Scouting And Top Prospects

Top Prospects And The 2013 NHL Entry Draft

Winnipeg Jet hockey fans and NHL fans in general are getting ready for the Stanley Cup Finals but a lot of focus is on the top prospects in the upcoming 2013 NHL Entry Draft on June 30th to be hosted by the New Jersey Devils.

The conversations most nights on Twitter are about the Winnipeg Jets and the upcoming 2013 NHL Entry Draft.  I have been posting a new “Top Prospect” every morning now for 3 weeks and I will eventually end up profiling approximately 30-40 of the top players available to NHL teams.  Nothing too extensive.  I have included a few lines about the Top Prospects and some stats.

I hope this helps the casual hockey fans that visit WHT to familiarize themselves with some of the players being talked about the most.  If this helps to make the TV broadcast of the draft on TSN a little more enjoyable then, mission accomplished.

WHL Draft And NHL Draft: The Only Difference Is The Fanfare

How much scouting rhetoric is going on here on the draft floor amongst these scouts and GM’s?

Scout Talk Is Amusing

As I was going through these profiles, I chuckled to myself at how the scouting rhetoric and buzzwords must sound to the readers.  I can’t believe I used to sound like this!  blah, blah, blah  It is very cliche for sure, but it works.

Hockey sense and High hockey IQ!  Tough or greasy areas of the ice!  Quick or Pro-release!  Good on-ice vision or he see’s the ice well! etc., etc.,  Very boring and repetitive but most of the Top Prospects have some or all of these special attributes.  Hockey fans reading these profiles must wonder why do so many of these player evaluations sound so similar?

The truth is that at this elite level these players are very special and share many of the same skills.  As an example, sometimes their really isn’t much difference in a lot players that are projected in a certain range like maybe the 22-30 range, especially in this draft class.

2011 First round pick Mark Scheifele

2011 First round pick Mark Scheifele

Central Scouting

In the coming weeks you will hear a lot about Central Scouting (CS).  This is an NHL scouting agency that ranks players all year long and may or may not be of any value to a NHL team.  Why you may ask?  Every NHL team has their own scouting staff and their own rankings.  These rankings might be in be in sync with CS’s list but at the end of the day it really doesn’t matter.

Fans and media put way too much stock  in their (CS) evaluations and over-react when a player like Mark Scheifele gets drafted at #7 and the world gasps and declares that CS had him ranked at #15!!!  Who cares?  It is the scouts that answer to their teams GM’s, not CS.  The last time I checked Central Scouting had a total of ZERO Stanley Cups.  Central Scouting is one organisation of many that rank hockey prospects.  They do a good job but they are not the final say by any means.


After The Big 3

After the Big 3 of Jones, MacKinnon and Drouin, there is another wave or tier of 3-4 top prospects.   Then after that, there is a 3rd tier of 10-12 players that are all very good at different positions bringing different attributes to the table.  Some NHL teams will draft who they believe is the “Best Available” player while others might draft based on organisational need.

The one thing I can guarantee is that all GM’s will leave the draft very happy with their bounty and you will hear this phrase more than once from a GM or Scout ….  “We couldn’t believe he was still available at our pick.”  Trust me it is in the manual!!!

This years draft is very deep going well into the second round for quality players.  If you have read some of my profiles, you will notice that a lot of the analysis and skills of the later picks are very close to that of the top prospects.  The difference will more than likely be size.  The later picks are now below 6 feet tall or if they have size but their skill-set or skating is still a work in progress.

Top Prospects: Jordan Eberle

Jordan Eberle

One of the best examples I could give you in recent memory is the Oiler’s Jordan Eberle.  If he was was 6’3, he may have been a 1st round pick but hind-sight is 20/20.


I will leave you with this.  Not all of these players are going to become top 6 forwards or stars as projected.  They are now in the hands of different organisations that will or will not develop them properly.  I have seen many terrific players improperly evaluated, misused or have unreal expectations heaped on them by over-zealous organisations and/or really bad coaching.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a blue-print or a time line or an organisation philosophy.  It’s all BS.  It’s something for teams to tell the media.  When a player is ready, he is ready.  Each individual player develops at a different rate and there is no magical formula or recipe.


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