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McKenzie: Interest in Leveille growing

Bob McKenzie
4/7/2008 9:35:27 AM
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NHL scouts and management types will tonight be flocking to Thorold, Ont., -- just as they have been for the past couple of weeks to St. Catharines – to get what could be their final look at one of the rising stars of this year's NHL entry draft.

His name is Daultan Leveille, a 17-year-old speedster who plays for the St. Catharines Falcons of the Golden Horseshoe Jr. B League.

A few months ago, the kid who is now being billed as one of the fastest skaters in the draft was barely on the radar screen of most NHL teams, but now he's looking more and more like a solid first-round pick for the 2008 draft.

Leveille is listed at 6-feet, 160 pounds, but has only recently gone through a growth spurt of several inches. That's when pro interest picked up in a big way.

On any given night in St. Catharines recently, scouts from 10 to 15 NHL teams have been there to watch Leveille, who will attend Michigan State University next season.

And Leveille has not disappointed.

In spite of a leg injury that is limiting his explosive speed, Leveille has 12 goals and 28 points in 15 playoff games.

None of the goals were bigger than the game-winner in overtime on Friday night, when the Falcons evened their GHL championship series with Thorold at three games apiece, setting up tonight's Game 7 finish in Thorold.

If the Falcons win this game, NHL scouts will continue to get a good look at Leveille as the winner of tonight's game moves on to the Sutherland Cup round-robin provincial championship for Jr. B teams. But if Thorold should win, Leveille's season will be over.

''He may well be the fastest skater in this year's (NHL) draft,'' one NHL scout said. ''He has a lot of skill. He sort of came out of nowhere and now everyone is rushing to see him.''

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