As promised, I’ll be posting a new top 30 each Monday morning from now through draft week. This is the period where the Euro kids are finding their way and we’re looking for gems. There are a few tweaks from last week, and I’ve added new verbal because it worries me if you’re bored.
- C Sam Bennett—I’ve never seen a pull-up score a goal. He stays at No. 1.
- D Aaron Ekblad—I think he killed five guys at the combine. He moves up 1.
- C Sam Reinhart—Crazy skill, talk now of his being a better winger. I’ve bumped him 1.
- C Leon Draisaitl—Oilers Nation doesn’t like him, I’m liking him more.
- L Michael Dal Colle—Something tells me he’ll be a Canuck draft day. NY Islanders are crazy.
- L William Nylander—Rumors about Florida, which makes sense. We’ll never hear from him again.
- L Nikolaj Ehlers—I’m a little suspicious of his results based on teammates.
- R Kevin Fiala—Insane NHLE moves him up. Will he go higher?
- C Robby Fabbri—Fun watch during Memorial Cup. He’s a gem.
- R Kasperi Kapanen—I like him plenty, but he had a terrible U-18. Still, Finn.
- L Nick Ritchie—He’s a monster. High risk because we don’t know about offense.
- R Jake Virtanen—Power winger who can score goals. Outstanding release, very physical.
- L Brendan Perlini—Might be what people think Ritchie is going to become.
- L Jakub Vrana—The Detroit/SJ first-round pick. He’ll blossom in the 2017 re-draft.
- R Alex Tuch—Power forward with enough skill to play on a scoring line.
- L Ivan Barbasehev—Excellent offensive player, excellent passer, effective scorer. Gritty player.
- R David Pastrnak—He’s a first-shot scorer with speed and skill. Outstanding prospect.
- D Haydn Fleury—I just can’t see him as a complete defender, and his offense isn’t awesome.
- C Jared McCann—Two-way center with a defensive bent. I love these player types.
- L Adrian Kempe—Skill winger with size and a nice range of skills. Determined player.
- L Sonny Milano—Skill winger who can make plays and score goals. Some defensive issues.
- L Dylan Larkin—Power forward impressed at the U-18 World Hockey Championships.
- D Julius Honka—I like him plenty. Mobile, smart, has grit.
- L Nikita Scherbak—Skilled, rugged winger impressed with range in his WHL debut.Quality.
- L Nikolai Goldobin—Offense gets him here.
- R Josh Ho-Sang—Speed burner can score goals, finished strong.
- R Connor Bleackley—Two-way winger has nice range of skills, may lack offensive gear.
- C Nick Schmaltz—Creative center with quick hands.
- C Vladislav Kamenev—Impressive skill player with size, lit U-18′s on fire.
- D Roland McKeown—Big, mobile defender with a terrific shot. A lot to like.
Gone are Spencer Watson and Thatcher Demko.
One thing that happens during the weeks leading up to the draft is trending players. I expect this comes from reporters talking to scouts and management folks, because the people who provide draft information for a living have already published (mostly). So, you’ll find these players trending this week:
- D Travis Sanheim. Red Line Report, early March: Has been a revelation of late. Huge, rangy blue-liner’s confidence has been soaring, and we love his combination of size, skating, puck skills and shot.
- D Marcus Pettersson: Pronman, April: You see the tools of SWE D Marcus Pettersson. He’s big, very mobile, skilled but his D zone work little cringe worthy.
- L Brendan Lemieux: Claude’s boy, and he’s a lot like Dad.
- C Ryan Donato: Dominant prep scorer, long range prospect but deadly offense.
I think my top 30 is pretty much surrounded, we’re up to seven European kids and that seems about right. The next few weeks will be spent on tweaking things, and honestly beyond the top five I have some questions. Like:
- Should Nylander be inside the top 5? Who comes out?
- Ehlers had some dynamite help this season. Is he too high?
- Is Ritchie a guy who will play at 215 or 230?
- Perlini’s scouting report doesn’t pop, but is that a reason to keep him out of the top 10?
- Why do I have this feeling Detroit will take Vrana and he’ll be great?
- What’s with all these USHL kids?
- Nikita, Nikolai. Nikolai, Nikita.
- Why do I keep listing Fleury and McKeown lower than everyone else? Is it me?
Anyway, those things will figure themselves out as the Mondays roll along. Lowdown this morning features Scott Burnside from ESPN (about last night and the combine), Dustin Nielson (about the draft), Rob Vollman (looking at Petry and Schultz’s contracts and offer sheets) and Kent Wilson from Flames Nation talking about Calgary’s summer.
I’ll also play portions of the interview with Gunnar Svensson (Magnus’ Dad) about the 2014 draft and men like Nylander, Vrana and Pettersson. TSN 1260, 10 this morning, contact via text at 10-1260 or twitter @Lowetide_ See you on the radio!