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Seattle top prospect Barzal sustains knee injury

by Mike G. Morreale

Seattle Thunderbirds forward Mathew Barzal, an A-rated skater on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list for the 2015 NHL Draft, will be out approximately 4-6 weeks after having knee surgery performed on Nov. 13, according to the team.

Barzal, who is second on the team with seven goals and 18 points, is in his second season with the Thunderbirds. He has 21 goals and 72 points in 75 career games. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound right-handed center, who has not played since a 3-2 shootout victory against the Red Deer Rebels on Nov. 4, required surgery for a fractured kneecap.

Seattle general manager Russ Farwell told via email that "prior to a practice in Saskatoon on our East Division road trip, Matt was roughhousing with some of his teammates in the locker room and tripped over a stick."

The Thunderbirds have lost four of the past five games and are eighth in the Western Conference of the Western Hockey League with 21 points (9-10-3).

The first pick in the 2012 bantam draft is considered by many to be the best player in the WHL this season.

"He creates chances every shift he's out there," NHL Central Scouting's John Williams said. "I think he'll be more of a playmaker. He's a good possession guy and patient, creates time and space with his feet to give himself that extra half-second to find that open guy. He's an every-situational guy."


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