German Top 5 prospects for the 2006 NHL Draft

By Chapin Landvogt





In the past six or seven years

In the past six or seven years, the
German hockey scene and the German national team have gathered newfound respect
in the international hockey community. Aside from Germany’s somewhat unlucky and
unnecessary relegation into the B group along with host Austria at the 2005
World Championships, Germany has had a respectable showing in 2006, having
survived the first round of yet another "Dream Team" laden Olympic
festival and having mastered the IIHF B group World Championships, earning their
way quickly and decisively back into the ranks of the IIHF A group. Much of this
newfound respect has also been reflected in recent drafts, where several Germans
such as Christian Ehrhoff (SJ), Marcel Goc (SJ), Dennis Seidenberg
(PHO) and Christoph Schubert (OTT) have been drafted and are just now
starting to establish themselves as regular NHLers.



During the draft next weekend,
several more Germans could become property of an NHL club. Here’s a short look
at Germany’s top 5 prospects for the 2006 NHL Draft in Vancouver.





Marcel
Muller, W


Height: 6’4, Weight: 214 lbs



2005-06 Season Stats

Team

GP

G

A

Pts

PIM

+/-

Eisbaeren Berlin (DEL)

24

1

1

2

20

-6

Eisbaeren Junioren*

27

7

8

15

91

NA

Eisbaeren DNL**

9

9

4

13

60

NA

The hulking Marcel Muller, who will
first turn 18 on July 10th, has some scouts licking their chops with
his combination of size and skill. Although it is quite evident that plenty of
nurturing will be necessary before he may one day walk in the footsteps of idols
such as Marco Sturm and Jochen Hecht, the potential is clearly there and time is
on his side. In addition, Muller is finding himself in the right place at the
right time as his club the Eisbaeren Berlin have not only been dominating the
DEL, but have also turned into Germany’s top developer of talent, becoming a
magnet for many of Germany’s most promising young players. 
The 2005-06 season was a churning one, seeing Muller  go through the
growing pains of being 17 while participating in several of Berlin’s various
clubs. Still, he took some positive steps and things are looking good for him
moving up the ladder for the 2006-07 season and beyond.



In what is being entitled a
"weak" European draft, it is very possible that a couple of NHL teams
have their sights set on a player like him. It doesn’t hurt either that he’s
currently under the tutelage of well-known French Canadian, and former NHL
coach, Pierre Pagé.

 

Moritz
Muller, C/W


Height: 6’1, Weight: 196 lbs.



2005-06 Season Stats

Team

GP

G

A

Pts

PIM

+/-

Eisbaeren Berlin (DEL)

53

0

5

5

14

– 2

Another kid with promising size,
Moritz Muller earned his way into a regular third/fourth line role with one of
Germany’s most established clubs, the Cologne Sharks. This is anything but an
easy task, with former national team coach Hans Zach having been at the helm and
known for his demanding style, especially in regard to young players. 
In many respects, Muller and Buffalo 2005 second rounder Philip
Gogulla
were two of the brightest spots for Cologne, learning the ropes
while providing often above-average two-way work. 
However, Muller’s all-around game hasn’t yet allowed much room for
showing offensive potential.  This
is something he’ll have to show in the years to come. Still, scouts have come to
rank him as the second best German prospect in this draft which can be
attributed to his ability to keep a level and mature head, being highly
coachable and having a penchant for understanding the game in all areas of the
ice.





Elia
Ostwald, C


Height: 6’7, Weight: 218



2005-06 Season Stats

Team

GP

G

A

Pts

PIM

+/-

Lausitzer Fuchs – 2nd League

23

0

1

1

2

NA

Weisswasser DNL

34

24

22

46

64

NA

Elia Ostwald has become a topic
for the NHL based namely on one very obvious attribute, his 6’7 218 lbs. frame. 
Skill is available, but Germany’s second highest league was a bit too
much for this monster of a teenager.  However,
he was a force at the prospect level and has joined the Eisbaeren Berlin program
for the 2006-07 season, where his raw talent and size will be put to good use
and where his chances of being molded into a competent player are as good as can
be in Germany.  He’ll need time to
develop but the foundational skills are evident and he’ll surely get loads of
ice time on one stage or another next season in Germany’s capital.

 

Christoph
Gawlik, C/W


Height: 5’11, Weight: 187



2005-06 Season Stats

Team

GP

G

A

Pts

PIM

+/-

Eisbaeren Berlin (DEL)

57

14

13

27

36

+ 11

German National Team

5

3

0

3

0

+ 5

Known for being on the small side,
Christoph Gawlik would have been available for the draft last summer had he not
opted out due in part to two injuries that practically eliminated his entire
2004-05 season.  This year he
returned with a bang and quickly became a regular on the Pierre Pagé led German
champion, the Eisbaeren Berlin.  In
fact, his play was so steady and impressive that he also earned a spot on the
German National team, which he helped with its victorious jump from the IIHF B
group back into the A group.  All in
all, Gawlik is the most accomplished and talented player of this draft class and
has a grown a bit to the point where size is no longer much of a factor.
Particularly noticeable are Gawlik’s speed, agility and aggressive nature. 
There’s no lack of offensive instincts either and all indications are
that he’ll have a good shot at making his way onto one of the first two lines
for Berlin next season.

 

Thorsen
Ankert, D


Height: 6’2, Weight: 212 lbs.



2005-06 Season Stats

Team

GP

G

A

Pts

PIM

+/-

Cologne Sharks (DEL)

26

0

1

1

8

-2

Cologne DNL

31

10

16

26

66

NA

Thorsten Ankert is the only
defenseman among Germany’s top five prospects for this summer’s draft. 
Like Moritz Muller, he impressively worked his way into the line-up of
the big club. Unlike Muller, he was only able to get sporadic ice time and was
usually used when his team was wining or losing big. 
However, playing for Cologne’s prospect program, he was far and away the
brightest light on the blue line. He has size and his skating is sound. 
He is also projected to one day be an offensive defenseman, but the
question will be where, in what capacity and if he’s ready to take the steps
necessary to follow in the footsteps of young German defensemen Ehrhoff,
Seidenberg and Schubert.

 

Other
notables




Forward Felix Schutz is, in
actuality, the most promising German heading into this draft. 
However, he spent the season in the QMJHL playing for the St. John Sea
Dogs where he put up 52 points and a -14 numbers in 65 games, and thus, comes
under the classification of a North American prospect. In North America, his
value and ranking has been across the board, depending on where you’re getting
your information. Also, be on the lookout for huge Constantin Braun, who
pretty much came out of nowhere to take huge steps this season within the
Eisbaeren Berlin program. Word has it, he’s on the list for several NHL teams
due to his combination of size (6’3, 198) and skating prowess and he may be the
biggest secret going in the European ranks.



Germany has no goalie prospects
amongst the 19 currently listed by Central Scouting.

 

* Junioren:
Junior team playing in Germany’s third best league

** DNL: Deutsche
Nachwuchs Liga = German Young Prospects League

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2006 Hockey’s Future.  Do not reprint or otherwise duplicate without
permission of the editorial staff.