THW continues to enhance coverage of prospects and the NHL entry draft. Expect to see the continuation of The Next Ones series which features prospect profiles in our unique format. Check back often as we continue to bring you draft rankings, mock drafts, NHL prospect rankings, interviews, World Junior Championship coverage and much more. We have assembled a team of talented writers with ridiculous upside covering the future of hockey.
- Chris Ralph: Senior sportswriter and THW’s lead prospect and draft analyst.
- Shawn Reznik interviews prospects and covers other unique prospect storylines
- Brendan Ross breaks down the OHL like no other
- Nathan Fournier covers college hockey
- David O’Connor profiles prospects
- Aaron Hall is our newest edition
- Other writers who focus on specific NHL teams or the NHL in general who also have a keen interest in the draft and prospects include: Patrick Kearns, Salim Valji and Andrew Sykes.
World Junior Hockey Championship 2012
The 2012 WJC has arrived at THW!
Salim Valji and Chris Ralph have been granted full media access for the duration of the tournament, including all round robin and medal games. Together we will bring breaking news, game analysis, player interviews and stories to THW.
Check out our World Junior Championships Viewers Guide 2012 Edition as more articles will be added highlighting team previews, players to watch, predictions and other unique and exclusive coverage. (Home Page Link)
Follow us on Twitter for plenty of updates leading up to and during the tournament:
- Featuring original quotes from hockey legend Igor Larionov, head scout for ISS Ross MacLean and Sarnia Sting assistant GM Mark Glavin.
Hockey legend Igor Larionov, who just happens to be Yakupov’s agent, was amiable enough to provide me this quote in discussing Alex and Nail:
“Both Alex and Nail are what one would call raw talent. Both possess a great deal of rare skill sets. With their passion and love for the game, their work ethic on and off the ice, they will be the kind of players that bring the game of hockey to the next level.”
The feisty, dynamic, explosive right-winger who possesses a heat-seeking one-timer (1:00 mark of video) is simply electrifying with the ability to cause a jaw-dropping reaction to all those watching his super array of skills. He is destined to become one of the true must-see players around the league. Fans in hockey cities everywhere will be circling the dates when Yakupov comes to town when he is inevitably donning NHL battle colours.
- The “Home Page” for last year’s draft.
- 2011 NHL Entry Draft Fantasy-Based Top 100 Rankings (June 20/11)
- THW 2011 NHL Draft Final Rankings – Top 210 (released June 14, 2011)
The Top 10:
[table id=46 /]
Prospect Profile: Adam Larsson
- When Larsson played at the 2011 World Junior Championships he matched his scoring of one goal and three assists from the 2010 tourney. He was Sweden’s highest scoring defenseman at the 2011 WJC’s.
- At the 2010 World U18 Championships he was selected top defenceman for the tournament.
- Larsson suited up for Sweden at the 2010 World Junior Championships U20s held in Saskatchewan, Canada.
ETA = 1-2 yrs
Risk-Reward Analysis: Risk = 0.5/5 Reward = 4.5/5
NHL Potential: Top pairing franchise defenseman
Prospect Profile: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
On a level which is simply speculation on my part, RNH could potentially resemble Duchene if the following scenario comes to fruition. In 2009, I toyed with the idea of having Duchene #1 in my NHL 2009 Draft Rankings. In the end, I ranked the top 3 as they would end up being drafted – John Tavares, Victor Hedman, followed by Matt Duchene. Although we’re less than two years removed from the 2009 draft, all three are making their presence known in the NHL. If that draft was redone now – many a GM and scout would jump at the chance to draft Duchene first overall.
I could see the same thing playing out this draft year. While Ryan could certainly be drafted first overall, there are several players who have a reasonable chance of getting drafted ahead of RNH – Adam Larsson, Sean Couturier or Gabriel Landeskog. OHL blueliners Ryan Murphy and Dougie Hamilton may also garner some consideration, with Ryan Strome and Jonathon Hurbedeau the draft day dark horses (in terms of challenging for a top three selection).
Within two years after this year’s draft, GMs and scouts alike may be left scratching their heads if they are the ones who potentially decide to pass over Nugent-Hopkins.
Prospect Profile: Sean Couturier
Sean Couturier possesses an impressive arsenal of tools that each and every NHL franchise covets, especially for a centreman. He provides great strength down the middle, utilizing his rare blend of size, power, skating, speed to with very good work ethic, puck skills, shot and hands.
Heading into the season, the race for top overall prospect for the 2011 entry draft was seemingly to be decided between Swedish blueliner Adam Larsson and Couturier. As often is the case, however, other prospects emerge and those at the top have each and every aspect of their game heavily scrutinized. Throw in some obstacles like injuries and other medical conditions and it is quite evident it sure is not easy to stay at the top.
In Couturier’s case, both factors have come in to play. The emergence of top notch elite forward prospects such as Ryan Strome and Jonathon Hurbedeau has taken some of the lustre and limelight away from the talented Drummondville Voltigeurs center. The escalation of their game to another level from prospects such as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Gabriel Landeskog has especially jolted Couturier from his once thought assured top 2 drafting position.
The other major often overlooked factor in Couturier’s season was the fact that he had mononucleosis (mono) in the off-season. It often takes upwards of a year to fully recover from mono and I really think this has affected Sean’s endurance and effectiveness this season.
Prospect Profile: Gabriel Landeskog
Not your ‘prototypical’ European player, Gabriel Landeskog is making waves in the hockey community, having been compared to former Kitchener Captain, Mike Richards. An impact player by choice, Landeskog reeks of perseverance, determination and pure desire to win. An absolute force when he wants to, this Swedish Captain plays the power forward role to a t.
When a teammate needs him, he’s there. Whether to drop the gloves, block a shot, score a goal, or set one up, Landeskog will do it all. Considered the most complete player in this year’s draft, some scouts are drooling over the Rangers Captain, and there has been a case made for him going 1st Overall come June.
When asked about his Captain, Kitchener Head Coach and General Manager is all to eager to slap the impact player label on Landeskog, comparing him to a former Rangers Captain and current Philadelphia Flyers Captain, Mike Richards. Both wear their heart on their sleeve each shift.