Surrey’s Justin Sourdif celebrates a goal with Vancouver Giants of the WHL. (File photo courtesy Vancouver Giants)

HOCKEY

NHL draft: Vancouver Giants’ Justin Sourdif picked by Florida Panthers

The 2002-born centre grew up in Surrey

** This story has been updated

Justin Sourdif’s name was called by Florida Panthers during the NHL Entry Draft, 87th overall in the third round.

The Surrey-raised pro hockey prospect was ranked 23rd among North American skaters in the draft, which got going with first-round picks on Tuesday (Oct. 6) and continued the following day.

The 2002-born Sourdif, 18, plays for the Langley-based WHL Vancouver Giants, for whom he scored 54 points during the COVID-shortened 2019-20 season.

“Couldn’t be happier to be a Panther,” Sourdif commented, thanking the NHL franchise “for giving me the opportunity to realize my lifelong dream.”

“I won’t disappoint,” he promised.

Heading into the draft, TSN’s Bob McKenzie ranked the right-shot centre as high as 32nd among prospects, Craig Button pinned Sourdif at 36th last January, while other analysts had him ranked lower.

Last November, Sourdif was among five WHL players given an “A” rating in NHL Central Scouting’s “Players to Watch” list for the 2020 NHL Draft, making him a projected first-round pick at the draft.

“Justin has played a big part in our team’s success over the past two seasons, and we couldn’t be happier to see him and his family celebrate this accomplishment together today,” said Giants GM Barclay Parneta.

Added Giants head coach Michael Dyck: “Justin is one of our top plus-minus players who goes to the hard areas and plays very well in traffic. As he gets bigger and stronger, his upside will only improve.”

(Story continues below tweets)

Elite Prospects had Sourdif ranked 54th in the draft.

“Sourdif has a powerful, hands-in-front release with occasional crafty placement,” says a post on eliteprospects.com. “He’s a legitimate long-range threat when he shoots. His off of the puck skating patterns, timing, and a nose for soft ice put him in the best possible shooting position. He’s a tremendously athletic player and skates with a low centre of gravity, allowing him to bulldoze through traffic.

Two other familiar names for Giants fans surfaced during the draft:

A former Vancouver Giants player, Lukas Svejkovsky, was selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Svejkovsky, ranked 108th,played parts of two seasons with the G-Men, in 2018 and 2019.

He is currently with the Medicine Hat Tigers.

Svejkovsky’s father, Jaroslav, was a first-round pick of the Capitals in 1996 and played 113 NHL games over four seasons.

The elder Svejkovsky spent several years as skills coach for the Giants.

Giants standout Cole Shephard was ranked 149th going into the draft, but didn’t get the call. Shephard has two more years of eligibility, and the betting is he will get snapped up in a future draft.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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