Lack of star power produced mediocre event
The three top-ranked players by both the International Scouting Services (ISS) and the NHL Central Scouting Bureau are playing in the U.S. As a result of those three absences, the 2006 version of the CHL Top Prospect Game lacked the usual star power and buzz.
Although the game was littered with a wide assortment of skilled participants including Peter Mueller, Jordan Staal, James Sheppard and Bryan Little, the sparse crowd, inclement weather and poor play hampered a usually exciting game.
“The top players played well and didn’t hurt their status but very little was done by them to distance themselves from some of their lower ranked teammates” said Mark Seidel, Chief Scout for ISS. “There were some surprising performances and the key for some players was that they accentuated the skill set they have throughout the game to emphasize their potential roles at the next level”.
Although there were some disappointing performances, the following players enhanced their draft status with a very good game:
Matt Beleskey, Belleville – OHL (ISS ranking: 31; CSB ranking: 40) Beleskey will play the pro game as a crashing winger who can fight and has decent skills, and he showed those traits throughout the game. The most physical player in the game in that he finished every check and drove hard to the net throughout. Although his foot speed is still a concern, he has improved in that area and was able to keep up to the speed throughout the game.
Ryan Daniels, Saginaw – OHL (ISS ranking: 10; CSB ranking: 5) Daniels displayed great poise throughout his tenure and was technically very sound. He challenged effectively and he was able to come up with some big saves when the defense broke down.
Michael Grabner, Spokane – WHL (ISS ranking: 127; CSB ranking: 23) Grabner showed some surprising flashes of offense and was very solid in the defensive end. He has had a disappointing season thus far but perhaps this game will springboard him to a great finish in Spokane.
Mike Weber, Windsor – OHL (ISS ranking: 82; CSB ranking: 28) Weber was one of those guys that really displayed how he will play at the next level by keeping things very simple and controlled. His gap control was very good, he stepped up to lay some hits and his passes were crisp and on target. He isn’t possessed with the greatest natural talent in the world but he put in a very business-like and smart performance.
Cody Burki, Brandon – WHL (ISS ranking: 53; CSB ranking: 26) Burki made some very solid decisions throughout the night and showed some offensive flair and good foot speed on the fore-check to get himself noticed.
Mathew Corrente, Saginaw – OHL (ISS ranking: 108; CSB ranking: 29) Throughout the skill testing and the game itself, Corrente showed some of the skills that had him taken second overall by the Saginaw Spirit. His 99 MPH slapshot in the skills and his overall foot speed were impressive. Although we would have liked to see him back up his tough talk in the game when given an opportunity, in our eyes he helped himself.
Although we will never put a season’s evaluation into one game, there were a few players who didn’t help their cause with sub-par performances:
Theo Peckham, Owen Sound – OHL (ISS ranking: 72; CSB ranking 32) The classic overachiever and a personal favorite of ISS had a very tough time by trying to do too much. Peckham ran around at times trying to lay the big hit and got himself into defensive trouble. In reality, he should have watched Mike Weber and kept things simple like Weber did.
Leland Irving, Everett – WHL (ISS ranking: 6; CSB ranking: 2) Irving usually is very solid technically but his rebound control throughout the game was horrendous. He seemed particularly nervous throughout his time between the pipes and never seemed able to relax and play that simple game that he can play.
Tyson Dowzak, Kelowna – WHL (ISS ranking: 26; CSB ranking: 55) We have continued to give Dowzak the benefit of the doubt throughout the year but his performance in Ottawa has finally caused us to reconsider our thinking. His laissez faire attitude, lack of improvement and phony toughness caused us some tremendous concern. He was openly challenged by a number of players from Team Cherry and denied them all. Although he has pro size, his thinking throughout the game was a concern. We still like the physical skill set but this game illustrated more of his deficiencies than we would like to have seen.
Overall, it was another outstanding opportunity for the scouts and teams to look at the 40 marquee prospects the CHL has to offer. Although it wasn’t a classic, it still served a very useful purpose.
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The ISS Future NHL Stars Report is designed to fulfill the needs of all hockey fans and fantasy draft participants. Our monthly bulletin will provide you with in-depth material. We publish nine issues per year (minimum eight pages per issue) beginning October 15th and ending in June.
• Ranking of the Top 50 NHL 2006 Entry Draft prospects
• Ranking of the Top 50 NHL Prospects (Under age 25)
• ISS profiles of the top 50 prospects for the 2006 NHL Entry Draft
• Inside information from the hockey scouting community
• Future Watch – spotlight on top prospects for the 2007 NHL Entry Draft
• Spotlight on upcoming 2006 CHL Priority Drafts (OHL, QMJHL, WHL)