COH draft preview Lindstrom Iginla

William Douglas has been writing The Color of Hockey blog since 2012. Douglas joined in 2019 and writes about people of color in the sport. Today, he profiles players of color who are ranked by NHL Central Scouting for the 2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft June 28-29 at Sphere in Las Vegas. The first round will be June 28 (7 p.m. ET; ESPN, ESPN+, SN, TVAS) and Rounds 2-7 are June 29 (11 a.m. ET; ESPN+. NHLN, SN, SN1).

Cayden Lindstrom looked around the Edmonton Oilers dressing room at Amerant Bank Arena before Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final with three of the other top prospects in the 2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft and smiled.

“This is where I where I’ve wanted to be for a long time,” Lindstrom said. “It’s everything you kind of dream of as a kid.”

Lindstrom is one step closer to achieving that dream.

The 18-year-old forward of Medicine Hat of the Western Hockey League is one of at least 16 players of color in final ranking by NHL Central Scouting who’ll be waiting to hear their names called at the 2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft this weekend.

Lindstrom (6-foot-3, 213 pounds), who is Black and a member of the Driftpile Cree Nation, is ranked No. 3 among North American skaters by Central Scouting despite missing 36 games due to a broken hand and back issues. He had 46 points (27 goals, 19 assists) in 32 games prior to being injured and two points (one goal, one assist) and 17 shots on goal in four WHL playoff games. He had four points (two goals, two assists) in six games for Canada White at the 2023 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge and three points (two goals, one assist) in five games for Canada in the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, including Canada's first goal in a 3-2 overtime win against host Czechia in the gold medal game. 

Here are other players of color who could be selected in the 2024 draft, in ranking order:

Zayne Parekh, D, Saginaw (OHL), NHL Central Scouting: No. 5 (North American skaters)

Parekh (6-0, 178), the son of an Indian father and South Korean mother, was named Canadian Hockey League defenseman of the year after he led the Ontario Hockey League at the position and was tied for sixth among all scorers with 96 points (36 goals, 63 assists) in 66 games for Saginaw, including 34 power-play points (10 goals, 24 assists). The 18-year-old from Markham, Ontario, had 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in 13 playoff games for the Memorial Cup champions.

Tij Iginla, C, Kelowna (WHL), NHL Central Scouting: No. 9 (North American skaters)

The 17-year-old son of Hockey Hall of Fame forward Jarome Iginla led Kelowna with 47 goals and was second with 84 points and 11 power play goals in 64 games, and tied for the team lead with 15 points (nine goals, six assists) in 11 WHL playoff games. Iginla (6-0, 191) also had 12 points (six goals, six assists) in seven games for gold medal-winning Canada at the 2024 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.

Chase Wutzke, G, Red Deer (WHL), NHL Central Scouting: No. 9 (North American goalies)

Wutzke (6-2, 158) was 19-10-2 with a 2.82 goals-against average, .904 save percentage and one shutout in 36 games. He went 4-2-1 with a 2.48 GAA and .924 save percentage in seven WHL playoff games. The 17-year-old from Debden, Saskatchewan, is a member of the Metis Nation.  

Eric Emery, D, USA U-18 (USHL), NHL Central Scouting: No. 39 (North American skaters)

A dual Canada-U.S. citizen, Emery (6-3, 183) had 16 assists in 61 games for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team this season. He had six assists in seven games for the silver medal-winning United States at the 2024 IIHF World U-18 Championship. The 18-year-old Surrey, British Columbia, native is committed to the University of North Dakota in 2024-25.

Kevin He, LW, Niagara (OHL), NHL Central Scouting: No. 78 (North American skaters)

He (5-11, 181) could become the highest-drafted China-born player, surpassing Andong Song, who the New York Islanders selected in the sixth round (No. 172) of the 2015 draft.  The 18-year-old led Niagara in goals (31) and was second in points (53) in 64 games.

Aidan Park, C, Shattuck-St. Mary’s Prep (HIGH-MN), NHL Central Scouting: No. 91 (North American skaters) 

The 18-year-old from Playa Vista, California, the nephew of retired NHL forward and former South Korea men’s national team assistant Richard Park, had 93 points (30 goals, 63 assists) in 56 games for Shattuck-St. Mary’s and four points (three goals, one assist) for the United States at the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup tournament. Park (6-1, 184) also had four points (two goals, two assists) in eight postseason games for Green Bay of the United States Hockey League. 

Blake Montgomery, LW, Lincoln (USHL), NHL Central Scouting: No. 101 (North American skaters)

Montgomery (6-3, 180) was tied for first in goals (22) and was third in points (43) in 58 games for Lincoln. The 19-year-old, who is committed to the University of Wisconsin in 2025-26, is the younger brother of defenseman Bryce Montgomery, who was a sixth-round draft pick (No. 176) by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2021 and played for South Carolina of the ECHL last season, and son of Matthew Montgomery, who was an All-American defenseman for St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, an NCAA Division III school. 

Dalyn Wakely, C, North Bay (OHL), NHL Central Scouting: No. 116 (North American skaters)

Wakely (6-0, 198) was third in the OHL in scoring with 104 points (39 goals, 65 assists) in 66 games. The 20-year-old Ojibwe from the Curve Lake First Nation was the second-leading goal scorer in the OHL playoffs with 13 in 16 games.

Ty Henry, D, Erie (OHL), NHL Central Scouting: No. 129 (North American skaters)

Henry (6-2, 197) had seven assists in 54 games in his first full season in Erie. The 17-year-old from Montreal credits Hockey Equality, a nonprofit organization chaired by retired NHL player Anthony Stewart, with helping his development. 

Jaxsin Vaughan, RW, Regina (WHL), NHL Central Scouting: No. 150 (North American skaters)

Vaughan (6-1, 206) had 25 points (15 goals, 10 assists) in 59 games. The 18-year-old from Merritt, British Columbia, and his brother, Corbin, hope to be the first twins selected in the same draft since 2018. They are members of the Lower Nicola Indian Band, a Nlaka’pamux First Nations government in British Columbia.

Corbin Vaughan, D, Regina (WHL), NHL Central Scouting: No. 155 (North American skaters)

The eldest twin by less than a minute, Corbin Vaughan (6-0, 205) had eight points (four goals, four assists) in 33 games for Regina. He missed 31 games following surgery for a lower-body injury.

Carson Pilgrim, C, Warroad (HIGH-MN), NHL Central Scouting: No. 159 (North American skaters)

Pilgrim (5-11, 163) led Warroad in (32) and points (70) in 31 games this season and the 18-year-old captain was a Minnesota Mr. Hockey finalist. A member of the White Earth Nation, Pilgrim is committed to the University of North Dakota in 2025-26. 

Pavel McKenzie, LW, Moose Jaw (WHL), NHL Central Scouting: No. 176 (North American skaters)

McKenzie (6-0, 174) had 36 points (15 goals, 21 assists) in 63 games and five points (two goals, three assists) in 20 playoff games as a rookie. The 18-year-old is a member of the Cumberland House Cree Nation in Saskatchewan.

Sam McCue, LW, Owen Sound (OHL), NHL Central Scouting: No. 178 (North American skaters)

McCue (6-2, 187) had 37 points (23 goals, 14 assists) in 68 games with Peterborough and Owen Sound. The 18-year-old from Sudbury, Ontario, is a member of the Abenaki-Odanak First Nation.

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