After being passed over at back-to-back NHL Entry Drafts, Kootenay Ice forward Zak Zborosky is getting an opportunity to prove scouts wrong.
The 19-year-old WHL veteran was one of 31 players invited to the 2016 New York Rangers Prospect Development camp, joining former Kootenay Ice standout goaltender and Rangers prospect Mackenzie Skapski.
Zborosky — a 6-foot, 174-pound native of Regina — heads into his final season of WHL eligibility as a free agent in search of a professional contract after being overlooked at the 2015 and 2016 NHL Entry Drafts.
The speedy winger was on the radar of NHL scouts ahead of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, landing on a preliminary watch list of NHL Central Scouting [CSS] early in the 2014-15 campaign.
“We think [Zborosky] is poised to breakout offensively,” said Dan Marr, NHL director of Central Scouting, at the time of Zborosky’s appearance on the CSS radar. “He’s paid his dues. He is a skilled forward. He’s got the skating and the hockey sense to generate some offense for the team… We know he’s a decent play-maker with a good shot.
“We think he has the potential to continue to develop as a skill forward and maybe add a little power-forward element to his game.”
The 2014-15 season didn’t quite produce the breakout many NHL scouts anticipated, as Zborosky managed 18 goals and 40 points through 72 games.
Fast-forward to the 2015-16 season, relied upon heavily by his team, Zborosky showed flashes of the potential Marr described. In 58 contests, Zborosky eclipsed the 30-goal plateau, managing 32 markers to go with 36 assists and a career-high 68 points.
Rangers Prospect Development Camp runs from June 27 through July 1 at the MSG Training Centre in New York.
A number of WHL players will take to the ice, including forwards Reid Duke (Brandon Wheat Kings; invite), Ryan Gropp (Seattle Thunderbirds; 2015 — second round draft pick), Brad Morrison (Prince George Cougars; 2015 — fourth round), Ty Ronning (Vancouver Giants; 2016 — seventh round) and defenceman Sergey Zborovskiy (Regina Pats; 2015 — third round).
Skapski, an Ice alumnus, was a sixth-round selection of the Rangers at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft and turned pro to start the 2014-15 season.