Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League

Four SJHLers land on NHL Central Scouting list

~ written by Jamie Neugebauer

Four Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League alumni were named to the final National Hockey League Central Scouting rankings ahead of this summer’s draft.

Nolan Allan, who started this past campaign with the La Ronge Ice Wolves, tops the list at No. 40, while Yorkton Terriers’ alum Ryan McCleary is at 141,  former Melville Millionaire Landon Kosior at 168, and Estevan Bruins’ alum Max Wanner at 223; all among North American skaters.

Allan, who also recently won a gold medal for Canada at the 2021 IIHF World Under-18 Hockey Championship, scored five points in five games to start the year with the Ice Wolves as a loan player from the Western Hockey League’s Prince Albert Raiders.

A 6-foot-2, 195-pound defender, Allan has also represented Canada at the Under-17 level and was a big part of the  Saskatoon Blazers U18s that made a run to the provincial final in 2018-19.

McCleary,  a 6-foot-2, 180-pound defenceman, began the season with Terriers before joining the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League, and has parlayed a seven-point, 18-game year into a No. 141 overall ranking among North American skaters on the National Hockey League Central Scouting’s final player list before this summer’s draft.

A native of Swift Current, SK, the Terriers picked McCleary in the fourth round, 38th overall in the 2018 Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League player draft out his hometown Broncos U15 AAs.

Though only a 2003-born defender, Yorkton head coach and general manager Matt Hehr had McCleary playing in all situations to start the shortened 2020-21 SJHL campaign, and his work earned him the recognition of a spot at the SJHL Virtual Showcase earlier this year.

“He definitely deserves it,” Hehr said.

“He works extremely hard and is dedicated to making himself better. He was always the last guy on the ice and doing everything he could to be the best player and teammate he could. We are extremely proud of his accomplishment and success.”

Kosior, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound defenceman, scored six points in six games with the Millionaires this past SJHL season and helped lead the Tisdale Trojans U18 AAAs to the 2019 Telus Cup (U-18 National Championship) bronze medal.

The Regina native already has 85 WHL games for his Prince Albert Raiders under his belt.

“Landon is an outstanding character,” said Mils head coach and general manager Mike Rooney.

“He’s a strong student of the game, and (owns) a good puck-moving transitional game. He’s very coachable, and very dedicated, and even after our league shut down he continued to travel to Melville to train on ice as he prepared to return to the WHL.”

Wanner, also a defender, played in two games a call-up for the Bruins in 2019-2020 from his Moose Jaw Warriors U18s and impressed while playing in 17 of the WHL Moose Jaw Warriors 24 games at the Subway WHL Hub in Regina this March and April.

You can find the full rankings here.