International Scouting Services (ISS) presents the February edition of their rankings of the top 15 prospects for the 2006 NHL Draft:
- Erik Johnson, Defense
- Jonathan Toews, Forward
- Phil Kessel, Center
- Jordan Staal, Center
- Peter Mueller, Center
- Michael Frolik, Right Wing
- Nicklas Backstrom, Center
- James Sheppard, Left Wing
- Bryan Little, Center
- Kyle Okposo, Right Wing
- Alexander Vasyunov, Left Wing
- Bob Sanguinetti, Defense
- Mike Forney, Left Wing
- Ty Wishart, Defense
- Derick Brassard, Center
Height: 6-4, Weight: 222, Current Team: USNTDP (USA)
Height: 6-1, Weight: 195, Current Team: University of North Dakota
Height: 6-0, Weight: 189, Current Team: University of Minnesota (WCHA)
Height: 6-4, Weight: 209, Current Team: Peterborough Petes (OHL)
Height: 6-2, Weight: 200, Current Team: Everett Silvertips (WHL)
Height: 6-1, Weight: 187, Current Team: Kladno (CZE)
Height: 6-0, Weight: 183, Current Team: Brynas (SWE)
Height: 6-2, Weight: 201, Current Team: Cape Breton (QMJHL)
Height: 5-10, Weight: 194, Current Team: Barrie Colts (OHL)
Height: 6-0, Weight: 195, Current Team: Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL)
Height: 6-0, Weight: 187, Current Team: Yaroslavl (RUS)
Height: 6-2, Weight: 182, Current Team: Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
Height: 6-2, Weight: 185, Current Team: Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL)
Height: 6-4, Weight: 214, Current Team: Prince George Cougars (WHL)
Height: 6-0, Weight: 174, Current Team: Drummondville Voltiguers (QMJHL)
Devin Didiomete, Sudbury (OHL)
Position: Left Wing, Height: 6-0, Weight: 200
Didiomete lacks the size to become a legitimate heavyweight in the pro game, but what he doesn’t lack is heart. He has shown a much-improved overall game, and that has been combined with his usual toughness. The fearless six-footer has fought them all in the OHL and has really begun to blossom as a player for the Sudbury Wolves this season. He plays every shift as if it is his last, and has improved his finish around the net and in distributing the puck. His skill-set is OK, but the attractive part of this prospect is his warrior mentality, and as Steve Downie has recently proved, determination can go a long way.
Codey Burki, Brandon (WHL)
Position: Right Wing, Height: 6-2, Weight: 209
Codey Burki lit it up in Ottawa at the Top Prospects game. The 18-year-old Brandon Wheat Kings center was named player of the game after scoring the game-winning goal and setting up another with a highlight-reel move to lead Bobby Orr’s squad to a 7-2 triumph over Don Cherry’s team. With continued development and attention to small details, he will continue to elevate his draft position. Burki’s growth and maturity as a hockey player have certainly been impressive this season.
Nick Pageau, Belleville (OHL)
Position: Defense, Height: 6-0, Weight: 175
This undersized defenseman has made tremendous improvements to his overall game throughout the year. Although he lacks body mass and some strength, he has become one of Belleville’s most reliable rearguards. He plays consistently against the other teams’ best forwards and is currently a plus-12 on a mediocre Belleville team. He makes good decisions with the puck and knows how to keep the game simple. His time spent on the power play has also illustrated his offensive tendencies. The inability to bulk up may be more of a genetic issue, but he certainly doesn’t lack in work ethic, and he’s a coach’s favorite. Pageau came from the Tier 2 ranks in Hamilton last year and was projected to be a fourth or fifth D-man, but his play has him rising up our rankings very quickly.
Lucas Lobsinger, Mississauga (OHL)
Position: Goal, Height: 6-0, Weight: 180
Lucas Lobsinger began the year backstopping the Cambridge Winter Hawks to the best record in the Mid-Western Junior B League. He was considering his NCAA options until a trade to the IceDogs from the Peterborough Petes convinced him to report to the OHL. His magnificent play has continued with the ailing IceDogs – he’s taken over from the departed Michael Ouzas. He is technically very sound and his work ethic is unparalleled. He is generally quiet in the net, but he has the ability to pull the fans out of their seats with a great save. His rebound control has steadily improved and his overall play has been so good that we have him shooting up the goaltender rankings.
Brady Calla, Everett (WHL)
Position: Right Wing, Height: 6-0, Weight: 190
Calla encompasses all the important tools to become a good professional. He is receiving a decent amount of ice and has progressed nicely over the season. ISS is impressed with his ability to read the play and react accordingly. The biggest concern is Calla’s ability to handle and control the puck in limited space and time.
Luke Lynes, Brampton (OHL)
Position: Left Wing, Height: 6-0, Weight: 195
Lynes is coming off a very strong first half, putting up great offensive numbers at a more than point-per-game pace. With his quick stick and smart play with the puck, he has continued to show strong finish and consistency around the net, capitalizing on his chances. He has proven to be very productive on the power play, displaying good confidence and control with the puck. Lynes solid offensive output has given Brampton a very strong offensive attack, with the likes of Wolski and Aquino returning to the lineup. His less-than-smooth skating skills and lack of acceleration are minor concerns. But, with his offensive upside, Lynes is hard to overlook.
Steven Ferry, Sarnia (OHL)
Position: Defense, Height: 5-11, Weight: 189
When the London Knights drafted him in the first round in 2004, Ferry’s upside was tremendous. He had the potential to follow in the steps of Danny Syvret. Twenty months later, we’re still waiting for that potential to become a reality, and the since-traded Ferry will now have to make an impression in Sarnia. At 5-11, he has size and strength issues, and his decision-making has been dubious at times. Although we still believe that he will mature into a very good OHL defenseman, we are concerned about his pro upside, with a drop in the rankings the result.
Ryan Depape, Prince Albert (WHL)
Position: Right Wing, Height: 6-2, Weight: 205
Ryan seems slow getting to where he needs to be. His skating is rough and plodding. His footwork will be a problem. He is hard to knock off the puck, when he has it. He is strong in the corners and along the wall. He works hard. His hockey sense is good. He is the kind of guy that is hard to play against.
Will O’Neill, Tabor Academy
Position: Defense, Height: 6-0, Weight: 193
Will is a weak skater with slow feet. He has a weak, awkward stride at full speed. He lacks balance, mobility and agility. While he possesses good hands, he doesn’t have the skating ability needed to rush the puck or make offensive moves. O’Neill takes the body when he has the opportunity, but he doesn’t look to make an impact with his physical play. He has poor gap control. He needs to step up and play the man at the blueline one-on-one. He seems to be poorly coached defensively. His skating ability will hold him back at higher levels.
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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)