Top 30 NHL Draft Prospects
The first 20 were ranked by SI.com NHL writer Allan Muir, who says, "I guarantee it'll change between now and the draft. Numbers 5 through 15 are a complete jumble. That's why I think there'll be a lot of trades. Teams are looking to scoop up the guy they really want." Central Scouting says: Tyler Seguin makes things happen every time he is on the ice and he makes his teammates better. He's a skilled forward. He's obviously a top-line forward with all kinds of puck skills and playmaking abilities. ... He's elusive in traffic, avoiding checks with the puck."
Central Scouting says: "When you talk about Hall, you talk about quickness, acceleration and hands. Easily and arguably, could have actually been our No. 1 pick overall. Taylor has done it all; he's the reigning MVP of the Memorial Cup tournament and has played on two medal-winning world championship teams."
Central Scouting says: "Gudbranson is a guaranteed long-term NHLer, another Chris Pronger-type. What he brings that (Pronger) really didn't do much of, though, is he'll fight. He is some kind of tough. Pronger is mean and will hit you. Gudbranson will hit you and fight you. Pronger is three inches taller, so maybe Dion Phaneuf would be an even better comparison."
Central Scouting says: "He's your prototypical offensive-defenseman, your (quarterback) on your (power-play), your great-skating offensive-defenseman and he controls the puck with his skills. If you're looking for a comparison, think of Tomas Kaberle with the Maple Leafs. But in sticking with his country, maybe even a future Brian Leetch or Phil Housley."
Central Scouting says: "He is what a lot of teams are going for, a good defenseman who can score and handle the puck, smart. Gormley has got the whole package. He's got a good shot from the point, an accurate shot, low and it can be deflected."
Central Scouting says: "Plays in Portland but showed the world how good he could be in the (World Junior Championship) playing for the Swiss National Team. And after that tournament he kept getting better. He's shifty, he's skilled, he has a good stride and he loves battling in the corner."
Central Scouting says: "He's like a water spider out there on the ice. Light on his feet, but he's got a venomous strike like a snake when he goes on the offense. Speed and agility, great fakes and he'll bring players, fans alike out of their seats. I'd compare him with a (Alexei) Kovalev, (Sergei) Samsonov or (Maxim) Afinogenov."
Central Scouting says: "He puts the puck in the net, he's got good size, great on-ice awareness. He's not a crasher or a banger, but he finishes his checks. He does everything well."
Central Scouting says: "He has good on-ice vision and also angles well on the forecheck. He has the intelligence to play power play as well as penalty kill. He can be shifty and has the ability to beat a defenseman one-on-one. Once he fills out and gains more strength he could turn raw talent into a valuable center at both ends of rink. He has displayed nice playmaking capabilities and this should continue at the next level."
European Scouting says: "Vladimir is very effective around the net with his excellent overall skill level and vision. He is a strong, mobile skater with a quick shot. He is not only a sniper, but also a good passer and playmaker. There are no real weaknesses in his overall game and he will be one of the most interesting prospects at the draft."
Central Scouting says: "Not overly big (5' 10", 187), he makes up for that with his sniping ability. Pure puckhandler with great moves and a great shot, he contributed a 50-goal season for Kitchener and despite the 5'10" knock some scouts might have, destined to be an NHLer."
European Scouting says: "Saku Koivu clone. He's small, but no one's told him he's small. He has a really good, winning attitude, works very hard. He's tough, and he has very good hockey sense."
Central Scouting says: "He's got good size, doesn't beat himself and his positioning is very good. He has good quickness in recovery, but he's not all over the place. He'll make the saves."
Central Scouting says: "He's further along and more polished than (Boston's Blake) Wheeler. He's also a better skater than David Backes was at the same age (17). The only difference is Backes was thicker, but the ingredients are there. He wants the puck and to make plays. He's a blue-collar type kid who works his tail off."
Central Scouting says: "Forbort has good top-end ability at both ends (of the ice). He's smart and skates so well, he's almost 6-5 and he's got everything there in front of him. It's just a matter of filling out and getting more experience. He's probably a top-two defenseman in the NHL if he reaches his potential."
Central Scouting says: "Big and mean, old-time typical NHL defenseman. He scares people not only with some frequent fights he might get in, but with 6-4, 212 pounds, straight ahead speed and offensive ability to match. Often, and in a very complimentary sense, makes puck carriers cut to the other side of the ice with his intimidating size."
Central Scouting says: "He finished the season with a broken foot and a lot of scouts weren't able to get a good grip on how good this player's going to be in the NHL. Smooth-skating, he has a neat knack for following up the play at the right time, leading the rush at the right time and throwing a crisp pass to one of his forwards to break out of his zone."
Central Scouting says: "A 37-goal scorer with a good Medicine Hat team. He handles the puck so well at full speed. His crouch style belies his 6-foot stature. He looks smaller out there on the ice, but he's not small in productiveness. How about this -- he moved from Long Beach to Minnesota's Shattuck-St. Mary's to Medicine Hat, Alberta, all in the space of three developmental junior years."
Central Scouting says: "Big, strapping center in the Minnesota High School league. Going to North Dakota next year and destined to be an NHLer with 6-2 frame, 205-pound build. Guaranteed, hard-skating power forward."
Central Scouting says: "Charlie is a skilled forward who can play a power game as well as finesse. He has very good size and athleticism, soft hands, and is a confident puckhandler. His passes are accurate and proper for the situation. He has a long and strong stride and beats defenders with his acceleration and puck skills. He has a very good wrist shot to support his passing skills in his role as a major contributor to his team's offense. He should, however, shoot the puck more than he does to take advantage of his excellent shot."
Players 21-30 are a consensus based largely on Central Scouting's most recent rankings. Central Scouting says: "Austin is a very good penalty killer. He plays a high-energy two-way game. He's aggressive on the forecheck and he will finish his checks. He has good hands and can shoot the puck hard. He is an excellent competitor and is a good shot blocker. I like his energy and willingness to play a role and be good at that role." Final Central Scouting rank: 14 (North American skaters)
Central Scouting says: "Excellent skater with high-end speed and agility and maybe overall, a high skill player. A great wrist shot, he plays with an edge. He'll fight, not often, but when he does it shows his meanness. Who can we compare him to? A Brenden Morrow perhaps, who was drafted by Dallas and is still a contributing captain-member." Final Central Scouting rank: 15
Central Scouting says: "Dominates faceoffs and, in freshman year, is an excellent young prospect, a really good young skater and his ability to dominate a game at his level is truly impressive." Final Central Scouting rank: 18
Central Scouting says: "His skating is so good for his size. His threat is his speed, not only to score goals, but to cause turnovers. He's excellent on the penalty kill, always a threat out there. If he gets a step on anybody he's gone." Final Central Scouting rank: 19
Central Scouting says: "He plays the game a lot like Jordan Leopold. He plays weaving and diving, sneaking and thinking, gaining the zone and moving the puck ahead right on the tape to a guy. He's skilled and he's really come a long way in his development." Final Central Scouting rank: 21
Central Scouting says: "He's so mature for a kid his age (18) -- I'm overwhelmed with that. He's equally good in all three zones and goes to the front of the net. He's very conscious in the defensive zone and down behind the net in the defensive corner -- he makes certain his team isn't outnumbered. In the neutral zone, he makes all kinds of things happen but will get back and turn a transition if needed." Final Central Scouting rank: 22
European Scouting says: "He is a classical Russian hockey player -- fast, skillful, talented. He is also a leader on the ice, he was captain of the Russian Under-18 team and he had an excellent tournament. He is very skilled." Final European skaters rank: 3
Central Scouting says: "He skates very well for a big guy. He has an excellent shot from the point. He's a pretty smart player. The head's there, the hands are there, the shot's there, the skating ability is there. He's got a real, real cannon for a shot." Final Central Scouting rank: 38
European Scouting says: "He's small (5-11, 156), but extremely skillful. A very fast skater, very quick moves, good hands -- he's an exciting player, great attitude." Final European skaters rank: 4
Central Scouting says: "He's a solid goalie, he's not really huge (6-foot, 200 pounds), but he plays big. His positional play is excellent; he reads the play very well. He's a very confident goalie that plays calm and relaxed. He always seems to give himself a chance to stop the puck and always seems to know where to be." Final Central Scouting rank: 1 (North American goaltenders)