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Kirby Dach, Dylan Cozens top players to watch in 2019 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game

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The players project to be top 10 picks in the 2019 NHL draft.

Lethbridge Hurricanes v Calgary Hitmen Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images

A future Blackhawks player may take the ice Wednesday for the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game at ENMAX Centrium in Red Deer, Alberta.

The game will feature 19 of the top 31 players in Central Scouting’s midterm ranking of North American skaters for this June’s NHL draft, which will be June 21-22 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.

Former NHL goaltender Kelly Hrudey will coach Team Bobby Orr and Team Don Cherry will be coached by Sportsnet’s “Hockey Night in Canada” host Ron MacLean. The game includes 15 players from the Ontario Hockey League and Western Hockey League, and 10 from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

In 2017, defenseman Henri Jokiharju was named the player of the game for Team Cherry before he was drafted in the first round by Chicago. The rookie has 12 assists in 37 NHL games this season for the Blackhawks, who sit in 27th place in the 31-team league with 45 points.

The top two players to watch in this year’s game are WHL centers Kirby Dach and Dylan Cozens, who rank No. 2 and 3, respectively, in midterm rankings behind Jack Hughes of the United States National Development Program. Dach will captain Team Orr, while Cozens wears the captain’s C for Team Cherry.

Dach (6-foot-3, 199 pounds) paces the Saskatoon Blades with 50 points (18 goals, 32 assists) in 43 games. He has great vision, passing and puckhandling skills, and can quarterback a power play.

Cozens (6-3, 181) is second in scoring with the Lethbridge Hurricanes at 58 points (25 goals, 33 assists) in 45 games. Nick Henry, a 2017 fourth-round draft pick by Colorado, leads Lethbridge in scoring at 65 points (18 goals, 47 assists). Cozens has a powerful and accurate right-handed shot, and great speed to pull away from defenders.

Cozens finished atop the overall standings in on-ice testing in the Sport Testing Combine Showcase on Tuesday. Here’s how he did:

First

  • Reaction with Puck
  • Grip Left
  • Grip Right

Second

  • 30-meter Forward Skate
  • Reaction
  • Transition Agility with Puck
  • Weave Agility

Third

  • Weave Agility with Puck
  • Broad Jump

The game will have four other players ranked in the top 10: No. 4 defenseman Bowen Byram of WHL Vancouver, No. 8 center Peyton Krebs of WHL Kootenay, No. 9 defenseman Thomas Harley of OHL Mississauga and No. 10 center Ryan Suzuki of OHL Barrie.

Krebs (5-11, 180) paces the Ice with 53 points (16 goals, 37 assists) in 44 games, while Suzuki (6 foot, 170) has 44 points (15 goals, 29 assists) in 41 contests. Suzuki was selected first overall in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection, and is the younger brother of Canadiens prospect Nick Suzuki (2017 first rounder by Vegas).

How to watch

What: CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game

When: 9 p.m. Wednesday

Where: ENMAX Centrium; Red Deer, Alberta

TV: NHL Network