Mark Seidel's Blog: Keeping perspective and the NACS Top 100

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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Folks, it's good to be back writing my blog and I certainly hope you enjoyed the mock draft we put together.

After reading some of the comments, I wanted to remind readers the mock draft is designed to show who we think each team will take, as opposed to our overall rankings. Our mock draft is compiled by speaking with scouts to gain an understanding of the decision-makers' patterns and philosophies teams follow when preparing for the draft.

For example, we project certain teams will draft a defenseman, despite the fact they have a slew of great young blueliners in their system. We may know their philosophy is to put a premium on defensemen or that they aren't as optimistic about the future of a certain prospect as their fans may be. These are just some things to keep in mind, but please keep the comments coming because I love being challenged and discussing the feedback with my colleagues. They force people to analyze their opinions and give them some critical thought, which ultimately helps make North American Central Scouting a better company.

But on with my blog.

I spent a day traveling with a friend, regaling him with experiences I've encountered over the past 15 years of scouting. I thought I'd share two of them with the readers because each provides a key lesson. Whenever I do public speaking to young people, I try to mix in some of these stories to drive home certain principles for them to learn as they get older.

The first story is about Jonathan Cheechoo, the San Jose Sharks' former Rocket Richard Trophy winner. People who know me are aware Jon is my wife's nephew. Because of this relationship, I have spent more than a few nights with the Cheechoo family watching him play. In the fall of 1998, Jon was a rookie with the Belleville Bulls and not yet drafted by any NHL team. His father, Mervyn, called me to say he was driving from Cochrane to Sault Ste. Marie (in Ontario) to watch Jon play. We agreed to meet in Espanola, Ont., and go to the game together. We met at 4:30 p.m. and made it to the Soo just in time to see the puck drop.

When Jon hit the ice for his second shift of the game, he lost track of his defenseman, who cut to the slot and rang a shot off the post. Lou Crawford, the Greyhounds’ mercurial head coach, immediately yanked Jon off the ice and didn't play him for another shift the rest of the night. At the end of the game, we went down to see Jon, who was understandably upset about his lack of ice time. When Jon grumbled about the decision, Mervyn told him Lou was trying to make him a better player and it was his own fault for losing his man. Jon simply had to learn from his mistake.

Afterwards, Mervyn had to drop me off in Espanola and hurry back to Cochrane to catch the morning train to Moose Factory. When I think of that day, I remember Mervyn's passion for both hockey and his son. He had taken a water taxi to Moosonee, followed by a five-hour train ride to Cochrane and a six-hour drive to Sault Ste. Marie, just to see his son play. He made it just in time to watch his son skate one-and-a-half shifts. And when Jon complained about his ice time, Mervyn supported the coach’s decision and encouraged Jon to take responsibility for his slip-up in the defensive zone.

Mervyn's hockey parenting was admirable when compared with the vast number of parents who drive 10 minutes to the local arena and go squirrelly when their child doesn't play on the power play. Mervyn never made the game about himself or his son and it’s that kind of maturity, guidance and support that helped Jon defy the odds and become a star in the NHL.

My second story is about the current first father of hockey, Henry Staal. This story originates from the holiday season in 2004 when his third son, Jordan, was representing Ontario in the World Under-17 Challenge in Lethbridge, Alta. Team Ontario had started slow in the tournament and was faced with a do-or-die game against the powerful Americans, who featured Erik Johnson, Kyle Okposo and James O'Brien, to name a few. If Ontario didn’t win the New Year’s Day clash, they would have been eliminated - a huge disappointment for a team that had high expectations.

Unfortunately, the Ontario side got off to a slow start and trailed 5-2 halfway through the second period. It was at that point Jordan took the game over by himself, dominating in a way I have not seen since. He scored two goals – the tying and insurance goals – while physically punishing the Americans and winning every draw he took. Simply put, he was a man among boys. Several NHL scouts were speechless at what they witnessed.

When the final buzzer sounded and the teams were lining up on their respective bluelines, I was standing with Jordan's father Henry and agent Darren Ferris. In awe of Jordan’s play, Darren commented "a blind, deaf, mute could pick Ontario's MVP." You can understand our shock when the award was presented to Ontario's goalie, Jason Guy. Although he played well, he did not register a performance in the realm of what Jordan had just done. When Darren and I began voicing our concerns, Henry scolded us for being silly: "Who cares about an MVP award? We needed to win the game to advance and we did that. The last thing in the world I care about is who got the MVP!"

We were equally surprised and embarrassed, but respected Henry’s perspective on the game. On later reflection, I was certain if Jordan said anything about not getting the MVP, Henry would have given him the same speech he gave us to remind everybody about the meaning of teamwork. These humble traits would certainly help guide Jordan through the rest of his formative years and ensure he made the most of his talents when he made the jump to the NHL.

These days, it’s not uncommon to hear about parents going crazy over their children’s hockey careers. I share these two stories to illustrate the positive impact fathers can have on their sons and how, if the proper example is set, the child can make the most of his opportunities.

So the next time you see a parent yelling about Little Johnny not getting enough ice time or Little Susie being overlooked for a personal award, think of the impact that a positive relationship with the game can have.

Here is NACS’ latest Top 100 NHL prospect rankings as we head toward the June draft in Montreal:

Ranking

Name

Height

Weight

Position

Team

Birth date

1

John Tavares

6'1

200

RC

London Knights

Sep-90

2

Victor Hedman

6'7

220

LD

MoDo

Dec-90

3

Matt Duchene

5'11

194

LC

Brampton Battalion

Jan-91

4

Brayden Schenn

6'1

193

LC

Brandon Wheat Kings

Aug-91

5

Evander Kane

6’1

180

LC

Vancouver Giants

Feb-91

6

Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson

6'1

200

LW

Timra

Apr-91

7

Jared Cowen

6'5

220

LD

Spokane Chiefs

Jan-91

8

Dmitry Kulikov

6'0

190

LD

Drummondville Voltigeurs

Oct-90

9

Nazem Kadri

5’11

182

LC

London Knights

Oct-90

10

Simon Despres

6'3

214

LD

St. John Sea Dogs

Jul-91

11

Ryan Ellis

5'10

180

RD

Windsor Spitfires

Jan-91

12

Jordan Schroeder

5'9

175

RW

University of Minnesota

Nov-90

13

Scott Glennie

6'1

182

C

Brandon Wheat Kings

Feb-91

14

Peter Holland

6'2

188

LC

Guelph Storm

Jan-91

15

Ethan Werek

6’0

191

LW

Kingston Frontenacs

Jun-91

16

John Moore

6'2

189

LD

Chicago (USHL)

Nov-90

17

Jacob Josefson

6'0

187

LC

Djurgardens

Mar-91

18

Landon Ferraro

6'0

169

RW

Red Deer Rebels

Aug-91

19

Zack Kassian

6'3

211

RW

Peterborough Petes

Jan-91

20

Jeremy Morin

6'1

189

RC

US Under-18

Apr-91

21

Ryan O'Reilly

6'1

205

LC

Erie Otters

Feb-91

22

Kyle Palmieri

5'11

191

RC

US Under-18

Feb-91

23

David Rundblad

6'3

190

RD

Skelleftea

Oct-90

24

Stefan Elliot

6'2

185

LD

Saskatoon Blades

Jan-91

25

Calvin de Haan

6'0

165

LD

Oshawa Generals

May-91

26

Olivier Roy

6'0

165

G

Cape Breton Screaming Eagles

Jul-91

27

Drew Shore

6'3

194

C

US Under-18

Jan-91

28

Tyson Barrie

5'10

188

RD

Kelowna Rockets

Jul-91

29

Taylor Doherty

6'5

217

RD

Kingston Frontenacs

Mar-91

30

Philippe Paradis

6'2

190

C

Shawinigan Cataractes

Jan-91

31

Tim Erixon

6'1

189

LD

Skelleftea

Feb-91

32

Dylan Olsen

6'2

207

LD

Camrose Kodiaks

Jan-91

33

Tommi Kivisto

6'2

198

LD

Red Deer Rebels

Jun-91

34

Nick Leddy

5'10

179

LD

Eden Prairie

Mar-91

35

Matt Clark

6’3

205

RD

Brampton Battalion

Oct-90

36

Cody Eakin

6'0

180

LC

Swift Current Broncos

May-91

37

Louis Leblanc

6'1

176

C

Omaha Landers

Jan-91

38

Edward Pasquale

6'3

215

G

Saginaw Spirit

Nov-90

39

Carter Ashton

6'5

212

RW

Lethbridge Hurricanes

Apr-91

40

Bjorn Krupp

6'3

190

LD

Belleville Bulls

Mar-91

41

Alex Hutchings

5'10

184

LC

Barrie Colts

Nov-90

42

Chris Kreider

6'2

205

LW

Andover Academy

Feb-91

43

Jimmy Bubnick

6'3

195

RC

Kamloops Blazers

Jan-91

44

Anton Burdasov

6'3

202

RW

Traktor

May-91

45

David Gilbert

6'2

183

C

Quebec Remparts

Feb-91

46

Brandon Pirri

6'0

160

LC

Georgetown

Apr-91

47

Tomas Tatar

5'11

176

C

Zvolen

Dec-90

48

Michael Latta

5'11

202

RC

Guelph Storm

May-91

49

Anton Lander

6’1

197

LW

Timra

Apr-91

50

Zach Budish

6'2

230

RC

Edina

May-91

51

Tomas Vincour

6'3

203

C

Edmonton OilKings

Nov-90

52

Scott Stajcer

6'1

185

G

Owen Sound Attack

Jun-91

53

Charles-Olivier Roussel

6'1

198

RD

Shawinigan Cataractes

Sep-91

54

Richard Panik

6'3

202

LC

Trinec

Feb-91

55

Casey Cizikas

5'10

188

LC

Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors

Feb-91

56

Nate Schmidt

6'1

199

LD

St. Cloud Cathedral

Jul-91

57

Erik Haula

5'11

170

LW

Shattuck St. Mary’s

Mar-91

58

Michael Fine

6'0

197

LC

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds

May-91

59

Brandon Maxwell

6'0

195

G

US Under-18

Mar-91

60

Seth Helgeson

6'5

225

LD

Sioux City (USHL)

Oct-90

61

Tony Rajala

5'10

163

LW

Ilves

Mar-91

62

Daniel Delisle

6'4

223

LC

Totino Grace

Sep-90

63

Gabriel Lemieux

6'1

170

LD

Shawinigan Cataractes

Sep-90

64

Marcus Foligno

6'3

203

LW

Sudbury Wolves

Aug-91

65

Taylor Beck

6'1

209

LW

Guelph Storm

May-91

66

Blake Thompson

6'4

204

RD

Sioux Falls (USHL)

Jul-91

67

Cassidy Mappin

6'0

186

C

Red Deer Rebels

Dec-90

68

Rylan Schwartz

5'11

172

LC

Notre Dame

June-90

69

Filip Novotny

5'11

185

G

Sparta

May-91

70

Chris Brown

6'2

190

RC

US Under-18

Feb-91

71

Jordan Szwarz

5’10

190

C

Saginaw Spirit

May-91

72

Ryan Bourque

5'10

163

RC

US Under-18

Jan-91

73

Oliver Ekman-Larsson

6'1

175

LD

Leksand

Jul-91

74

Marek Hrivik

6'1

181

RW

Slovak U-20

Aug-91

75

Carl Klingberg

6'4

202

LW

Frolunda

Jan-91

76

Jesse Blacker

6'1

190

RD

Windsor Spitfires

Apr-91

77

Brooks Herrington

6'3

202

RD

NH jr. Monarchs

Nov-90

78

Brett Flemming

6'2

172

RD

Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors

Feb-91

79

Matt Mackay

5'11

190

LC

Moose Jaw Warriors

Nov-90

80

Dannil Sobchenko

6'0

180

RC

Yaroslavl

Apr-91

81

Daniel Weiss

6'3

196

RW

Berlin

Feb-91

82

Nathan Lieuwen

6'4

190

G

Kootenay Ice

Aug-91

83

Sami Vatanen

5'9

160

RD

JYP Jr.

Jun-91

84

Collin Bowman

6'3

200

RD

Kelowna Rockets

Jun-91

85

Dmitri Orlov

5'10

200

LD

Novokuznet Sk.

Jul-91

86

Joonas Nattinen

6'2

180

RC

Espoo Blues Jr.

Jan-91

87

Joel Hanley

6'0

180

RD

Newmarket

Jun-91

88

Dmitri Shikin

6'0

190

G

Elektrostal

Aug-91

89

Frederic Piche

6'0

180

G

Acadie-Bathurst

Aug-91

90

Bryce Williamson

6'0

190

RW

St. Albert

Dec-89

91

Andrej Stastny

6'3

200

C

Trencin Jr.

Jan-91

92

Matej Stritesky

5'11

180

RD

Most

Sep-90

93

Tyler Randell

6'1

191

RW

Kitchener Rangers

Jun-91

94

Ryan Howse

5'11

198

LW

Chilliwack Bruins

Jul-91

95

Anton Myllari

6'2

230

RD

Vasteras

Feb-91

96

Eddie Lack

6'4

185

G

Leksand

Jan-88

97

Daniel Maggio

6'2

195

RD

Sudbury Wolves

Mar-91

98

Thomas Brandl

5'10

180

RW

Landshut

Feb-91

99

Deven Stillar

5'11

200

LW/C

Melfort

Feb-90

100

Georgiy Gurianov

6'5

202

RW

Walpole

Jun-91

Please look forward to my next piece on the best assistant coach in the Canadian Hockey League, Bob Jones of the Windsor Spitfires. Until then, thanks for reading.

Mark Seidel is the chief scout for North American Central Scouting and co-hosts the radio show "Breakout; The Hockey Show; NHL 2009" on the Prime Sports Network. He is also a regular contributor to Hockey Night in Canada on Sirius Radio as their draft and junior hockey insider. Read his other blog entries HERE.

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