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“You get to have a special moment at home with friends and family who maybe couldn’t be there in a regular (entry draft) year,” said Zary. “With COVID-19, we’re going to still keep it safe. We’ll probably have 10 or 15 people over. There are so many people who helped me get to this point that you wish it could be more, but you have to be smart. You can’t have a 100-person gathering in your house.”
Zary should be the first player based on a team from B.C. to hear his name called in this year’s draft. The first round goes Tuesday (4 p.m., Sportsnet). Rounds two to seven are scheduled for Wednesday (8:30 a.m., Sportsnet).
The Blazers haven’t had a first rounder since defenceman Keaton Ellerby went No. 10 to the Florida Panthers in 2007.
Zary is a six-foot, 180-pound left-handed shot who had 38 goals, 86 points, and a plus-30 rating in 57 games with the Blazers when the WHL season was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He wound up fifth in league scoring.
His totals were a jump from the 24 goals, 67 points and plus-18 rating he had in 63 regular-season games in 2018-19 with the Blazers.
TSN’s Craig Button had Zary going No. 22 overall to the New York Rangers in the mock draft that he published on Friday. Button’s TSN colleague Bob McKenzie had Zary at No. 22 in June, while Button slotted Zary at No. 11 in March. Elite Prospects pegged Zary at No. 25 in their final rankings, while International Scouting Services put him at No. 15 in their last poll.