Nico Myatovic is arguably the most improved player on the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Central Scouting has taken notice of the 18-year-old forward from Prince George.
In the fall of last year, Myatovic was listed as just a C prospect (4th to 6th round) among North American skaters for the 2023 NHL Draft on June 28th and 29th in Nashville.
In January of this year, he was upgraded in the mid-term rankings to 2nd round and 47th overall.
Last month on April 18th, the final Central Scouting rankings came out and Myatovic was listed on the first page, first round, 26th overall among North American skaters, just one spot behind Koehn Ziemmer of the Prince George Cougars (25th) and five spots back of another Cougars forward Riley Heidt (21st).
Myatovic isn’t one of the high-profile players on a stacked Thunderbirds roster but he is the type of player one needs in order to win a championship.
The former Cariboo Cougar played a key role in helping Seattle beat the Winnipeg ICE four games to one for the Ed Chynoweth Cup.
In Game 5, he scored the Cup-clinching goal early in the third period on a penalty shot that at the time gave the Thunderbirds a 2-0 lead.
NICO MYATOVIC CASHES IN ON THE PENALTY SHOT!
The @SeattleTBirds go up by two early in the third period!#NHLDraft | #WHLChampionship | #FeedingtheFuture pic.twitter.com/HQtR6sQjPe
— The WHL (@TheWHL) May 20, 2023
They went on to win the game 3-1 with Myatovic a +2.
2023 #WHLChampionship Post-Game:
🎙️ Forward Nico Myatovic
🗣️ “At the end of the day, we’re all champions here.”@SeattleTbirds | #NHLDraft#FeedingTheFuture pic.twitter.com/EAlxmAjU3j
— The WHL (@TheWHL) May 20, 2023
In Game 4, he was also trusted in an important spot, being on the ice with his team up 3-2 in the crucial dying seconds of the game.
Myatovic ended the drama with an empty net goal in a 4-2 victory.
His offence has improved but so has his play in his own end therefore being relied upon to shut down the opposing team with the game on the line.
“It helps my confidence knowing they have that type of trust in me and there are so many elite players that could do that role too. So, to know, I am out there in those situations is pretty good and I am accepting the role I have been given just like every other player has accepted their role,” said Myatovic in an interview with Brendan Pawliw of myprincegeorgegnow.com.
PG’s Nico Myatovic gearing up for star-studded Memorial Cup with @SeattleTbirds | #cityofpg https://t.co/BHsXHHMGd1 #PrinceGeorge #northernbc #MemorialCup #Kamloops #BestintheWest pic.twitter.com/QT3ZC0BD8s
— My Prince George Now (@mypgnow) May 25, 2023
Myatovic of PG scores game-winner for WHL champion @SeattleTbirds https://t.co/yjwWEPUyyn | #CityOfPG #PrinceGeorge
— My Prince George Now (@mypgnow) May 20, 2023
Myatovic was a 6th-round pick in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft (now known as the Prospects Draft) just 119th overall.
Not many players picked that low earn a regular spot on a WHL team.
During the COVID-19 season in 2020-21, Myatovic got to play 12 games, scoring three goals and he was a +1.
As a 17-year-old, he became a regular in 2021-22, recording 28 points (four goals) in 67 games to go along with a +11 rating.
This season, the 6’3, 180-pound Myatovic stepped up and the scouts were watching.
He played all 68 regular season games and was a member of the 30-30 club, 30 goals and 30 assists for 60 points and a whopping + 43.
The durable Myatovic has played in all 19 Seattle playoff games this year recording four goals, three assists and a +8.
Last year in the playoffs he notched eight points in 25 games and + four, helping the Thunderbirds to the Western Conference championship, losing the final series in six games to the Edmonton Oil Kings.
With this being late May and hockey over for most players, perhaps the best is yet to come for Myatovic.
He will play with Seattle at the Memorial Cup in Kamloops before likely hearing his name called at the NHL Draft.
P.G. hockey fans will be paying attention to the four-team tournament that features the best junior hockey teams from around the country.
They have someone to cheer for, a Prince George minor hockey product that is blossoming in front of our very own eyes at the best possible time.
View this post on Instagram
Memorial Cup schedule:
Round-Robin – Game 1 – Friday, May 26 – Québec vs. Kamloops (6 p.m. PT)
Round-Robin – Game 2 – Saturday, May 27 – Seattle vs. Peterborough (3 p.m. PT)
Round-Robin – Game 3 – Sunday, May 28 – Kamloops vs. Peterborough (3 p.m. PT)
Round-Robin – Game 4 – Monday, May 29 – Seattle vs. Québec (6 p.m. PT)
Round-Robin – Game 5 – Tuesday, May 30 – Peterborough vs. Québec (6 p.m. PT)
Round-Robin – Game 6 – Wednesday, May 31 – Kamloops vs. Seattle (6 p.m. PT)
Tie-Breaker (*if necessary) – Thursday, June 1 (6 p.m. PT)
Semi-Final – Friday, June 2 (7 p.m. PT)
Final – Sunday, June 4 (4 p.m. PT)
FROM THE QUOTE RACK:
Tom Brady has reached an agreement to buy an ownership stake in the Las Vegas Raiders. I wonder how many long-time Raiders fans are thinking “Tuck him?
*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California
The LA Lakers were swept by the Denver Nuggets, in large part, because of 38-year-old LeBron James having to carry most of the load by himself. Teammate Anthony Davis was like Whack-a-Mole–you never knew where or when he would show up.
*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California
According to Ipsos Reid, nearly half of Canadians are within $200 a month of being unable to pay their bills. And that’s just CFL players.
*Comedy writer RJ Currie of Winnipeg
The Panthers pulled off another surprise by eliminating the Hurricanes in four straight in the NHL Eastern Conference Final. Even Neil Diamond said, “Sweep Carolina.”
Hartley Miller is the news and sports supervisor plus morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97fm. After growing up in Winnipeg, he has lived in Prince George for the last 44 years and completed his 10th season as the radio colour commentator on the Prince George Cougars home games. Hartley is the author of You Don’t Say (sports quotes).