Tuesday, January 14, 2014

NHL Central Scouting Midterm Rankings

Yesterday NHL Central Scouting released their midterm rankings for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

Here's how OHL players ranked.


1. Sam Bennett (1)
2. Aaron Ekblad (3)
3. Michael Dal Colle (5)
4. Nick Ritchie (7)
5. Brendan Perlini (8)
6. Anthony DeAngelo (10)
7. Jared McCann (11)
8. Nikolai Goldobin (14)
9. Roland McKeown (15)
10. Joshua Ho-Sang (18)
11. Eric Cornel (23)
12. Robby Fabbri (25)
13. Aaron Haydon (28)
14. Connor Chatham (30)
15. Ryan MacInnis (33)
16. Alex Peters (36)
17. Michael Bunting (37)
18. Brendan Lemieux (38)
19. Spencer Watson (43)
20. Blake Siebenaler (47)
21. Matt Mistele (51)
22. Nick Magyar (52)
23. Mike Amadio (56)
24. Christian Dvorak (69)
25. Kyle Jenkins (75)
26. Brandon Prophet (76)
27. Nikita Yazkov (77)
28. Josh Wesley (78)
29. Jacob Middleton (87)
30. Kevin Labanc (88)
31. Dylan Sadowy (89)
32. Blake Clarke (93)
33. Jaden Lindo (96)
34. Ryan Foss (99)
35. Aleksander Mikulovich (108)
36. Darby Llwellyn (113)
37. Cristiano Digiacinto (117)
38. Jacob Busch (120)
39. Cordell James (126)
40. Stefan Leblanc (131)
41. Hunter Smith (140)
42. Ryan Verbeek (147)
43. Kevin Spinozzi (149)
44. Yannick Rathgeb (153)
45. Darren Raddysh (154)
46. Niki Petti (163)
47. Frank Hora (165)
48. Alex Protapovich (167)
49. Damir Sharipzyanov (176)
50. David Tomasek (182)
51. Dylan DiPerna (185)
52. Josh Sterk (195)
53. Phil Baltisberger (205)
LV (Limited Viewing) - Kyle Wood


1. Alex Nedeljkovic (5)
2. Brent Moran (6)
3. Brandon Halverson (9)
4. Devin Williams (14)
5. Nikita Serebryakov (17)
6. Matt Mancina (18)
7. Ken Appleby (33)

If you want to see the full rankings, check them out HERE

Some thoughts on the rankings...

1. It really shouldn't surprise people when Central Scouting ranks smaller players lower than other scouting agencies. They have historically put more emphasis on size than independent and even NHL scouts. So it really shouldn't surprise you that guys like Fabbri and Spencer Watson are lower ranked than they have been on other lists. Don't really agree with it, but it's the way it is. At least they're generally pretty consistent.

2. Biggest "no-shows" for me on the list are Alex Lintuniemi and Brandon Robinson. Lintuniemi has size, has been improving every month defensively and has untapped offensive potential. I think it was Sam Cosentino who had him listed in his top 10 among OHL players available for the draft this year. While I do think that's absurdly high, not ranking him at all is also confusing. In regards to Robinson, his stats certainly haven't been great and he's already in his 3rd year and on his 2nd team, but you can't ignore his potential. Size and scoring ability doesn't grow on trees. Didn't expect him to be high, but I definitely think he still deserves to be in the "100's."

3. The real shocker high rating people have been talking about is Connor Chatham. I actually really like him as a prospect and I think he's better than his numbers have suggested this year (which forward IS actually living up to his potential in Plymouth this year?). However, I think his ranking is definitely too high. He's a solid checking line prospect who has size, hits hard and can finish in close, but he shouldn't be ahead of some of the guys he is ahead of. Don't see at all how a guy like Nick Magyar is behind him when he brings many of the same qualities, but is a better offensive player with greater potential.

4. Truth be told, the thing I'm most shocked about is Alex Nedeljkovic's ranking. I don't think I've seen a ranking yet that hasn't had him as the top goaltender available for this draft. Yet, Central Scouting has him as the 5th best in North America. Huge discrepancy there. Maybe it's a size thing, since Nedeljkovic isn't the biggest goalie on the planet. But with the way he's played this year, this is a really big head scratcher for me, although I must admit that I haven't seen the guys ahead of him play much or at all.

5. The general lack of "re-entry" guys from the OHL isn't a huge shock. The crop from the league isn't as good as it has been in previous years. Hunter Smith is probably the top guy there so I think they got that right.

6. Also really like the aggressive rankings of guys like Haydon, Siebenaler, and Bunting.

7. Lastly, I suppose I should talk about the whole Bennett versus Ekblad thing. It's tough for me. I love both players to death and wouldn't hesitate to take either inside the Top 5...or even 3. The fact that Central Scouting is the first to put Bennett ahead of Ekblad is what has surprised people and has them talking. Bennett deserves to be in contention for the first pick and it will be an interesting race heading into June. I've still got Ekblad first, but as I've mentioned many times, it's crazy close.


Anonymous said...

How does the 2014 draft compare to the 2013 for the top 10 players?

Brock Otten said...

I think 2014 compares pretty well to 2013 overall. While that opinion hasn't yet gained a lot of steam, I do think it's a strong draft year. I think there is a fair amount of depth too.

If we look at the OHL specifically, I think it's an absolutely fantastic year. The best the league has had since 2003.

Again, at least IMO.

Anonymous said...

I think your opinion is valuable. I wonder where Ekblad would have gone last year if he was the right age. Ahead of Nurse or behind?

I enjoy your blog.

Brock Otten said...

Thanks for the comments.

It's certainly an interesting question. I'm sure if you asked 10 scouts, the votes would probably be split.

It's a question of upside versus safety. I don't think there's any question that Nurse has more upside (not saying Ekblad is a slouch, but Nurse is the more dynamic and creative offensive player). Where as Ekblad is the safer pick because of what he can do defensively already.

Would you rather have a guy (Ekblad) who seems like a safe bet to be a Chris Phillips/Brent Seabrook kind of player, or a guy (Nurse) who could be Alex Pietrangelo...or he could be Paul Mara?