The big surprise in the OHL is Ryan Ellis being ranked 7th. He's second in scoring with 38 points. His size might be the factor, as he is 5'9. This is the new NHL where size isn't as an issue like it use to be.
OHL Prospects agrees with me.
At this point in the season, I just can't see how Ryan Ellis can be rated number 7. Yes he's slightly undersized, but the talent level is so high. If he's still top 3 in scoring by the end of the season, I'll eat my hat if he's the 7th OHL player taken in the draft.
The WHL has some great prospects for this upcoming draft. Evander Kane has been shooting up the rankings. He rated as the second best player after Jared Cowen. Tomas Vincour at 17 surprises me, he was highly touted when he came to North America last year. He has 10 goals and 20 points in 26 games. I though he would in the Top 8. Collin Bowman at 22 surprised me too.
The QMJHL will probably have two sure fire first rounders. Olivier Roy will be probably the first goaltender taken in this draft. No goalie as of right now will challenge him. I do think Brandon Maxwell and Mike Lee could go in the first round but I don't believe eiher of them are in Roy's class. That could change though.
The second player that will see his name called from the QMJHL ranks is Dmitry Kulikov. I am surprised he's ranked behind Simon Despres. Don't get me wrong, Drespres is a good defenseman but I see Kulikov having more upside.
Other them Ellis, Jacob Josefson being ranked ahead of Magnus Svensson-Paajarvi surprises me. Josefson seems like to be the safer pick but if Paajarvi is still on the board at 7, I will be surprised.
This could be a very bad year for Russia. The most hyped Russian for this draft has been Andrei Kuchin and he's ranked the 19th best Russian. They will rebound in 2010 with two high quality prospects.
Finland's Toni Rajala is the third ranked Finnish player. I watched him when Finland played USA in Lake Placid a few weeks ago. He looked good but his linemate was the stard. Richard Panik who's playing in the Czech Republic but is from Slovakia is ranked the best player playing in Czech Republic. He didn't play in the Ivan Hlinka and could of came over to North America to play for the Windsor Spitfires. He would be getting more hype if he come over.
One thing that NHL Central Scouting has done in the past but didn't do this time around was compile two lists which listed all the North American players in one list and the Europeans in the other list. It gave an indicator where players playing in the USHL, Canada Junior A, and High School players fit in with the Major Junior players.
Because when they list the players not playing in the CHL or Europe is misleading. For example, Brian Dumoulin who's playing for the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs was rated as a Type A player. Which means a player that could go in the Top 60. Do I think he will go in the Top 60 probably not but he's been getting some hype lately.
That's My Take
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)