The Top 30 Prospects for March

By HF Staff

Following are the March player rankings for the June 2002 draft. The list is provided in conjunction with the Prospect Advisor, a monthly newsletter covering hockey’s draft eligible players. Prospect Advisor has been providing an independent scouting service to NHL, CHL, and NCAA teams, fans, agents, etc for over 4 years. The Prospect Advisor has been a long time supporter of Hockey’s Future and we are pleased to be in partnership with them.

Glen Gawronski and his staff of 8 to 10 scouts in North America and Europe compile a monthly newsletter that is available for a very reasonable investment. For subscription information, please contact at them at Prospect Advisor. The ranking for April will be posted later this week.

1. Jay Bouwmeester–D–Medicine Hat
Like a gazelle, Bouwmeester is quick and graceful. A
two-way star with plenty of size, Jay has already is virtually a shoo-in for
the top spot at the draft.

2. Rick Nash–LW–London
A ferocious two-way player, Rick likes to go hard to the net
and play hard-nosed physical hockey. A consensus top 3 pick.

3. Kari Lehtonen–G–Finland
A high-reflex goalie, Kari is coming off an outstanding pro
season with Jokerit of the Finnish league. Easily the top goalie in the

4. Joni Pitkanen–D–Finland
He is Finland’s answer to Jay Bouwmeester. A
smooth-skating playmaker, Joni has good size, shot and maturity.

5. Scottie Upshall–C–Kamloops
Scottie is a tad on the smaller side, but he makes up for
that with great hustle, grit and soft hands. A member of Canada’s WJC team
in Pardubice.

6. Anton Babchuk–D–Russia
A 6-foot-4 giant, Babchuk is arguably Russia’s top 2002
prospect. Coming off a consistent year, Anton is a great skater with a
powerful shot and nasty disposition.

7. Steve Eminger–D–Kitchener
A second-half draft riser, Steve is a puck moving power
play specialist with top-notch skating ability. Eminger has shook off past
injuries to enjoy a breakthrough year.

8. Ryan Whitney–D–Boston U.
Compared to Chris Pronger, Whitney is a big, physical
specimen with an offensive element to his game. Coming off an inconsistent
year, Ryan is no longer projected as a top 5 pick.

9. Jiri Hudler–C–Czech Republic
A diminutive (5-9) pivot, Jiri has been a pro since the age
of 15. Despite his lack of size, Hudler has the skills and the confidence
to be a top-10 selection.

10. Joffrey Lupul–LW–Medicine Hat
He put up monster numbers in the dub this season. A
dazzling offensive talent (56 goals), Lupul has made a big jump in the
ratings over the past several months.

11. Vladislav Evseev–RW–Russia
Previously seen as a potential top 3 pick, Vladislav
failed to live up to the billing this season. A two-way forward, Evseev has
had sub-par tournament showings and injuries.

12. Petr Taticek–C–S.S. Marie
An OHL newcomer, Taticek impressed the scouts in his first
taste of North America. Taticek’s solid playmaking skills and hockey sense
are his outmost strengths.

13. Denis Grebeshkov–D–Russia
The only Russian 2002-eligible to contribute with the
gold-medal winning WJC squad. A two-way blueliner, Grebeshkov is a
Superleague regular.

14. Johnny Boychuk–D–Calgary
A physical, high-energy blueliner, Boychuk brings a
refined two-way game to the table. His main weapons are his powerful shot
and a mean streak.

15. Jakub Klepis–C–Portland
Another Czech to join the CHL, Jakub is a playmaking pivot
with above-average vision and excellent decision-making abilities. A little
rough around the edges though.

16. Daniel Paille–C–Guelph
An all-around centerman with solid leadership abilities and
good skills. A proven penalty killer, Paille has a great attitude that
coaches like.

17. Adam Henrich–LW–Brampton
A big man with great hands and stickhandling ability,
Henrich does not always use his size to the fullest. Adam is Edmonton
Oilers’ Michael Henrich’s brother.

18. Jeffrey Deslauriers–G–Chicoutimi
A goalie with great size (6-4, 180),
Deslauriers has good instincts and vision. Jeff is strong at stopping low
shots, but he has yet to fully grow into his frame.

19. Eric Nystrom–LW–Michigan
The son of the Islander great Bob Nystrom, Eric was a member
of the United States WJC squad. It looks like Nystrom has inherited his
dad’s two-way instincts.

20. Sean Bergenheim–C–Finland
Despite struggling to maintain consistency all year,
Bergenheim made Finland’s WJC roster. The jury is still out on this speedy

21. Martin Vagner–D–Hull
An outstanding skater, Vagner plays with a lot of poise.
His playmaking ability is excellent, however he needs to shoot the puck more
and improve his aggressiveness.

22. Kirill Koltsov–D–Russia
Some argue that Koltsov is the most purely skilled
offensive blueliner in this draft. A player with good size and toughness,
Koltsov has earned a reputation for being inconsistent.

23. Jim Slater–C–Michigan State
A gritty playmaking center, Slater is coming off a dominating
season with Michigan State of NCAA. Has no glaring weaknesses to his game.

24. Jonas Johansson–RW–Sweden
A speedy offensive-minded winger, Jonas Johansson is
coming off a strong year in the Swedish Junior League. Strength and
physical game will have to improve, however.

25. Lance Monych–RW–Brandon
A big player with a good reach, Monych hasn’t reached
expectations this year, especially offensively. But his size and altheticism
will be highly coveted at the draft.

26. Ben Eager–LW–Oshawa
A nasty, intimidating banger, Eager plays with a lot of spunk
and intensity (247 PIM). He has good hands as well (14 goals, 37 points
last year).

27. Alexander Semin–C–Russia
A speedy puckhandler, Semin has been climbing the ladder
consistently over the past several months. Several successful tournaments
have raised his stock considerably.

28. Maxime Daigneault–G–Val d’or
Another prospect to take a nose dive this year. A great
technical goalie, Daigneault has had a sub-par year and consistency has
eluded him.

29. Rob Globke–RW–Notre Dame
A power forward, Globke combines a mix of physical toughness
and offensive skill. Rob opted out of the 2001 draft and will be 20 year
of age in a few months.

30. Barry Tallackson–RW–Minnesota
Barry has an imposing frame and solid puck skills.
However, he hasn’t been able to put things together this year. Has raw
skills, but needs to use his size more.