A Flin Flon-born major junior player is continuing to receive buzz from NHL scouts.
Justin Lies was named to the NHL Central Scouting rankings released Jan. 12, ranking 175th out of all draft-eligible skaters in North American leagues. Lies, born and raised in Flin Flon and a Flin Flon Minor Hockey product, is in his third season with the WHL's Vancouver Giants. Lies was the only member of the Giants to be included on the list.
Back in October, Lies was ranked by the Central Scouting Service (CSS) as a "C" prospect - that grade, according to the CSS, "indicates a 4th-5th-6th round candidate" in the biggest league in the world's annual seven-round draft.
The 18-year-old forward started the season strong, putting up four points and two goals in his first five games with the Giants. Lies' season took a turn when he injured his hand in November, keeping him out of the lineup for over a month. So far this season, Lies has eight points in 19 games.
If selected in this summer's NHL draft, Lies would become the first Flin Flonner picked by an NHL club in more than 25 years. The last player from Flin Flon selected was Matt Davidson, who went to the Buffalo Sabres in the fourth round back in 1995.
Growing up, Lies played with Flin Flon Minor Hockey programs, as well as the Norman Wolves U15 AAA team. He and his younger brother Joey, also from Flin Flon and a prospect of the WHL's Swift Current Broncos, hold most of the Wolves' scoring records - both also captained the Wolves. Lies moved from Flin Flon at age 14 to play at Winnipeg's Rink Hockey Academy and played for Manitoba at the 2018 Canada Winter Games.
Also named to the North American scouting list were three SJHL players, two from the Humboldt Broncos and one Notre Dame Hound. Bronco forward Matt Perkins was ranked 117th on the list, while his teammate, SJHL leading scorer Connor McGrath, was ranked 128th. The third entrant is Princeton Tigers commit Kevin Anderson, representing the Hounds, who was ranked 119th.
No players have been drafted directly from the SJHL to the NHL since 2005, when both Brennan Turner and Kris Fredheim of the Notre Dame Hounds were selected in the fifth and sixth rounds of the draft. Turner never cracked an NHL roster, while Fredheim played three games with the Minnesota Wild.
Forward Jaden Schwartz, also a former Hound, was picked 14th overall in 2010 after playing in the SJHL as a teen and moving to American leagues and college hockey.