ISS Top 30, Risers and Fallers, February 2012

By Int'l Scouting Services

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

1. Yakupov, Nail, LW 10/6/93 L 5.10.5 189 Sarnia OHL
2. Grigorenko, Mikhail, RW 5/16/94 L 6.03.25 200 Québec QMJHL
3. Forsberg, Filip, RW 8/13/94 R 6.01 176 Leksands SweAl
4. Trouba, Jacob, RD 2/26/94 R 6.02 196 USA Under-18 NTDP
5. Murray, Ryan, LD 9/27/93 L 6.00.5 201 Everett WHL
6. Dumba, Matt, RD 7/25/94 R 5.11.75 183 Red Deer WHL
7. Gaunce, Brendan, C 3/25/94 L 6.02 215 Belleville OHL
8. Rielly, Morgan, LD 3/9/94 L 5.11.5 190 Moose Jaw WHL
9. Ceci, Cody, RD 12/21/93 R 6.02.5 207 Ottawa OHL
10. Reinhart, Griffin, LD 1/24/94 L 6.03.75 207 Edmonton WHL
11. Collberg, Sebastian, RW 2/23/94 R 5.11 Vastra SweJE
12. Maatta, Olli, LD 8/22/94 L 6.01.5 202 London OHL
13. Finn, Matthew, LD 2/24/94 L 6.00.25 195 Guelph OHL
14. Skjei, Brady, LD 3/26/1994 L 6.03 203 USA Under-18 NTDP
15. Aberg, Pontus, LW 9/23/93 R 5.11 187 Djurgarden SweE
16. Galchenyuk, Alexander, RW 2/12/94 L 6.00.5 198 Sarnia OHL
17. Koekkoek, Slater, LD 2/18/94 L 6.02 184 Peterborough OHL
18. Pouliot, Derrick, D 1/16/94 L 5.11.25 186 Portland WHL
19. Faksa, Radek, LW 1/9/94 L 6.03 202 Kitchener OHL
20. Girgensons, Zemgus, F 1/5/94 L 6.01.25 201 Dubuque USHL
21. Thrower, Dalton, RD, 12/20/93 R 5.11.25 189 Saskatoon WHL
22. Bystrom, Ludvig, LD 7/29/94 L 6.00.75 208 Modo SweE
23. Maidens, Jarrod, C 3/4/94 L 6.00.5 178 Owen Sound OHL
24. Hertl, Tomas, LW 11/12/93 L 6.02 198 Slavia CzeE
25. Matteau, Stefan, LW 2/23/94 L 6.01 210 USA Under-18 NTDP
26. Matheson, Mike, LD 2/27/94 L 6.01.25 180 Dubuque USHL
27. Sissons, Colton, C/R 11/5/93 L 6.01 189 Kelowna WHL
28. Kerdiles, Nicholas, C/L 1/11/94 L, 6.01.5 200 USA Under-18 NTDP
29. Athanasiou, Andreas, C 8/6/94 L 6.00 179 London OHL
30. Winther, Mike, C 1/9/94 L 5.11 175 Prince Albert WHL


Rising

Nail Yakupov, RW, Sarnia Sting

This ultra-skilled RW has phenomenal offensive ability, and is blessed with exceptional acceleration. Yakupov moving back to #1 in ISS Feb. Rankings should be viewed more a case of him rising than Grigorenko falling.

He excelled at displaying his superiority on his skates, showing extremely explosive acceleration and tremendous stride and good lower body power. His technique allows him to accelerate off his edges very well as well as change direction in the blink of an eye. Yakupov learning curve is still projecting upward, and the sky could be the limit with this kid.


Dalton Thrower, D, Saskatoon Blades

In a draft full of strong defensive prospects, Thrower is the diamond in the rough. Rough being the operative word. Thrower does it all and does it all well. He skates well, plays his position with intelligence and aggression, has a great shot, can set up the powerplay well, blocks shots, hits hard and when we say he can fight, he can really fight. Thrower doesn’t back down from any situation or any player and will often stand up to the biggest toughest opponents like it’s what he was born to do. A real character player, Thrower is a top round talent and is shaping up to be a real steal if he falls out of the top 20.

Brady Skjei, D, USA Under-18

Skjei has rocketed up the charts after showing off his stuff with USA at the U18 5-Nations – Pori on top of several favorable early season viewings. Skjei is a highly skilled puck moving defenseman who possesses a ton of physical tools and ability. An excellent skater, displaying great mobility, speed and quickness. He has the ability to carry and handle the puck. He just oozes a ton of natural ability.

Raphael Bussieres, LW, Baie-Comeau Drakkar

A very well rounded player, Bussieres continues to develop and show off new versatility and new aspects of his game. His rough and tumble play during the CHL Top Prospects Game was a pleasant surprise to many in attendance, as was the fact that he showed no hesitation in dropping the gloves with the notoriously strong and tough Matt Dumba. Bussieres projects best as a two-way guy who can fill a role while contributing some decent secondary offense.


Chris Driedger, G, Calgary Hitmen

His Calgary Hitmen are on a roll and his star continues to climb. While Matt Murray got most of the attention for his play during the Top Prospect Game, Driedger was equally as good, if not better and should have cemented himself in the top 5 goalie talk for the draft. Driedger is already very good, but has shown incredible development in his ability to track the puck and adjust to rebounds this season. He still has a ton to learn and seems eager to put in the work to do so.

Mikael Wikstrand, D, Mora

The U19 5-Nations in Kreuzlingen wouldn’t normally attract a lot of attention from ISS scouts, however with top prospect Pontus Aberg expected in the lineup, you take advantage of the opportunity. Despite Aberg getting hurt in 1st game ISS scout Dany Gelinas came away saying "all was worthwhile" largely due to talented Swedish d-men Wikstrand outstanding performance. Gelinas says "best defensemen of the tournament, played with confidence, simple but effective player in all compartments of the game, good transition game, good 1st pass. Good coverage of the blue line, good skating skill, proper body positioning and quick feet. He did not need a lot of time and space for a blue line shot, he find the net. Not flashy, he keeps the game simple and effective. Late bloomer, player to watch. It would be interesting to see him play against stronger opposition, to see if he can raise his level".

Brandon Magee, C, Victoria Royals

Left off the Top Prospect roster, told he’s too small to play at even the WHL level, the stigma around Magee is seemingly unavoidable for most. This kid just gets no respect, yet he keeps on producing and keeps on impressing. Watch Brandon Magee once and doubts will creep in, but he quickly erases them with his hardnosed all out determination and superior skill. Magee fell in the WHL bantam draft for the same reasons and has emerged as one of the top forwards for age group, and from what we’ve seen over and over again, he seems primed to do the same to the NHL draft. Writing him off for any reason is a huge mistake.


Falling

Andreas Athanasiou, LW, London Knights

The super talented offensive speedster had everyone in awe of his ability during the summer with his play at Canada’s U18 evaluation camp and the Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament, but has not been able to dominate at that pace throughout the OHL season thus far. His development seems to have reached a plateau for the time being at least, and that has ISS a little worried as far as projecting him for the next levels. We are still big fans and believe that some increased contribution down the stretch drive and into the playoffs should help erase the doubts that have creeped in over the season.

Coda Gordon, LW, Swift Current Broncos

Gordon burst out of the gates with strong numbers and consistent production, but has failed to maintain his pace or display much in terms of pro-potential over the past couple months. Gordon is a player that will be watched closely over the coming months as he is proving to be one of the most mysterious players for this year’s NHL draft.