The February edition of International Scouting Service's ranking of the top 30 prospects for the 2013 NHL Draft shows some re-arrangement at the top of the rankings but slightly less volatility among the prospects outside the top 10.
For the second consecutive month, Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones holds the top position in the ISS rankings. Jones has improved each month he has played in the WHL, and his performance at the 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game only helped solidify his position as both the top defensive and draft prospect to this point in the 2012-13 season.
The shake-up in the top 10 of the ISS rankings begins with the second-ranked prospect. Last month, this position was held by Halifax Mooseheads forward Nathan MacKinnon, who was dislodged from the top ranking by Jones. This month, MacKinnon is pushed down one more position, this time by Russian forward Valeri Nichushkin. Nichushkin has made his move based on a solid showing at the 2013 WJC, to go along with an even stronger performance at the U-18 Five Nations Tournament that took place in Jonkoping, Sweden earlier this month.
Due to Nichushkin's rise in the rankings, MacKinnon's teammate in Haifax, Jonathan Drouin, dropped a position from January to February. This had more to do with Nichushkin's strong showing as opposed to any real drop-off in Drouin's play. Both Drouin and MacKinnon showed flashes of their ability at the Top Prospects Game, but neither player (nor did any player on Team Cherry) made the score sheet.
The top 5 of the ISS rankings is rounded out by Soo Greyhounds defenseman, Darnell Nurse. Nurse jumped up from the tenth position in last month's ranking based at least in part on a strong showing at the Top Prospects Game.
Among the remaining prospects ranked in top 30, one notable riser is Windsor Spitfires forward Kerby Rychel. Rychel jumped from the 27th position in January to the 19th spot in the February rankings. The son of former NHL forward Warren Rychel has been on fire offensively of late, which is no doubt a main reason for his rise.
The main faller among those prospects ranked in the top 30 is Swedish defender Robert Hagg. Hagg was ranked 12th in the January rankings after a good showing at the 2013 World Juniors. But Hagg fell to the 22nd position in February due to a forgettable showing at the Five Nations Tournament.
There wasn't a great deal of change with the goaltender rankings from January to February. The main change of note was the rise of Waterloo Black Hawks netminder Eamon MacAdam to the fifth position in the February rankings after not being ranked among the top 10 goaltending prospects in January. MacAdam's good showing at the 2013 USHL Top Prospects Game helped his cause, but he has been solid over the course of the 2012-13 season.
Below is the ISS ranking of the top 30 skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft.
|5||Darnell Nurse||D||02/04/95||L||6.03.5||189||Sault Ste. Marie||OHL||10|
|10||Rasmus Ristolainen||D||10/27/94||R||6.04||207||TPS Turku||FinE||8|
|13||Hunter Shinkaruk||C||10/13/94||L||5.11||175||Medicine Hat||WHL||14|
|17||Josh Morrissey||D||03/29/95||L||5.11.75||182||Prince Albert||WHL||20|
|20||Steve Santini||D||03/07/95||R||6.01.5||207||USA Under-18||NTDP||23|
|25||JT Compher||C||04/08/95||R||5.10.5||184||USA Under-18||NTDP||26|
|30||Keaton Thompson||D||09/14/95||L||6.00.25||187||USA Under-18||NTDP||29|
The top five goaltenders for February as ranked by ISS are the following: