Maine Hockey Journal

A pair of Maine natives ranked by NHL Central Scouting

South Portland native Jon Gillies help guide the USA U-18 team to a win over Russia (Photo: Jeff White)

At the end of the day, they are just rankings.

That’s the approach South Portland native Jon Gillies is taking when it comes to the NHL Draft rankings.

The NHL Central Scouting released their final rankings for the upcoming draft in Pittsburgh on Monday and Gillies is the sixth ranked North American goaltender.

“It feels good,” said Gillies, who is in his second season with the Indiana Ice of the USHL. “Obviously, I dropped two places, but it’s still a list. I am obviously honored to be on it especially being in the top ten. It’s pretty special with all the great goalies that are in this draft.”

The 6-5, 218-pound, goaltender has two more regular season games left, but has amassed a 29-11-9 record with a 2.78 goals against average and a .918 save percentage this season.

“I went through a little rough patch in playing so many games. I got a little bit fatigued,” Gillies said. “I was getting overwhelmed with everything with school and stuff like that. It’s been a learning experience all year. It’s something I had to go through and now I am ready to finish out the season strong.”

The Ice currently sit in second place in the Eastern Conference and have locked up a playoff berth.

Gillies, who decommitted from Northeastern two weeks ago, has been enjoying going through the recruitment process all over again.

“It’s been fun,” he said. “It’s a little different this time since I am older and dealing with more people first hand instead of going through my dad or adviser. It’s a fun process. I find it entertaining.”

He still hasn’t made a decision quite yet.

“Pretty much I am down between the Quebec (Remparts) and the (University of) Notre Dame right now,” Gillies said. “If any other situation a rises, obviously, I will peruse those, but right now those are the two (options) I am deciding between.”

Another Maine native was also ranked by NHL Central Scouting as Cumberland’s Brian Hart was ranked 56th among North American skaters, which is where he was expecting to see his name.

“It was definitely where I was expecting in that area to be,” said Hart, who played for Phillips Exeter Academy this season and will be attending Harvard next season. “It was pretty much the same place where I was earlier in the year.”

This season he had 30 goals and 32 assists as Phillips Exeter fell in the semifinals of the New England Prep League.

“Our team goal was obviously to win the New England Championship,” Hart added. “I hurt my wrist late in the final month. That hurt, but it was a fun year.”

Hart is expecting to get an invitation to attend the NHL Scouting combine in Toronto in May where he knows NHL teams will ask him about his wrist.

“I have been working with (Adviser) Garry Prolman and Paul Evans,” he said. “They went through the (combine) a couple years ago with Brian Dumoulin and they are pretty informed on how the interviews will go.”

In addition to rehabbing his wrist, he has been working on getting stronger in the lower body for the upcoming season.

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