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

HOCKEY

NHL draft: Surrey’s Justin Sourdif picked by Florida Panthers

The 2002-born centre plays for WHL Vancouver Giants

** This story has been updated

Justin Sourdif’s name was called by Florida Panthers during the NHL Entry Draft on Wednesday (Oct. 7), 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 next day.

The 2002-born Sourdif, 18, plays for the WHL Vancouver Giants, for whom the Boundary Park-area resident scored 54 points during the COVID-shortened 2019-20 season.

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.

“I could see him going anywhere from about 35-65, frankly,” remarked J.D. Burke, Vancouver-based editor of Elite Prospects, prior to the draft.

“He’s really hard to pin down. He has his believers, but other than a strong February, it was not the draft-year many wanted from him or anticipated for him.”

After his name was called by the Panthers, Sourdif and family celebrated as a camera captured the moment for TV broadcasts of the NHL draft.

(Story continues below tweets)

“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. “His work ethic and competitiveness are going to serve him well in the seasons to come and we’re excited to work alongside the Florida Panthers to help further his development.”

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.”

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.”

• RELATED STORY: Stanley Cup win for Surrey-based NHL scout who coached in North Delta.

On thehockeywriters.com, they have this to say: “When you watch Justin Sourdif play, the first things you notice are his relentless work ethic, hockey IQ, and 200-foot game. Combine that with his penchant for driving the net and planting himself there no matter the consequences, you get a forward that could one day become an impact player in the NHL.”

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.

This year’s entry draft was supposed to be held in Montreal in June, but those plans are parked in favour of an online event this week, following the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Sourdif spent the bulk of the 2017/18 season with Valley West Hawks (now Giants) of the BC Major Midget League before joining the WHL Giants. Prior to his time with Valley West, he played at Delta Hockey Academy.

In the fall of 2018 he was among 66 players named to Canada’s three squads for the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, a tournament played in New Brunswick.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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