Guest post by Eldon MacDonald
This is the first of four posts on the top 120 prospects – the NHL 2013 Draft Rankings – War Room Edition.
Gangs of Newark – Intriguing Groupings of Prospects in this Part
1. The Old Folks Crowd: (players passed over in at least one draft) – some talented players in this group.
- MacKenzie Weeger, Halifax
- Myles Bell, Kelowna
- Emil Djuse, Södertälje
- Jaimen Yakubowski, Lethbridge
- Antoine Bibeau, PEI
- JC Lipon, Kamloops
- Dakota Mermis, London
2. The High School Gang:
- Tyler Hill, Hotchkiss HS – now with Chicago Steel
- Teemu Kivihalme, Burnsville HS – MN
- Zach Glienke, Eagan HS – MN
3. The What About Me Gang: the who am I, please add me because of my performance gang.
- Rinat Valiev, Indiana
- Gabryel Paquin-Boudreau, Baie Comeau
- Jesse Lees, Kelowna
4. The Struggling Gang: Players who have not quite met the early season expectations.
- Nicholas Baptiste, Sudbury
- Sean Malone, Team USA NDP U18
- Tyler Motte, Team USA NDP U18
- Josh Burnside, Mississauga
5. The 3rd/4th line Pluggers Gang – every team needs them
- Jackson Houck, Vancouver
- Cole Cassels, Oshawa
- Greg Chase, Calgary
- Saku Salminen, Kiekko-Vantaa, Finland-2
6. The Injury Guy (out for the season)
- Miro Aaltonen, Blues (SM-liiga)
Historic Success Rate
Some of these guys will pan out as planned but historically only about 19% or 6 players from below will make it as full time NHLers.
NHL 2013 Draft War Room Top 120 March Rankings (Part 1: 91-120)
(Success rate = 19%)
91. Weeger, Mackenzie, Halifax (Herd History), QMJHL, D, R, 5’11, 181 lb. – Draft eligible 2012
- Other rankings – NHL Central Scouting Combined Rankings: 283
- YTD: 54g 36pts +45
- Feb-13: 8g 8ts +9
- Jan-13: 11g 10pts +12
- Dec-12: 10g 7pts +6
- Comments: Yes, he is under-sized, and yes, he is in his 2nd year of NHL draft eligibility. But he is in his rookie year in the Q and is 1st not just on his team but also the league in plus-minus ranking. And he plays 1st unit D and 1st unit power play. He is consistently good night after night – has the opportunity to significantly move up in the draft if he continues to improve as he has done so far this year. He had a very, very good January, got injured for a short time in February.
- Other rankings – NHL 118
- YTD: 62g 85pts +39
- Feb-13: 12g 17pts +3
- Jan-13: 12g 15pts +11
- Dec-12: 11g 14pts +4
- Comments: I remember when this guy was first eligible in 2011 – defenseman with a big shot who sometimes struggled defensively – was supposed to be a 2nd rounder until he was involved in a fatal car accident where his passenger died from the accident – still not sure of the legal issues surrounding the accident. Then comes 2013, Myles Bell is re-made as a forward, puts up the big points, has a very high plus minus; still has the big shot. Where this guy goes is a poser for sure but remember he was a 2nd rounder on most rankings in 2011 before legal issues relating to the accident arose.
- Other rankings – NHL: 115, Chris Ralph: 92
- YTD: 14g 6pts +6
- Feb-13: 9g 4pts +3
- Jan-13: 2g 0pts -1
- Dec-12: Played at Hotchkiss HS
- Comments: No, I haven’t seen him play but if the reports on him are anyways near to being correct, he is that huge power forward every team is looking for. However, we will have to wait until he gets a few games under his belt now that the high school season is over (he has joined the Chicago Steel of the USHL) to get a true read on this guy.
- Other rankings – NHL: 75, Chris Ralph: 67
- YTD: 61g 55pts +25
- Feb-13: 11g 5pts -2
- Jan-13: 12g 17pts +11
- Dec-12: 9g 6pts +6
- Comments: Fabulous January, the kid can shoot and score. Needs to add significant mass to have a chance of making it. Playing with likely 1st rounder Valentin Zykov and Captain Felix Girard, Gabryel is likely to get the playing time necessary to show his stuff before the June draft.
- Other rankings – NHL: 193
- YTD: 36g 13pts -6
- Feb-13: None
- Jan-13: 9g 4pts -3
- Dec-12: 8g 5pts -3
- 5 Nations: 4g 5pts
- Comments: OK, who knew? Quietly having a Clark Kent like season at Indiana, decent but not awe-inspiring. And then, he was arguably the best played not named Valeri Nichushkin at the recent 5 Nations Tournament. And yes, his team, Team Russia, won the tournament.
- Other rankings – NHL: 103
- YTD: 25g 30pts
- Feb-13: 5g 8pts
- Jan-13: 9g 11pts
- Dec-12: 10g 10pts
- Comments: Top rated high school defenseman by NHL Central Scouting (three places higher than Tommy Vannelli). Teemu possesses elite skating and very good passing skills. Like most high schoolers, needs to pack on some pounds to be effective going up the ladder. By the way, his Dad is the coach of the team.
- Other rankings – NHL: 141, Chris Ralph: 85
- YTD: 61g 43pts -1
- Feb-13: 11g 8pts -4
- Jan-13: 11g 10pts +5
- Dec-12: 10g 10pts +0
- Comments: Big guy with big potential; just hasn’t realized it yet. Starting to play better with the puck on his stick; needs to significantly improve when it is not. Has been better of late (almost a point a game in the last three months) but still needs to improve his overall game.
98. Houck, Jackson, Vancouver, WHL, RW, R, 6’0, 184 lb. – Draft eligible 2013
- Other rankings – NHL: 152, Chris Ralph 94
- YTD: 64g 54pts -14
- Feb-13: 12g 9 pts -12
- Jan-13: 14g 13pts -2
- Dec-12: 11g 11pts +4
- Comments: Potential 3rd line winger with energy, grit, reasonable offense; consistently one of Vancouver’s (my former home town) top players even when the others are not very good.
- His connection with Chris Chelios and Tony Granato (The Province)
- Other rankings – NHL: 128, Chris Ralph: 60
- YTD: 62g 43pts +10
- Feb-13: 12g 9pts +1
- Jan-13: 13g 9pts +7
- Dec-12: 11g 8pts +4
- Comments: The nephew of 10 year NHLer Kelly Chase, Greg brings a physical presence to the game, a strong work ethic and someone you can count on each night. His skills are likely to be most useful for a 3rd or 4th liner. Will never be a big scorer but has reasonable offensive skills. Another player playing in one of my former hometowns.
100. Cassels, Cole, Oshawa, OHL, C, R, 6’0, 178 lb. – Draft eligible 2013
- Other rankings – NHL: 81, Chris Ralph: 65
- YTD: 59g 39pts +3
- Feb-13: 12g 8pts +5
- Jan-13: 12g 8pts -2
- Dec-12: 8g 7pts -1
- Comments: The son of former NHLer Andrew Cassels is both a chip of the old block with his passing skills and his own man as he plays a much grittier game than his Dad. Could make it as a 3rd liner if he were to significantly improve his weight and strength.
101. Djuse, Emil, Södertälje, Allsvenskan, D, L, 6’0, 185 lb. – Draft eligible 2011
- Other rankings – NHL: 127
- YTD: 34g 12pts -7
- WJC-U20: 6g 2pts +0
- Comments: Skilled, coachable, on Sweden’s U20 team – bypassed twice, too good to let it happen again.
102. Yakubowski, Jaimen, Lethbridge, WHL, LW, L, 5’10, 202 lb. – Draft eligible 2012
- Other rankings – NHL Unranked
- YTD: 63g 49pts -1
- Feb-13: 9g 5pts +0
- Jan-13: 13g 9pts -2
- Dec-12: 10g 13pts +0
- Comments: Short and squat like Tie Domi, Jaimen Yakubowski can be a force to be reckoned with out there whether it is dropping the gloves, shooting (which he is very good at) or laying down the hits. Do not let the size fool you, this player is built like a bowling bowl and likes to treat the opposing players as mere bowling pins.
103. Cederholm, Anton, Rögle J20, SWE J20, L, D, 6’2, 204 lb. – Draft eligible 2013
- Other rankings – NHL: 97
- YTD: 21g 9pts +19
- Comments: Strong defenseman with good size. Has moved up to the Elitserien and does not look out of place.
104. Aaltonen, Miro, Blues, SM-liiga, C/LW, L, 5’10, 169 lb. – Draft eligible 2011
- Other rankings – NHL: 125
- YTD: 32g 16pts -2
- Feb-13: Injured
- Jan-13: Injured
- WJC-U20: 1g 3pts +2
- Comments: Smallish, injured, passed over twice – why would this guy be drafted? Well, he has drawn very positive comments from those close to him in Finland where he plays in the Finnish elite league and did you see him in Finland’s first game at the U20’s – for me, their best player until he got injured and was lost for the remainder of his season.
105. Saros, Juuse, HPK U20, FIN U20, G, L, 5’10, 181 lb. – Draft eligible 2013
- Other rankings – NHL: 57
- YTD: 29g 1.83 .933
- 5 Nations: 3g 2.35.929
- Comments: Smallish goaltender with miniscule goals against and high save %. Rated the top European goaltender by NHL Central Scouting. The high emphasis placed on size for today’s NHL goaltenders makes this guy a difficult person to place in the draft. A player to watch in the international tournaments coming up, especially the U18.
106. Malone, Sean, US NDP U18, USHL, C, L, 5’11, 185 lb. – Draft eligible 2013
- Other rankings – NHL 134
- YTD: 39g 26pts +17
- Feb-13: 7g 3pts +4
- Jan-13: 10g 7pts +7
- Dec-12: 4g 2pts +1
- Comments: The US NDP team, as a group, has been an under-performing team so far. However, the big international tournaments are just starting so maybe we will begin to see a turnaround reminiscent of past years.
107. Bibeau, Antoine, PEI, QMJHL, G, L, 6’2, 190 lb. – Draft eligible 2012
- Other rankings – NHL unranked
- YTD: 39g 2.94 .906
- Feb-13 7g 3.26 .878
- Jan-13: 10g 2.91 .908
- Dec-12: 6g 2.70 .921
- Comments: Overage goalie on a so-so team defensively. Has the 3rd best save percentage in the Q and has that big goalie look and feel. Goalie’s tend to mature at different times than other players so I think this guy will get a serious look second time around.
108. Salminen, Saku, Kiekko-Vantaa, Finland-2, C, L, 6’3, 198 lb. – Draft eligible 2013
- Other rankings – NHL: 205
- YTD: 12g 5pts +1
- Jan-13: 6g 0pts -1
- WJC-U20: 6 0 -1
Comments: Big body, defensive specialist; needs to improve his skating. 109. Dahlström, Carl, Linköping J20, SWE J20, D, L, 6’4, 212 lb. – Draft eligible 2013
- Other rankings – NHL: 184
- YTD: 20g 12pts +20
- Comments: Big, mobile guy, on Team Sweden’s Five Nations Team. Likes to play offensively but does not have that big imposing to shot – a guy to watch at the U18’s.
110. Motte, Tyler, US NDP U-18, USHL, LW, R, 5’9, 184 lb. – Draft eligible 2013
- Other rankings – NHL: 146
- YTD: 49g 28pts +12
- Feb-13: 7g 2pts +2
- Jan-13: 10g 8pts +7
- Dec-12: 8g 1pts +0
- Comments: Small offensive player; has not played up to expectations this year. Is there more to come from this guy; plenty of hockey yet to play.
111. Cammarata, Taylor, Waterloo, USHL, C/LW, L, 5’7, 156 lb. – Draft eligible 2013
- Other rankings – NHL unranked, Chris Ralph: 55
- YTD: 44g 73pts +28
- Feb-13: 10g 16pts +2
- Jan-13: 10g 12pts +11
- Dec-12: 9g 12pts +2
- Comments: Unranked by Central Scouting, Taylor, like fellow smaller sized players (Sergey Tolchinsky, Sault Ste. Marie, 5’9, 160 – NHL 201 and Martin Reway, Gatineau, 5’8, 158 – NHL 239) is a highly skilled and highly successful player who does not get ranking respect due to size and strength considerations. Some will have this guy much higher but I have him 4th round.
112. Lees, Jesse, Kelowna, WHL, D, L, 6’0, 180 lb. – Draft eligible 2013
- Other rankings – NHL Unranked
- YTD: 58g 27pts +35
- Feb-13: 10g 2pts -4
- Jan-13: 14g 11pts +13
- Dec-12: 8g 1pts -4
- Comments: Cooled off a bit after a wowser January – still a lot to like from a guy who is just two days from being a 2014 eligible. Still needs to add size and strength but his skating, agility and shooting abilities make him a guy to consider – not to mention his production.
113. Glienke, Zach, Eagan HS, HS MN, LW, L, 6’3, 200 lb. – Draft eligible 2013
- Other rankings: NHL: 154
- YTD: 28g 64pts
- Comments: Size, skating, results – Zach is that big boy high schooler that teams like to draft mid to late round in the hopes that the player develops into a steal.
114. Johnson, Luke, Lincoln, USHL, C, R, 5’11, 178 lb. – Draft eligible 2013
- Other rankings – NHL: 108
- YTD: 42g 33pts +11
- Feb-13: 10g 6pts +0
- Jan-13: 8g 9pts +5
- Dec-12: 11g 9pts +7
- Comments: Yes, his uncle (Chad) is the current coach of the Lincoln Stars and his dad (Steve) used to coach the team but it is Luke who people go to see. He has the skills – skating, shooting and passing to be good offensively and the results for January show the stride he has made this year after a very slow start to the season. Needs to bulk up and also work on his defensive game to be successful as he works his way up the ladder.
115. Lipon, JC, Kamloops, WHL, RW, R, 6’0, 181 lb. – Draft eligible 2011
- Other rankings – NHL: 131, Chris Ralph: 78
- YTD: 56g 80pts +28
- Feb-13: 11g 11pts +5
- Jan-13: 11g 13pts -2
- Dec-12: 5g 3pts +0
- WJC-U20: 5g 0pts +0
- Comments: Had this guy higher previously but he looked out of place for the most part at the U20’s; hence, the drop.
116. Lipsbergs, Roberts, Seattle, WHL, LW, L, 5’11, 195 lb. – Draft eligible 2012
- Other rankings – NHL: 83
- YTD: 57g 48pts -11
- Feb-13: 13g 9pts +0
- Jan-13: 9g 6pts -5
- Dec-12: 8g 10pts -2
- Comments: Smallish Latvian player who added some weight and strength over the off-season. The kid likes to go to the net and score. Although passed over last year, a solid finish to the season will likely produce a different result this year.
117. De Jong, Nolan, Victoria, BCHL, D, L, 6’2’ 180 lb. – Draft eligible 2013
- Other rankings: NHL: 202
- YTD: 48g 24pts
- Comments: Defenseman of decent size who plays a more offensive game than physical. Won a silver medal with Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge in Yarmouth, NS and looked good in doing so.
118. Mermis, Dakota, London, OHL, D, L, 5’11, 190 lb. – Draft eligible 2012
- Other rankings: NHL: 211
- YTD: 20g 11pts +13
- Feb-13: 10g 2pts +3
- Jan-13: 9g 9pts +8
- Dec-12: Not in CHL
- Comments: Started the year at the University of Denver and then switched to London in January. Plays bigger than his size. Has been dominant at times, not quite so effective at others. The jury is definitely still out on this guy but he has shown enough that he definitely will be drafted this year.
119. Burnside, Josh, Mississauga, OHL, LW, L, 5’11, 176 lb. – Draft eligible 2013
- Other rankings – NHL: 124, Chris Ralph: 86
- YTD: 60g 27pts -11
- Feb-13: 0g pts -6
- Jan-13: 12g 6pts -6
- Dec-12: 9g 6pts -1
- Comments: Still has not produced the points he is capable of and is also under-sized. However, his skating talent, his defensive potential and his fore-checking qualities make him a guy you don’t want to overlook.
120. Antonen, Joose, JYP-Akatemia, Finland-2, LW, R, 6’2, 183 lb. – Draft eligible 2013
- Other rankings – NHL 125
- YTD: 30g 11 pts +6
- Comments: Decent – size, shot and hands – needs to put it all together.
- Bob MacKenzie – Bob’s TSN mid-season poll of NHL scouts – Out January 30th, 2013
- NHL – My combination of NHL Central Scoutings’ segregated mid-season rankings
- Chris Ralph – The Next Ones Top 100 Mid-term Rankings
Chris is THW’s senior draft/prospect analyst and a Managing Editor. Watch for “The Next Ones” Prospect Profile series, exclusive rankings, mock drafts, as well as the annual THW NHL Entry Draft Guide. Follow @ChrisRalphYQ on Twitter as he infiltrates, dissects and analyzes all happenings of hockey prospects and the NHL entry draft. Email: cralph[at]thehockeywriters[dot]com