Skip to content

Giants rising up the ranks, trying out in the big leagues

Foursome of local WHL players lauded for accomplishments this past season

Four of this year’s Vancouver Giants are garnering attention in the national hockey arena for their work on the ice this past season.

A pair of G-Men were signed to try out with American Hockey League affiliates, while another duo have been named to NHL central scouting’s final rankings for the 2024 NHL draft.

The NHL central scouting bureau announced that defenceman Colton Roberts and forward Tyler Thorpe are among the final list of top North American and international skaters and goalies.

The rankings were released Tuesday, April 16.

Roberts was the top-ranked Giant at 36th among North American Skaters, while Thorpe was listed 111th.

Roberts, a Maple Ridge native, finished his second full WHL season with 27 points in 62 games (7G-20A), second amongst Giants defencemen.

He was a standout at the 2024 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in January, when he registered a pair of primary assists, four shots on goal and a +3 rating in a 3-1 win for Team Red.

The 17-year-old had 15 power play points on the season and added an assist in five playoff games. He was also named the Giants high school scholastic player of the year this season.

Thorpe, from Richmond, was named the Giants most improved player this past season, after jumping from four goals in 48 games in his rookie season to 23 goals in 51 games in 2023-24.

Unfortunately, Thorpe suffered an upper-body injury on Feb. 10 after a skate cut his forearm, ending his season at 44 points (23G-21A), 163 shots on goal, 11 power play points and three shorthanded points in 51 games.

A total of 56 Western Hockey League (WHL) players were listed on the final central scouting rankings: 51 skaters plus five WHL goaltenders. This includes five WHL skaters who were ranked in the top-15 and 10 WHL skaters there were ranked in the top-32.

Topping the list amongst WHL representatives was Cayden Lindstrom (3rd, Medicine Hat Tigers), Barkley Catton (8th, Spokane Chiefs), Tij Iginla (9th, Kelowna Rockets), Carter Yakemchuk (11th, Calgary Hitmen), and Terik Parascak (15th, Prince George Cougars).

The 2024 draft is scheduled June 28 and 29. The NHL draft lottery – to determine the first 16 picks in the draft – will be announced at a later date.

RELATED: Giants knocked out of playoffs, wrap season


Signed for try outs with the big boys

Meanwhile, two other Giants, who are currently expected to play another season with the Langley-based franchise, have won tryouts with NHL affiliate teams.

Forward Connor Levis has been added to the Manitoba Moose roster on an Amateur Try-Out (ATO) agreement.

The Moose is the American Hockey League affiliate of the Winnipeg Jets, who selected Levis in the seventh round of the 2023 NHL entry draft, 210th overall.

Levis, 19, came over in a trade from the Kamloops Blazers at the 2023 WHL trade deadline, and went on to record 27 points in 28 games for the Giants (14G-13A). The Giants went 16-10-2 with Levis in the lineup.

In 65 games split between the Giants and Blazers in 2023-24, Levis tallied 55 points (24G-31A). The right-shot forward also posted three assists in five playoff games.

The Vancouver product has 178 career points (76G-102A) in 223 WHL games between Kamloops and Vancouver. Levis was a seventh-round pick (210th overall) of the Winnipeg Jets in the 2023 NHL draft.

Jaden Lipinski has been added to the Calgary Wranglers roster on an ATO.

The Wranglers are the American Hockey League affiliate of the Calgary Flames, who selected Lipinski in the fourth round of the 2023 NHL entry draft, 112th overall.

Lipinski was named a B.C. division’s second team all-star this season, as voted upon by WHL general managers.

He co-led the Giants in points with a career-high 66 on 24 goals and 42 assists.

The 6-foot-4 forward was also top-10 in the WHL in shorthanded points with six, and second in the WHL in face-off wins with 888.

His 57.4 per cent clip in the face-off circle was top-5 in the league. Lipinski co-led the Giants with three playoff points in five games.

Giants captain Sam Honzek, who was the Flames first-round pick, 16th overall, is also now in Calgary, but is day-to-day with an upper body injury. He signed his entry-level contract with the Flames last summer.

Honzek posted 10 goals and 31 points in 33 games this past season.

READ MORE: Outstanding Vancouver Giants players recognized at team individual awards