Friday, 24 June 2011

Liston Curbing Draft Expectations

Liam Liston is hoping for the best heading into this weekend's NHL Entry Draft.

Liston was ninth among North American goaltenders in the final rankings by the NHL Central Scouting Service.

"Throughout the course of the hockey season, it's something that you have to try and put in the back of your mind," said Liston earlier this week, "Once the season came to an end, you can finally start to look ahead to this weekend and think about the possibilities. I'm excited to see what the weekend has in store for me."

Liston had a 3.77 goals against average and .880 save percentage in 41 games with the Wheat Kings last season and also saw his year end prematurely thanks to a concussion suffered during the first round of the playoffs.

Liston was ranked fourth in the mid-term rankings in January, showing his stock may have dropped during the course of the WHL season.

That has tempered expectations for Liston heading into this weekend, but the St. Albert, Alberta product is taking it all in stride.

"Regardless of what happens, the sun is still going to come up the next day and you have to get back to work," said Liston earlier this week, "This would definitely be a cherry on top for my first year in the Western Hockey League, but I'm still going to approach the rest of the summer the same way."

What might help Liston is his performance before a gaggle of scouts at the CHL Top Prospects Game in January, where he stopped all 18 shots he faced in helping Team Orr to a 7-1 victory over Team Cherry.

Unlike most prospects this weekend, Liston says he doesn't plan on spending his Saturday in front of the television or computer waiting for his name to be called.

"I think I'll probably tape it and watch it a day later, depending on what happens. It's not something I'm going to fret over," says Liston, "I'll keep my phone on and, hopefully, wherever I am, I'll get a good phone call."

Liston also had the opportunity to write a draft-related blog for Sportsnet leading up to this weekend, which you can find here.

Brandon has had a player chosen in the NHL Draft for six consecutive years, and nine of the last ten seasons.

Chaff...the last Wheat Kings' goaltender selected in the NHL Draft was Tyler Plante, who went in the second round to Florida in 2005...a Wheat Kings' record could be equaled this year at the NHL Draft. Brandon had four players selected in the first round of the 1979 Draft, an accomplishment that could be matched by the Memorial Cup Champion Saint John Sea Dogs this year.

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