The National Hockey League’s Central Scouting bureau released their first edition of the Players to Watch on Tuesday morning ahead of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, featuring four Penticton Vees.
Defensemen Jack Bar, Jason Marsella and Owen Murray were included on the list as well as Vees captain and forward, Fin Williams. Bar received a ‘B’ grade, one of two BC Hockey League players to receive the grade while Marsella, Murray and Williams are ranked as ‘C’ skaters heading into the season.
Bar, 18, is entering his first season with the Vees, having accumulated 2 goals and 3 assists for 5 points in 9 games played during the current Okanagan Cup tournament. The 6’2”, 194-pound blue liner spent each of the last two seasons playing at St. Andrew’s college, where the Newmarket, Ontario native suited up in 122 career games, scoring 34 goals and adding 57 assists for 91 points during that span. Bar is committed to play his collegiate hockey at Harvard University.
Marsella, 17, comes to Penticton after playing with Avon Old Farms in the United States High School Prep circuit a year ago. The Greenwich, Connecticut native posted 3 goals and 13 assists for 16 points in 27 games a year ago while the 5’10”, 180-pound rearguard has registered a goal in 6 Okanagan Cup games with the Vees. Marsella is set to attend Yale University after his Junior hockey career.
Murray, 17, has many accolades in his young Junior hockey career, playing two seasons with the Portage Terriers in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. The Decker, Manitoba product was a CJHL Rookie of the Year finalist in 2019 while being named the MJHL Rookie of the year. The 5’9”, 180-pound defender posted 13 goals and 54 assists for 65 points in 85 games with Portage and was also named to Team Canada West at the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge and is committed to play his collegiate hockey at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
Williams, 17, was named captain of the Vees just ahead of the Okanagan Cup tournament, while producing 3 goals and 4 assists for 7 points in 9 games. The North Vancouver, BC product is a BCHL champion, winning the league crown with the Prince George Spruce Kings during the 2018/19 season and posted 11 goals and 20 assists for 30 points in the following year, his first full season in the BCHL. The 6’0”, 190-pound forward has set his sights on the University of Michigan for his collegiate hockey career.
In total, the BCHL has seven players who appeared on the Players to Watch list, including Chilliwack’s Aryton Martino (‘B’ ranking) and Alex Teleguine (‘C’ ranking) along with West Kelowna’s Charles-Alexis Legault (‘C’ ranking). For the full list of Players to Watch from the NHL’s Central Scouting, click here.