ISS Draft Rankings: Top 5 remains unchanged as Ekblad tightens grip on top ranking

by ISS
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Thatcher Demko - Boston College

Photo: Boston College goaltender and 2014 prospect Thatcher Demko has turned in a stellar freshman season between the pipes for the Eagles, a season that he and his teammates hope will end with a national championship (courtesy of Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

As the 2013-14 season progresses, the order at the top of the ISS Hockey 2014 NHL Draft rankings seems to have further solidified. Case in point: the top five prospects in the March rankings is the same order as the top five from the February rankings.

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Buchenevich, Slepyshev are the top winger prospects playing in Russia

by Alessandro Seren Rosso
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Pavel Buchnevich - Severstal Cherepovets

Photo: Severstal Cherepovets forward and New York Rangers prospect Pavel Buchnevich was a scoring star for Russia’s bronze medal-winning squad at the 2014 World Junior Championship (courtesy of Yury Kuzmin/KHL Photo Agency via Getty Images)

In spite of the bad performance at the recent Winter Olympics, Russia keeps on producing good players at a good rate, as confirmed by the recent good showing of the WJC squad.

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Off the Radar: Ice’s Valiev making most of second NHL Draft chance

by Chris Roberts
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Rinat Valiev - Russia - 2013 Subway Super Series

Photo: Kootenay Ice defenseman and 2014 prospect Rinat Valiev competed for Russia in the 2013 Subway Super Series, posting no points and an even plus/minus rating in his two games vs. the WHL squad (courtesy of Derek Leung/Getty Images)

As well as acting as the hub for the Kootenay Ice, Cranbrook, BC is widely regarded for its rich railway history which dates back to the turn of the twentieth century. So it’s almost poetic that Rinat Valiev landed there in an effort to get a potential NHL career back on track.

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Sting’s Goldobin setting lofty goals for himself

by Jason Menard
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Nikolay Goldobin - Sarnia Sting

Photo: Sarnia Sting forward and 2014 prospect Nikolay Goldobin is the Sting’s leading scorer this season with 81 points, a point total that ties him for fifth overall in the OHL (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

For most draft-eligible players, receiving a first-round grade and spot in the top 15 would be cause for celebration. But most players aren’t Sarnia Sting forward Nikolay Goldobin, a player who has set some lofty goals for himself.

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Uncertainty surrounds small crop of Russian defensive prospects in KHL

by Alessandro Seren Rosso
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Rushan Rafikov - Team Russia

Photo: Lokomotiv Yaroslavl defenseman and Calgary Flames prospect Rushan Rafikov took part in the Subway Super Series with Team Russia and was a late cut from Russia’s 2014 World Junior squad (courtesy of Derek Leung/Getty Images)

In spite of producing great defensemen like Sergei Gonchar, Vyacheslav Fetisov, and Sergei Zubov, Russia has a better reputation for developing forwards. This is well reflected in the NHL prospect situation in the KHL, where there are a number of intriguing offensive prospects, but only a few defenders with solid NHL potential.

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