ISS Top 30, Risers and Fallers, February 2011

By Int'l Scouting Services

Photo: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is the top prospect in ISS’s February top 30. (Photo courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)

Name Pos Birthdate S/C Ht. Wt. Team League

1. Nugent-Hopkins, Ryan, F 4/12/93 L 6.00.5 170 Red Deer WHL
2. Larsson, Adam, RD 11/12/92 R 6.03 209 Skelleftea SweE
3. Landeskog, Gabriel, LW 11/23/92 L 6.00.25 205 Kitchener OHL
4. Couturier, Sean, C 12/7/92 L 6.04 195 Drummondville QMJHL
5. Murphy, Ryan, RD 3/31/93 R 5.10.25 168 Kitchener OHL
6. Biggs, Tyler, RW 4/30/93 R 6.02 210 USA Under-18 USHL
7. Strome, Ryan, C 7/11/93 R 6.00.25 183 Niagara OHL
8. Siemens, Duncan, LD 9/7/93 L 6.03 197 Saskatoon WHL
9. Hamilton, Douglas, RD 6/17/93 R 6.04 190 Niagara OHL
10. Jensen, Nicklas, F 3/6/93 L 6.02.25 188 Oshawa OHL
11. Saad, Brandon, LW 10/27/92 L 6.01.25 208 Saginaw OHL
12. Armia, Joel, RW 5/31/93 R 6.03 191 Assat FinE
13. Huberdeau, Jonathan C/L 6/4/93 L 6’1.25 168 Saint John QMJHL
14. Khokhlachev, Alexandr F 9/9/93 L 5.10 188 Windsor OHL
15. Musil, David, LD 4/9/93 L 6.03.5 200 Vancouver WHL
16. Grimaldi, Rocco, C 2/8/93 R 5.06 163 USA Under-18 USHL
17. Catenacci, Daniel, C 3/9/93 L 5.09.25 180 S.S. Marie OHL
18. Bell, Myles, RD 8/19/93 R 6.00 209 Regina WHL
19. Jaskin, Dmitri, RW 3/23/93 L 6.01 196 Slavia CzeJr
20. McNeill, Mark, C 2/22/93 R 6.01 204 Prince Albert WHL
21. Rattie, Ty, LW 2/5/93 R 5.11 170 Portland WHL
22. Jacobs, Colin, F 1/20/93 R 6.01 205 Seattle WHL
23. Mayfield, Scott, RD 10/14/92 R 6.03.5 197 Youngstown USHL
24. Rask, Victor, C 3/1/93 L 6.01.5 194 Leksands SweAl
25. Oleksiak, Jamie (Fr.) *, LD 12/21/92 L 6.07 244 Northeastern H.E.
26. Bartschi, Sven, LW 10/5/92 L 5.10.5 175 Portland WHL
27. Zibanejad, Mika, C 4/18/93 R 6.01.5 191 Djurgarden SweJE
28. Puempel, Matthew, LW 1/24/93 L 6.00 198 Peterborough OHL
29. Shore, Nick (Fr.) *, RW 9/26/92 R 5.11.75 195 Denver WCHA
30. Jurco, Tomas, RW 12/28/92 L 6.02 193 Saint John QMJHL


Rising

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C, Red Deer Rebels
Hopkins stock continues to rise at a runaway pace and his performance at the Top Prospect game will only add to that. For his two assist and impressive performance he took home Player of the Game honors. Ryan’s offensive skills can be very explosive. His vision and playmaking skills are already at a Pro level. His puck skills make him a very dangerous team player, when he’s left uncovered in the offensive zone. Nugent-Hopkins was recently named Canadian Hockey League player of the week after scoring 12 points in just two games.

Rocco Grimaldi, C, USA Under 18
Grimaldi was dazzling and spectacular at recent 5 Nation U18 in Czech Republic tournament. Grimaldi may be small, but brushing him off because of his size will lead to a team passing on perhaps one of the best available players in this year’s NHL draft. When Grimaldi gets the puck, something is going to happen. Few players, at any level, can match his quickness. Grimaldi has top 5 skill and will only avoid the top 5 come draft day because of concerns of his size. Buy some stock in this kid.


Jamie Oleksiak, D, Northeastern

Tall lanky stay at home defensemen has impressed ISS scouts with how quickly he has adapted to the speed of college hockey and the size of the opposing players. With the combination of size and skill he has tremendous upside. Oleksiak is part of the Huskies’ talented defensive corps this season, logging upwards of 25 minutes per game.

Nick Shore, RW, Denver
He broke his wrist early on, but is now back to 100% and starting to put the points back up on the board. Shore was named Red Baron WCHA Rookie of the Week for Feb. 8-14. Great shot mechanics. Shore is a player who has a lot of skills and always seems to be in the middle of the action/play. He is very good at getting open in shooting lanes away from puck. He tied for the team lead with 10 points helping Team USA to the gold medal at the 2010 IIHF World Men’s Under-18 Championship in Minsk and Bobruisk, Belarus.

Alexander Khokhlachev, F, Windsor Spitfires
There likely isn’t a prospect for this year’s draft that has experienced such an enigmatic path this season. One of the most electrifying offensive players in the OHL this year, Khokhlachev was left off Russia’s WJC roster and then somehow left off the CHL Top Prospect roster as well. He is ultra-explosive and fearless for his size which has allowed him to be one of the most dangerous net area players in all of the OHL this season. He is a lightning fast skater with fantastic hands and very good offensive intelligence. He has impressive grit which is something that Russians tend to leave at home when they head over to play in the CHL and is a surefire first round prospect. Jump on this kid’s bandwagon, it will get full in a hurry.

Jyrki Jokipakka, D, Ilves
Jokipakka is the poster boy for late bloomers and looks to be one of those players who is going to end up getting his first real draft attention 2 years from his actual draft date. Offensively, Jokipakka reads the play very well and is a confident and capable puck rusher with improving QB ability but is very good as the weak side option. His stickhandling can still improve dramatically but overall Jokipakka is a very complete and well rounded player who is going to play in the NHL.

Daniel Catenacci, C, S.S. Marie Greyhounds
Few players will benefit from their showing at the top prospects game as Catenacci will. The winner of the fastest skater event could arguably be considered the most consistent and eye catching player from the game itself. ISS scouts have marveled at his energy level for some time now and although questions continue to pop up about his size and frame for the next level there are very few players at the NHL level who are as consistently hard working and talented as Catenacci. His work ethic will take him far and will make him one of the early steals of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft for certain, wherever he goes.


Myles Bell, D, Regina Pats

Bell obliterated his competition at the CHL Prospects Game Skills Showcase Hardest Shot competition firing two shots that hit 97 and 98 respectively. Bell is an absolute powerhouse and destroys opponents similar to pucks when engaged. His feisty and combative play during the game itself was also worth of note. Bell really
seems to raise his game when the stakes are high or the best of the best are competing and this is a very promising situation for interested NHL clubs, especially considering his versatility and continuous development.


Ryan Murphy, D, Kitchener Rangers

When the best of the best were together to showcase their abilities, Murphy was once again the best. The offensive dynamo with slick skills managed to show off a desire to win that seemed to be lacking in some of his teammates and also showed his commitment to do things necessary of defenders at the next level by jumping up for a couple of open ice hits during the game. Murphy’s defensive skills have been subject to much concern, and although there wasn’t a big display of improvement in this area his commitment and tenacity in puck battles with the score heavily teetering to the opponents was commendable. Clubs looking for a two-way defender will likely be disappointed if they expect Murphy to adapt to this role, but his offensive upside is enormous and he has consistently been a positive impact player in most ISS viewings. Besides, isn’t the best defence a good offense?


Jordan Binnington, G, Owen Sound Attack

Almost an afterthought when examining the players for the CHL Top Prospect game, Binnington took advantage of some less than spectacular performances by the other invited goaltenders and put on a very good show that had a lot of people comparing the performance to last year’s standout cage performance from Mark Visetin. Visetin’s performance made him a surprise first round selection by the Coyotes and although Binnington’s performance isn’t likely to pay off the same way it will certainly push his draft stock from the bubble to a serious consideration for a lot of NHL teams.

Konstantin Komarek, LW, Luluea
Komarek continues to see improved playing time with Lulea in the Elitserien and rewarded his club for the extra time by notching his first Elitserien goal on January 18th. Komarek remains a well kept secret, and an ISS favorite, who has an exceptional ability to raise his game to the next level every single time. Komarek also managed to put up 5 goals and 5 assists in Austria’s disappointing U20 Div 1 finish that left them short of qualifying for the 2012 WJC by a percentage point of a goal.


Samu Perhonen, G, JYP Jyvaskyla

In a very difficult draft to read the goaltenders, one goalie continues to leap frog the competition. Samu Perhonen could now be considered the best goaltender available for this year’s draft. The big, rangy and athletic goaltender has improved drastically all season long and has left those who doubt his ability to continue to evolve red faced. Perhonen has the potential and the momentum to be perhaps the only goaltender of the 2011 draft who may crack the first round. The task may prove difficult as Finland’s 93 group is not quite as strong as the previous couple of seasons.


Falling

Vladislav Namestnikov, RW, London Knights
Namestnikov’s name on this list may be a tad perplexing as he has really been a catalyst to London’s success recently. The reason Namestnikov is falling is that he wasn’t able to display the skill set that has enticed most NHL scouts who have been to London to watch him play this season during the Top Prospects game. The energetic and electric Russian has made exemplary strides in his two-way game since coming to North America to start this season and has put up very good numbers along the way. The biggest question around Namestnikov is his ability to play at higher levels and whether his game translates when the other players around him are better and the stakes are higher. He has really not been given much of a chance to answer this critique, being left off Russia’s WJC roster and the CHL Top Prospect game performance is going to weigh heavy on him for a while until he can turn it up yet another notch. Namestnikov is the nephew of former NHL star Slava Kozlov and brings a similar appeal with him. While his name may appear to be falling at the moment, he has a bright future ahead of him.

Matt Puempel, LW, Peterborough Petes
Although he was impressive in the CHL Prospect skills showcase, particularly when he knocked out 4 targets in just 5 shots, Puempel was not able to translate this success into the actual prospects game and could easily have been considered one of the biggest disappointments from the showcase. Everyone knows what a talented shooter Puempel is but he has not been able to truly dominate or take control at the higher levels and this will certainly be a major concern for NHL clubs as we head into the draft.

Matt Nieto, F, Boston University
Matt is a two-way player that contributes on all fronts of the ice. He is an exceptional skater with slick mobility and tight control of his edges. Has tremendous vision on the ice – can see the play develop extremely well and seems to always know where his mates will be positioned on the ice. He has quick hands and a soft touch and a wizard like eye/hand coordination that helps him turn up something from what should have been nothing. Nieto is not afraid to battle in the murky areas of the ice to make a play but has shown a soft side in doing so and will have to sharpen his brawn to remain relevant at the next stage of play. Supposedly has mind-blowing speed and a first gear that has pro teams talking but none of these assets were on vast display in ISS’s latest viewings. Nieto must also improve his shooting as his shot currently leaves quite a bit to be desired especially for a player who has heard his name rumbled about in conversations about potential 1st round prospects.

Brandon Saad, LW, Saginaw Spirit
Saad rose up swiftly into the top 10 in December but hasn’t been able to hang on to that momentum. A disappointing January has seen him struggle to put up points and has landed him on the Falling list. There is little doubt that Saad will remain a top round selection come draft day and his level of play has not really fallen like his numbers would suggest but concerns about his ability to consistently produce. His performance at the Top Prospects game was also a bit of a disappointment to those hoping he would justify his potential top 5 rankings. Saad remains a point per game player but he has only scored 3 goals in his last 16 games and that is certainly a red flag at this point.

Brett Ritchie, RW, Sarnia Sting
Ritchie has been diagnosed with mononucleosis, although this diagnosis does little to undermine the benefit of his skill set for the NHL draft, the timing couldn’t be worse. The late teenage years are often a crucial developmental time for young athletes and there will be fear and questions from NHL clubs who were seriously considering spending a high pick on Ritchie. Ritchie had really caught fire in the first half of January putting up 8 goals and 5 assists in 7 games. It is an unfortunate truth of this business and ISS wishes Ritchie a speedy recovery and a flip from the Falling list to the Rising list before the season is out.

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