ISS Top 30, Risers and Fallers, December 2011

By Int'l Scouting Services
Photo: Nail Yakupov (pictured) will be competing with fellow Russian Mikhail Grigorenko as the top prospect going into the 2012 NHL Draft. (Photo courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

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

1. Grigorenko, Mikhail, RW 5/16/94 L 6.03.25 200 Québec QMJHL
2. Yakupov, Nail, LW 10/6/93 L 5.10.5 189 Sarnia OHL
3. Forsberg, Filip, RW 8/13/94 R 6.01 176 Leksands SweAl
4. Murray, Ryan, LD 9/27/93 L 6.00.5 201 Everett WHL
5. Dumba, Matt, RD 7/25/94 R 5.11.75 183 Red Deer WHL
6. Trouba, Jacob, RD 2/26/94 R 6.02 196 USA Under-18 NTDP
7. Gaunce, Brendan, C 3/25/94 L 6.02 215 Belleville OHL
8. Aberg, Pontus, LW 9/23/93 R 5.11 187 Djurgarden SweE
9. Rielly, Morgan, LD 3/9/94 L 5.11.5 190 Moose Jaw WHL
10. Ceci, Cody, RD 12/21/93 R 6.02.5 207 Ottawa OHL
11. Maatta, Olli, LD 8/22/94 L 6.01.5 202 London OHL
12. Reinhart, Griffin, LD 1/24/94 L 6.03.75 207 Edmonton WHL
13. Koekkoek, Slater, LD 2/18/94 L 6.02 184 Peterborough OHL
14. Maidens, Jarrod, C 3/4/94 L 6.00.5 178 Owen Sound OHL
15. Collberg, Sebastian, RW 2/23/94 R 5.11 Vastra SweJE
16. Athanasiou, Andreas, C 8/6/94 L 6.00 179 London OHL
17. Frk, Martin, RW 10/5/93 L 5.11.5 204 Halifax QMJHL
18. Galchenyuk, Alexander, RW 2/12/94 L 6.00.5 198 Sarnia OHL
19. Girgensons, Zemgus, F 1/5/94 L 6.01.25 201 Dubuque USHL
20. Pouliot, Derrick, D 1/16/94 L 5.11.25 186 Portland WHL
21. Kerdiles, Nicholas, C/L 1/11/94 L, 6.01.5 200 USA Under-18 NTDP
22. Slepyshev, Anton, LW 5/13/94 R 6.02 187 Novokuznetsk KHL
23. Matheson, Mike, LD 2/27/94 L 6.01.25 180 Dubuque USHL
24. Finn, Matthew, LD 2/24/94 L 6.00.25 195 Guelph OHL
25. Sissons, Colton, C/R 11/5/93 L 6.01 189 Kelowna WHL
26. Bystrom, Ludvig, LD 7/29/94 L 6.00.75 208 Modo SweE
27. Wilson, Thomas, RW 3/29/94 R 6.03.5 203 Plymouth OHL
28. Faksa, Radek, LW 1/9/94 L 6.03 202 Kitchener OHL
29. Matteau, Stefan, LW 2/23/94 L 6.01 210 USA Under-18 NTDP
30. Skjei, Brady, LD 3/26/1994 L 6.03 203 USA Under-18 NTDP

Rising

Tanner Pearson, LW, Barrie Colts
The undrafted Ontario league scoring leader has gained a ton of attention in the past couple months because of his gaudy point totals with the Barrie Colts. Tanner shows an elite game on the puck and can create so much coming off the wing. Whether it has been with Scheifele, Hall, Beyers, he has been able to put up big time points which shows it’s not just him feeding off the likes of Scheifele. He also has very underrated passing and playmaking instincts and executes plays without hesitation. WJC invite is much deserved and will mean a lot for his stock.

Connor Honey, RW, Seattle Thunderbirds
A surprising move from the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers to the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL has put a bit of a spotlight on Honey, one that is surely to continue to grow as his exposure increases. Long an ISS darkhorse, Honey continues to show tremendous improvement in his technical skill sets and has added size as well. His energetic and determined style makes him easy to notice and he is capable of putting up good offensive numbers as well. Certainly a player to keep an eye on over the coming months and one that will gather further momentum as he settles into the WHL. Honey is a player that will be added to draft lists across the board as the year moves on.

Brandon Devlin, D, Windsor Spitfires
Draft Sleeper! Smooth mobile defender with good size and soft hands. While ISS scouts were following the Spitfires recently, mostly to see Ebert, scouts came away more impressed with Devlin. Expect him to move up the charts as the year goes along. See’s the offensive ice well and shows a good ability to handle the puck. He makes a crisp first pass, has an excellent panic threshold and does his job well around his own net.

Brandon Troock, RW, Seattle Thunderbirds

Troock has been impressive in several ISS viewings this year and was one of our favorite bantam draft picks from a couple seasons ago. Potential is the big draw with Troock, as he has a great package of size, skill and compete. He has emerging power forward potential and does a lot of the little things right every shift. He has yet to put up big numbers but they will come as he continues to develop and learns how to properly use his continuingly growing body to his optimal advantage.

Brett Kulak, D, Vancouver Giants
Kulak is the type of player that you like more and more every time you see him. He matches up extremely well against opposing team’s top players and contains well while eliminating passing lanes. The poised Kulak will certainly gain the appeal of NHL clubs who aren’t quite ready to commit to some of the riskier offensive d-men that are available. Has an added level of toughness to his game this season and has really impressed ISS scouts. Late bloomer, was Van 9th Rnd. Pick in 2009 Bantam Draft while only 5.06 / 140 now at 6.00.25 and leading the Giants with plus 20.

Alessio Bertaggia, LW, Brandon Wheat Kings
Swiss imports continue to impress in the CHL and diminutive offensive magician Bertaggia is no exception. Undrafted in 2011, Bertaggia chose to come to North America to hone his skills and has been a very pleasant surprise for the Wheat Kings. He may be small, but his attitude and desire would never indicate that as he is fearless and tenacious after the puck and will seemingly do anything to get it. He has electrifying speed and ultra quick hands, cuts away from opponents with ankle breaking change of directions off the rush and isn’t afraid to drive the net with the puck. Size is a concern going forward but his skill level is high enough that he can shake the small guy stigma.

Radek Faksa, C, Kitchener Rangers

Another import selection making noise in the Canadian Hockey League, Faksa has been lights out for the Kitchener Rangers this season. The big bodied Faksa is still developing his skills to work with his great frame but he has proven a capable and talented offensive threat all season long. He has excellent instincts with the puck and possesses a very strong shooting technique that allows him to pick his spots quickly and accurately. He has shown very little problems in adapting to the North American style of game and has even been noted to mix it up a bit from time to time. His pro potential is off the charts and ISS scouts feel he hasn’t even come close to displaying just how good he will actually be.

Emil Lundberg, LW, Sodertalje

A huge winger who can bulldoze his way into space, Lundberg has shown well in his first season in Sweden‘s second highest league, the Allsvenskan, putting up more points than highly touted Swedish star Filip Forsberg. Lundberg plays to his strengths and continues to learn how to be a power forward, but also has proven to be a coachable player and one that works hard in both directions. He is aggressive in battles along the wall and around the net but also shows great discipline and rarely takes a bad penalty. He best suited as a grinding garbage goal type player but can also score off the rush with his good shot and be a strong trigger man from the circles on the PP. In the collective opinion of ISS scouts, Lundberg has not received the attention he deserves from the NHL and will certainly gain some respect and attention as the season continues.

Tomas Hyka, F, Gatineau Olympiques
A smart and shifty offensive talent who has a very good understanding of the game with the puck, Hyka is sky rocketing up draft charts and turning heads in every rink he plays in. Very quick outside speed down the wing and quick feet to jump into the rush. Has very quick hands and showed ability to stay strong on the puck for his size.

Olli Maatta, D, London Knights
Big Finn who continues to win over North American scouts with his solid all-around game. The ultra-reliable Maatta does everything well and continues to develop his skills to adapt to the North American game. There are a lot of high end potential defenders available in the 2012 NHL entry draft, but very few are as safe a bet as Maatta. Expect Maatta to play a vital role for Finland in this year’s WJC and don’t be surprised if he asked to take on a leadership role as well. There is very little not to like about Maatta and the further the microscope closes in on him, the more appealing he seems to get.

James Melindy, D, Moncton Wildcats
Another "favorite" that ISS scouts have viewed for 2/3 years and believe the best is yet to come with this kid. Melindy possesses an attractive set of physical tools; he has good size, which he uses on a consistent basis, and better then average hands. He displays good skating and overall mobility and can be pretty crafty with the puck. This big offensive d-men has some intriguing offensive upside. He is used in shootouts quite often by coach Danny Flynn, Melindy has quick hands and good offensive instincts.

Jake Paterson, G, Saginaw Spirit

When you first watch Paterson he isn’t the biggest goalie but his ability to stay square and always be in position is excellent. He has calm movement and can stay with the play, remains in good position with lateral movement. He battles well in the net and stood his ground when opponents drove the net, even getting run over in one instance and still holding onto the puck. He made several big time glove saves and one which was a game saver from putting the score at 4-3 from a bomb by Blujus which showed his battle and ability to put the two quick goals behind him.

Falling

Chris Marchese, LW, Windsor Spitfires
Was Erie’s 1st Round Pick, 11th Overall in 2010 OHL draft. At recent viewing ISS scout came away unimpressed with his effort, he lacked battle and grit on the forecheck and was caught flat footed multiple times. Whether fitness is a problem, upset with his teams’ horrible play so far this season or simply is a one dimensional player, either way he has shown ISS he lacks THAT effort and passion it takes to make it to the next level.

Jaynen Rissling, D, Calgary Hitmen

Rissling benefited greatly from being the youngest defender on a stacked Hitmen blueline the last couple of seasons, but this year he’s the only one left, and while the Hitmen have done a very good job of restocking their cupboards, Rissling was expected to achieve much more than he has been able to do so far this season. In fact, the early part of the season had ISS scouts feeling like Rissling had taken a major step backwards. The work ethic that was prominent when he was fighting for ice time in one of the best D-corps in junior hockey has been impossible to see anymore, his confidence now looks more like arrogance and his status as a can’t miss NHL blueline prospect is in serious jeopardy.

Miles Koules, F, USNTDP

The knock on Koules is that he doesn’t seem to be improving at the pace that he demonstrated as a rookie last year with USA U-17 Team. With just 2 goals in 26 games with U-18 team he hasn’t stepped up like other prospects and scouts who once saw him as being the ultimate second line goal scorer now are reconsidering his projections.

Nick Ebert, D, Windsor Spitfires
A serious decline in his offensive effectiveness and questions about his commitment and work ethic have affected the appeal of Ebert, who was once believed to be among the elite prospects in this draft. The stall of his development at this point is a real reason for concern and unless he can right the ship quickly he is danger of falling far down the draft depth chart. It is highly unlikely that he will fall completely off the draft board, but the questions that have come up surround him lately have at least made that a conversation piece and it is definitely a situation worth keeping tabs on. With that being said, Ebert has the talent and potential that if he can improve his efforts and consistency he could rise even faster than he falls.

Justin Kea, C, Saginaw Spirit

Much more was expected from Kea by Saginaw when they selected him with 1st Round Pick, 13th Overall in 2010 OHL draft. This budding power forward has a lot of tools in his shed but has not been able to consistently display an effective combination of his skill and grit for much more than a handful of shifts in some games, let alone showing doing it in long stretches of games. His long stretches of inconsistent play will turn off a lot of NHL clubs from his potential.

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