemmer, Kelowna Rockets forward Andrew Cristall and Tri-City Americans defenceman Lukas Dragicevic were all bumped up this week to an ‘A’ rating, joining seven other WHL players, including Cougars centre Riley Heidt, projected as first-round picks in the 2023 NHL draft June 28-29 in Nashville.

Ziemmer, in his third WHL season since being selected fourth overall by the Cougars in the 2018 WHL Prospects Draft, has emerged as a top scorer in the league. The native of Mayerthorpe, Alta., who will celebrate his 18th birthday on Dec. 8, has 15 goals and 20 assists for 35 points in 21 games – tied with three others for second in the WHL scoring race, one point ahead of Heidt as the most prolific Cougar pointgetter.

“Koehn has had a real good start to his season and shown he is among the elite scorers in the WHL,” John Williams of NHL Central Scouting told nhl.com.

“He’s a very strong player physically, strong on the puck and on his feet. He’s a hard guy for defenders to handle in tight situations, makes plays in all zones and can score. He’s a potential power forward type of player.”

Cristall, a native of Burnaby, also has 15 goals and 20 assists as the Rockets’ leading scorer.

“Andrew has been an offensive catalyst in Kelowna this year. He’s very gifted offensively, good on the power play, has great vision and knows how to score,” said Williams.

Dragicevic, a Richmond native, has six goals and 22 assists to lead Tri-City in scoring and ranks second among WHL defencemen with 28 points. He’s on a 14-game point streak.

Lukas has been on a tear of late,” said Williams. “He’s very smart and poised with the puck and he’s very good on the power play. He can distribute the puck really well and offers a real good shot from the point too.”

The other WHL players on the ‘A’ list are Vancouver Giants F Samuel Honzek, Regina Pats F Connor Bedard, Winnipeg ICE F Zach Benson, Brandon Wheat Kings G Carson Bjarnason, Wheat Kings F Nate Danielson, and Moose Jaw Warriors F Brayden Yager.

Yager and the Warriors (13-8-0-0, fourth in Eastern Conference) will be in Prince George on Wednesday night to face the Cougars (12-9-0-0, fourth in Western Conference) at CN Centre (7 p.m. start).

 

 

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