2011 Jets Draft Prospects

1st round pick Mark Scheifele (shy-fil-lee)

Here’s a preliminary look at the new recruits, with a statistical bias (since I haven’t really seen them play yet.)

Mark Scheifele: A similar story to last year’s 4th overall pick, Ryan Johansen in that he didn’t play in the CHL at age 16 as most top prospects inevitably do. (He was previously committed to Cornell University). Instead, his draft year was also his rookie year in the OHL. Thus, he was nowhere to be found in the top-30 prospects at the beginning of the year, but steadily shot up the rankings, after finishing second among all OHL rookies in points. However, it was his play at the Under-18 World Championships that really endeared him to scouts, as he led Team Canada forwards in scoring (6G, 2A in 7GP) and was named the top Canadian forward as selected by the coaching staff.

While a –22 rating is normally some cause for concern, it was actually quite good considering that his team was outscored 231-348 on the year, and the two players near him in scoring (presumably linemates for some part of the year) were –42 and –50. Scheifele is in fact a very heady player who plays both ends of the ice well, and at 6’3, 175, he’s still very much growing into his body. With 53 assists on the year, he appears to be more of a puck distributor, but his performance at the Under-18’s showed that he can also find the back of the net when the pressure is on. Continue reading

2011 NHL Mock Draft


***WILL BE LIVE AT THE DRAFT IN MINNESOTA ON FRIDAY***

After several weeks of anticipation, it’s finally time.

Some may wonder what the process is. One way to start is by looking at a team’s draft history – some teams have a clear preference for players out of Canadian junior hockey, others for US college hockey, and still others for European leagues. You can look at team needs – team ‘A’ badly needs a centre; team ‘B’ a defenceman. Or you can assume that teams will just take the ‘BPA’, or best player available – a strategy which becomes more arbitrary as you get further down the list. Continue reading

2011 NHL Draft – Scouting Reports

Highly skilled forward Jonathan Huberdeau is a lock to be a top-5 selection

***MOCK DRAFT COMING TOMORROW***

While it’s difficult to say exactly who the top-10 players will be in this year’s NHL draft, most scouts have no problem telling you who the top 9 available prospects are. They include 6 forwards – Nugent-Hopkins, Huberdeau, Landeskog, Couturier, Strome, and Zibanejad; and 3 defencemen – Larsson, Hamilton, and Murphy. With an eye to the top-10, here is a small scouting report on all the potential top-10 selections (grouped by position) in this year’s draft.

Forwards

Sure-fire top-10 selection

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: The most skilled player in the draft. He’s a classic playmaker who makes all those around him better. His vision and hockey IQ are off the charts, drawing some comparisons to #99. The only knock on him is his size, as he’s around 6’, 170 lbs. However, he’s extremely quick and shifty, with an unbelievable ability to avoid ever being hit. He has the rare ability to do incredible things with the puck at high speed. He looks a bit like Blackhawks star Patrick Kane when handling the puck; and while he prefers to set up teammates, he has no problem scoring either. His offensive game could be compared to Avs great Peter Forsberg, minus the power-forward type of approach. Overall, Nugent-Hopkins is a near-sure bet to be a first line centre, if not a franchise centre. Continue reading

Draft Rankings

Here’s a compilation of draft rankings from Bobby Mac, the International Scouting Service, and Craig Button. NHL Central Scouting Bureau (CSB) is also widely available, but I chose not to include it since it was made back in early April and is now outdated (due to the World Under 18 Championships which finished in late April).

Scouting reports for the players in bold will be posted shortly. Continue reading

Path to Glory: The NHL Draft

(Top Prospect Ryan Strome of the OHL’s Niagra Ice Dogs)

I’ll be at the NHL draft in Minneapolis on June 24th, so feel free to follow me on twitter for live draft-day tweets. (HouseOfPuck)

If there’s any question as to the importance of June 24, look no further than the Chicago Blackhawks. Or the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Detroit Red Wings. Of course, these are the last 3 cup winners, all of which have been built primarily through the draft. The first two were fortunate to get a string of very high picks, while the Red Wings have simply drafted well for years without the fortune of a lottery pick.

In terms of hockey operations, Friday June 24th is without a doubt the most important day for the Winnipeg (Blanks). It gives the team the opportunity to add a key piece of their future at virtually no cost – apart from the cost of well-paid scouts and the youngster’s inevitable entry-level contract, which will range from about $1.75-$2.5 million including bonuses. Here are the teams that are ahead of Winnipeg in the draft queue: Continue reading