On Thursday afternoon, the National Hockey League released a list of 139 Canadian Hockey League players to watch for the upcoming 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas, Texas.

Among the 38 players to watch in the Western Hockey League, was Estevan's Cole Fonstad. In this months ranking, Fonstad was given a 'C' rating, indicating that he could be plucked up by an NHL franchise somewhere in rounds 4-6. In his second season with the Prince Albert Raiders, the 17-year-old has posted impressive numbers with 7 goals and 19 assists through 20 games so far.

In two seasons with the Estevan Bantam AA Bruins, Fonstad lit the Saskatchewan Bantam AA Hockey League on fire, amassing 71 goals and 62 assists in 60 games. Fonstad's rise to success comes as no surprise to his former coach Tom Copeland, who said that Cole eats, sleeps and breathes the game.

Cole FonstadFonstad in action with the Estevan Bantam AA Bruins during the 2014-15 season.

"He's one hundred percent a hockey player," Copeland said of his former player. "I don't know how to explain it, he's a special kid and he's proving that right now. He's been off to a tremendous start, I got an opportunity to watch him play a couple weeks ago in Moose Jaw and he's playing very well."

"The big thing for Cole is the move to wing, it's allowed him to show off his play making skills and certainly you see that with every pass, it's spot on."

Should Fonstad hear his name called at the 2018 NHL Draft, it will be the first time in 17 years that a young man born in Estevan will hear their name called at the podium. In 2001, Joel Stepp was selected by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in the 3rd round, 69th overall. The same year, Dustin Johner was taken by the Florida Panthers in the 6th round, 169th overall.

It's safe to say that come June 22-23 of 2018, family, friends and hockey fans in Estevan will be keeping an even closer eye on Cole Fonstad.

Click here to see the full list of WHL players to watch.

 

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