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2012 NHL Draft Eligibles: The Top Sixty

As we conclude our countdown to the 2012 NHL Draft, NHLMockDraft.org’s Bob Mand analyzes the current crop of prospects, finally reaching the top fifteen in this summer’s draft.

1.) Nail Yakupov, RW – Sarnia Sting, OHL; 5’11, 190 lbs., L; Born: Nizhnekamsk, Russia, 10/6/93

The gap between Yakupov and the pack has narrowed – but not enough. Nail is still the top talent available in 2012 thanks to his elite skillset and skating game. Yakupov might be the fastest player in the draft and his shot is devastating. Despite his modest size, he’s physical – but might need to back-off a bit to minimize the injury-risk at the next level. Yakupov will never shy-away from attacking the net; he has a killer instinct. The team that drafts him is getting a winner – a lightning-quick, first-line, power-winger with forty-goal potential who should contribute nearly instantaneously in the NHL. Last Month: 1

2.) Alex Galchenyuk, C – Sarnia Sting, OHL; 6’1, 197 lbs., L; Born: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 2/12/94

Scouts and analysts can only wonder what effect the lost year of development will have on him, but Alex Galchenyuk has the size, puck-skills and intangibles teams are looking for in a 1C. He projects as a first-line playmaker in the NHL and can thread near-impossible passes. Galchenyuk is a complete player with several solid-to-‘plus’ skills including skating and shooting. He’s a workhorse who can distribute and score almost as well as his teammate and – aside from missing almost the entire season – doesn’t have a flaw. Last Month: 5

3.) Ryan Murray, D – Everett Silvertips, WHL; 6’0, 200 lbs., L; Born: White City, Saskatchewan, 9/27/93

While hockey insiders continue to squabble over his upside, Ryan Murray remains the best defenseman available in 2012. He’s a rarity: A draft-eligible blueliner ready to make the jump to the NHL-game now and brings oodles of intelligence, mobility and two-way savvy to any team’s blue line of the future (his absolute floor is middle-pairing). Pencil him in for a letter sooner rather than later. Last Month: 2

4.) Teuvo Teräväinen, F – Jokerit, SM-Liiga; 5’11, 170 lbs., L; Born: Helsinki, Finland, 9/11/94

Few have risen higher or faster in this NHL Draft than the shifty Finn, Teuvo Teräväinen. With a dazzling arsenal of moves, excellent space-making ability, supreme offensive acumen and outstanding vision, Teräväinen’s upside is only limited by his slender frame and occasionally fluctuating intensity. Teräväinen might have the best hands of the 2012-eligibles. Equally adept as a playmaker and sniper, he’s going to put up some gaudy numbers for whichever team is lucky enough to snag him. Last Month: 7

5.) Mathew Dumba, D – Red Deer Rebels, WHL; 6’0, 183 lbs., R; Born: Calgary, Alberta, 7/25/94

Matt Dumba is a dynamic defenseman who will put enemy attackers on their butts and even more butts in the seats. Despite some concerns about his size, Dumba projects as a two-way dynamo with outstanding offensive skills to complement a developing own-zone game. He owns perhaps the best point-shot in this class (an absolute cannon) and an underrated distribution game. Last Month: 3

6.) Filip Forsberg, F – Leksands IF., Allsvenskan; 6’2, 180 lbs., R; Born: Ostervala, Sweden, 8/13/94

The big Swede is the top Euro in the draft. He has first-line power-forward written all over him thanks to excellent strength, puck-skills and a dynamite shot. When he fills-out completely, Forsberg will be difficult to deny in the offensive zone: He can dangle, step around you with surprisingly quick feet or push right on through thanks to notable intensity. Forsberg needs to develop more defensively but ought to end up as one of the better finishers in this draft-class. Last Month: 4

7.) Mikhail Grigorenko, C – Quebec Remparts, QMJHL; 6’3, 195 lbs., L; Born: Khabarovsk, Russia, 5/16/94

Mikhail Grigorenko possesses the holy triumvirate: Size, skating and skill – and all in generous proportions. Has the ‘stuff’ to be a ninety-point scorer at the next level and is a playmaker extraordinaire. The only question is whether he’s emotionally invested in the game as scouts and analysts almost continually question his will. He could very well have the highest ceiling of any player in this class – but even with his awe-inspiring hands and feet, folks doubt his heart and mind. Last Month: 6

8.) Morgan Rielly, D – Moose Jaw Warriors, WHL; 5’11, 190 lbs., L; Born: West Vancouver, British Colombia, 3/9/94

He missed all but the start and very end of the season, but that hasn’t quieted the excitement surrounding Morgan Rielly. A solid performance at the NHL Draft Combine went a long way towards mitigating worries about his surgically-repaired knee. When he’s on, Rielly is a dominating offensive defenseman with outstanding wheels and top-notch distribution skills. He’ll be some team’s powerplay quarterback for the next decade and projects as an elite puck-mover in the NHL. Last Month: 8

9.) Griffin Reinhart, D – Edmonton Oil Kings, WHL; 6’4, 207 lbs., L; Born: North Vancouver, British Colombia, 2/26/94

A two-way talent, Griffin Reinhart is one of the best defensive prospects in 2012. Thanks to Edmonton’s WHL championship this spring, Reinhart had the opportunity to put his impressive skills on display long after most started making their travel-plans. His size, mobility, and offensive game are all solid-plus, placing him firmly among the ‘safest’ bets this summer. While his performance in his own zone has been solid, many would like to see more physically imposing play from the tall rearguard. Last Month: 11

10.) Jacob Trouba, D – U.S. NTDP U-18; 6’2, 190 lbs., R; Born: Rochester, Minnesota, 2/26/94

Another safe-bet, Jacob Trouba’s athletic frame, top-notch skating and solid physical dimension make him an attractive option early in the first-round. His shut-down capabilities stem from great hockey-sense and well-developed positioning. Despite being pegged as defense-first (his own-zone play is among the best in the class), Trouba has the potential to grow into a significant offensive role thanks to an above-average shot and a willingness to jump into the attack. Last Month: 10

11.) Radek Faksa, C – Kitchener Rangers, OHL; 6’3, 202 lbs., R; Born: Opava, Czech Republic, 1/9/94

There’s a chance someone could fall in love with Radek Faksa’s hulking frame and gritty game and pick him up in the top-ten. Responsible and deliberate – Faksa makes plays with a purpose and has taken huge steps this season, his first in North America. His size and strength make him a menace in the ‘dirty’ areas of the ice – supplemented by above-average hands and playmaking skills. Few forwards his age can finish and defend so capably – and with so much value placed on two-way centers with scoring potential, his services will be highly in-demand. Last Month: 17

12.) Slater Koekkoek, D – Peterborough Petes, OHL; 6’2, 185 lbs., L; Born: Mountain, Ontario, 2/18/94

Slater Koekkoek was yet another top-prospect to miss significant time this season with an injury (his shoulder) and as a result, he’s fallen significantly on many draft-boards. Still, we love his combination of pro-caliber size, sandpaper, offensive upside and excellent skating. Frequently described as ‘raw’, Koekkoek needs significant refinement before making the jump to pro – but could end-up as one of the best defensemen selected. The selecting team needs patience … but his tools are worth it. Last Month: 14

13.) Cody Ceci, D – Ottawa 67s, OHL; 6’2, 208 lbs., R; Born: Orleans, Ontario, 12/21/93

With size, a fairly developed two-way game and minute-eating potential Cody Ceci is one of the more intriguing defensemen in 2012. His production this season was certainly an eye-opener as he finished second among OHL defensemen in scoring with nearly a point-per-game for the 67s but Ceci still hasn’t won over some who think the third-year CHLer has plateaued. Still, he will certainly earn an early call to the podium on June 22. Last Month: 18

14.) Zemgus Girgensons, C – Dubuque Fighting Saints, USHL; 6’1, 195 lbs., L; Born: Riga, Latvia, 1/5/94

Despite earning a brief stint in several top-ten rankings, Zemgus Girgensons’s stock appears to have stabilized around mid-first-round. It’s no wonder some teams are going to be chomping at the bit to acquire him: He possesses top-six offensive upside, a conscientious two-way game and heaping helpings of grit and intangibles. If postseason games are won in the trenches, Girgensons would appear to be a front-line warrior bound to wear a letter in the future. Last Month: 13

15.) Sebastian Collberg, RW – Frölunda HC, Elitserien; 5’11, 175 lbs., R; Born: Mariestad, Sweden, 2/23/94

It’s rare to find a player with such pronounced first-line upside after the top-ten selections but Sebastian Collberg could be just that. More ‘shifty’ and agile than outright speedy, few in 2012 can touch his level of skill with the puck. He uses a very short stick which hurts his abilities as a sniper (though his release is lightning-fast) but allows him an excellent level of control displayed in his frequent obscene dangles and distribution-game. He’s modestly gritty and shows an effort to get back on defense and fight for loose pucks but his strength is very lacking at this point. It must develop for him to develop beyond a perimeter/special-teams player. Last Month: 9

16.) Pontus Åberg, LW – Djurgården IF, Elitserien; 6’0, 190 lbs., R; Born: Stockholm, Sweden, 9/23/93

For an eighteen year-old who scored eight goals and fifteen points playing against men in Sweden’s Elitserien, Pontus Åberg is getting surprisingly little buzz … that might be the result of his relatively cool finish – but with his elite wheels, shooting, possession game and defensive acumen the reward will be great for the team he falls to. Åberg’s work-ethic and compete-level are notable. He should produce at least at a second-line-level with special-teams upside when fully developed and provide effort in all 200 ft. of the rink. Last Month: 12

17.) Olli Määttä, D – London Knights, OHL; 6’2, 200 lbs., L; Born: Jyväskylä, Finland, 8/22/94

His superlative postseason performance turned heads and virtually assured a top-20 selection on June 22, but with Olli Määttä – the best is yet to come. The sturdy Finnish rearguard earned attention for his mobility, physicality and intelligent defensive game early-on and supplemented that by showing some offensive flash as London cruised through the OHL playoffs before coming up one goal shy in the Memorial Cup Championship Game. In the end, he’s primarily regarded as a blueliner with impressive shutdown potential and clutch play. Last Month: 15

18.) Hampus Lindholm, D – Rögle, Allsvenskan; 6’3, 195 lbs., L; Born: Helsingborg, Sweden, 1/20/94

A swing-for-the fences prospect, Hampus Lindholm shot like a rocket up draft-boards around the League thanks to impressive performances in international tourneys and helping Rögle advance through relegation to the Elitserien. Lindholm’s size puts him near the top of the class but he’s a dynamic skater (particularly for his dimensions) and his offensive game shows signs of high-end potential particularly as a distributor and puck-mover. He still has room to add muscle but he’s already strong and only beginning to use his frame to its full potential. Last Month: 27

19.) Derrick Pouliot, D – Portland Winterhawks, WHL; 5’11, 190 lbs., L; Born: Weyburn, Saskatchewan, 1/16/94

Derrick Pouliot’s game is far from complete, but few defensemen in 2012 can come close to his dynamic offensive upside and outstanding skating. Watching him with the puck on his stick is a treat and he has the potential to tally double-digit goal and fifty-plus point totals at the highest level; he’s an extremely dangerous weapon on the man-advantage. Undersized, Pouliot will have to work on building his strength and developing his own-zone game unless he wants to be a bottom-pairing powerplay specialist. Last Month: 16

20.) Tom Wilson, RW – Plymouth Whalers, OHL; 6’4, 200 lbs., R; Born: Toronto, Ontario, 3/29/94

NHL franchises are always looking for the next Milan Lucic and some squad in the first-round will likely think that’s what they’ve got in Tom Wilson. He is a solid possession forward – using his size and strength to win battles along the wall and keep the biscuit away from defenders. He’s a decent finisher and has a few good power moves to go with solid balance and an above-average north-south skating game. Of course, his most impressive dimension is his physical game: He throws hits that rattle bones and is a willing pugilist. He has borderline top-nine offensive upside but twenty/forty isn’t out of the question for Wilson. Last Month: 20

21.) Brady Skjei, D – U.S. NTDP U-18; 6’3, 200 lbs., L; Born: Lakeville, Minnesota 3/24/94

Super-safe … that’s what the team drafting Brady Skjei will be getting: A defenseman who lacks much punch or home-run potential but is solid as a rock in his own zone. He’s smart, poised with great size and excellent mobility – a great bet to be a stud middle-pairing shutdown guy. There are some who see some untapped offensive potential in Skjei – but other than developing a puck-moving game further, he’s a slightly below-average blueliner on the attack. Last Month: 22

22.) Matt Finn, D – Guelph Storm (OHL); 6’0, 195 lbs., L; Born: Toronto, Ontario, 2/24/94

Despite lacking ideal size or a true “plus” skill, Guelph’s Matt Finn has made a name for himself with solid two-way play. His most notable talents are a good (but not elite) skating game, a reasonably heavy shot and an elite play-reading ability (at both ends of the rink). Finn’s impressive hockey-sense allows him to make-up for the good-but-not-great skills he possesses and he’s an attractive late-round option with middle-paring potential and second-unit special-teams duties. Last Month: 21

23.) Henrik Samuelsson, RW – Edmonton Oil Kings, WHL; 6’2, 195 lbs., R; Born: Leksand, Sweden, 2/7/94

The son of Ulf, Henrik Samuelsson is a big, sturdy power-winger with a pretty skillset and willingness to battle to pick up garbage goals. Henrik possesses the puck very well with outstanding balance and has soft hands despite his occasionally-ruthless demeanor. He’s already strong and can fight through even the toughest opponents to gather pucks to set-up teammates or fire a heavy shot on-net. Like with his dad, discipline is sometimes an issue and he’s no stranger to dirty plays but the bigger question is if he can develop his well below-average skating-game. Last Month: 23

24.) Tomáš Hertl, C – Slavia Praha, Czech Extraliga; 6’2, 190 lbs., L; Born: Prague, Czech Republic, 12/11/93

The premier talent from the Extraliga in 2012, Tomáš Hertl’s offensive game is excellent. He’s a force down-low, setting-up with the puck and holding off defenders with his impressive strength before providing teammates with creative passes leaving them with little worse than layup chances. Hertl looks fantastic in the dirty areas and will win physical battles to finish. His major flaw is his poor skating ability. If he were to improve to just below-average, he’d be a steal in the mid-to-late 20s, a real forechecking power and first-line worthy. Last Month: 28

25.) Phil Di Giuseppe, LW – University of Michigan Wolverines, NCAA; 6’1, 195 lbs., L; Born: Maple, Ontario, 10/9/93

The best collegiate talent in 2012 is Phil Di Giuseppe, the offense-driving winger from Michigan. While his season in Ann Arbor had its ups and downs, Di Giuseppe’s talents don’t leave much to be desired. He possesses an above-average skating game and puck-skills that border on ‘plus’. Despite lacking dynamic upside, he thinks and sees the game at a high level and is equally adept at playmaking and finishing. Di Giuseppe’s two-way game needs development but he should be an above-average defensive forward at the next level thanks to his mobility and effort-level. Last Month: 24

26.) Oscar Dansk, G – Brynäs IF, Elitserien; 6’2, 185 lbs., L; Born: Stockholm, Sweden, 2/28/94

The quintessential butterfly-style goaltender, Swede Oscar Dansk, relies on sound positioning, reflexes and quick adjustments to keep pucks out. Dansk is extremely quick and takes away the bottom of the net very effectively and remains vertical throughout, minimizing motion with his efficient positioning. He doesn’t challenge shooters enough and could stand to cut-down the angles better – his lateral movement is so solid. Still, he’ll make scrambly saves when he must. He’ll occasionally let in a few softies, but he’s poised enough to refocus quickly. Dansk is a little overzealous in his puckhandling. Last Month: 19

27.) Nicolas Kerdiles, F – U.S. NTDP U-18; 6’1, 200 lbs., L; Born: Irvine, California, 1/11/94

An two-way forward without a true ‘plus’ skill, Nicolas Kerdiles oscillates between the late first and mid-second rounds depending on who you talk to. Kerdiles’s puck-possession game is fairly advanced and he has the power and skill to beat defenders one-on-one and win battles along the wall with equal frequency. He’s equal parts gritty power-forward finisher and skilled perimeter playmaker. His skating-game is solid and his defensive game is currently above-average (and could be ‘plus’). However, several scouts and analysts have brought up character, hockey-sense and effort concerns which could be major hurdles to potential Day One consideration. Last Month: 25

28.) Scott Laughton, C – Oshawa Generals, OHL; 6’0, 175 lbs., L; Born: Oakville, Ontario, 5/30/94

Oshawa’s hardworking center, Scott Laughton’s eye-opening late-season efforts have pushed him from a second-day certainty to a challenger for first-round selection. His effort level stands-out, as Laughton seems to give 200 ft. efforts every shift without question. His defensive game is very well developed and he’s already a faceoff-wiz. His modest frame is a concern but he still wins more than his share of puck-battles thanks to some impressive grit and willingness to compete harder than his opponent. He projects as a 2C who can do a little bit of everything, score twenty/fifty, throw hits and lead a team – ideally, Patrice Bergeron. Last Month: 45

29.) Anton Slepyshev, LW - Metallurg Novokuznetsk, KHL; 6’1, 190 lbs., R; Born: Penza, Russia, 5/13/94

Anton Slepyshev’s offensive chops border on the obscene. He has excellent hands, shiftiness, vision and an elite shot. The Russian U-18 captain even possesses some grit and willingness to backcheck. He’s even managed to put-up modest totals at age 17 in the second-best league in the world. Unfortunately, many find his inconsistency significantly damning and others point to his character and maturity as lacking. His status as a Russian in the KHL won’t help matters – so as a result, this skilled prospect could wind-up on the board for longer than one might think. Last Month: 26

30.) Andrei Vasilevski, G - Tolpar Ufa, MHL (Russia-Jr.); 6’3, 200 lbs., L; Born: Tyumen, Russia, 7/25/94

An eye-opening performance at the 2012 World Juniors resulted in goaltender Andrei Vasilevski leap-frogging many of his rivals into position as perhaps the top goaltender available this June. Vasilevski has an impressive frame and possesses excellent quickness and solid technique. He’s rarely beaten low and showed excellent poise at the WJC for a kid who still has two more WJC’s in him. He’s a battler who never gives up on the puck. Still, his status in the Russian-leagues negatively impacts his value. Last Month: 29

31.) Ludvig Bystrom, D – MoDo, Elitserien; 6’0 195 lbs., L; Born: Örnsköldsvik, Sweden, 7/20/94

While he didn’t come out of nowhere like Lindholm, Ludvig Bystrom climbed up many draft-boards thanks to a combination of above-average mobility and offensive instincts. Bystrom’s calling-card is intelligent puck-possession play and he has the hands and vision to develop into a top-four puck-mover/in-zone distributor in the NHL. He’s not blessed with outstanding size or strength. He’ll need to get considerably stronger and better positionally if he wants to be an above-replacement-level defensive blueliner. Last Month: 30

32.) Malcom Subban, G – Belleville Bulls, OHL; 6’1, 190 lbs., Left; Born: Rexdale, Ontario, 12/21/93

The consensus best North American draft-eligible goaltender has put up outstanding numbers in his second full season in Belleville and as a result, many scouts and analysts project Malcolm Subban will be selected on Day One. Subban’s remarkable quickness, dexterity and reactions assert his lofty upside. However, with some glaring injury concerns and issues with his rebound control, some might shy away from this boom/bust candidate. Last Month: 33

33.) Brendan Gaunce, C – Belleville Bulls, OHL; 6’2, 210 lbs., L; Born: Markham, Ontario, 2/25/94

Despite pro-caliber size, strength and two-way play – Brendan Gaunce’s offensive upside is a major question mark. Gaunce brings more than his share of valuable tools to the table: He’s a willing physical combatant, he’s a slightly above-average finisher, and he’ll compete in every zone. However, his skating is a major minus and his hands won’t dazzle – so top-six potential is likely a stretch. If he improves his wheels to ‘average’, he’d be a devastating forechecker. Last Month: 31

34.) Dalton Thrower, D – Saskatoon Blades, WHL; 6’0, 190 lbs., R; Born: North Vancouver, British Colombia, 12/20/93

Dalton Thrower’s willingness to go to war with just about any opponent is sure to entice many GMs who usually experience Pavlovian reactions to tough and talented blueliners. Gritty and physically intimidating, Thrower is mobile with some modest offensive upside. He should be an average middle-pairing distributor/puck-mover and see spot time on a second-unit powerplay. Still, in terms of pure skill he’s a step or more below many of the defensemen in this draft and with the game trending towards faster, more open play – he could be passed over. Last Month: 32

35.) Daniil Zharkov, RW – Bellville Bulls, OHL; 6’2, 200 lbs., L; Born: St. Petersburg, Russia, 2/6/94

A big, rangy forward with the talent to score at a first-line level – Daniil Zharkov is a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a Russian. Zharkov’s skating ability, shot and possession-game all border on ‘plus’ but he still hasn’t managed to score at expected levels. Why? His balance and strength are well below-average while simultaneously, his work-ethic and effort levels fluctuate. He’s got considerable boom/bust potential so the early- to mid- second round should be his likely landing zone. Last Month: 35

36.) Stefan Matteau, C – U.S. NTDP U-18; 6’1, 205 lbs., L; Born: Melville, Saskatchewan 8/7/94

A heavyweight bull of a prospect, Stefan (son of Stephane) Matteau has many projecting top-six power-forward upside. Matteau is a virtually immovable net-front presence and a dominating forechecker with significant ‘nasty’ to his game (evidenced by several lengthy suspensions). However, his offensive skillset is average at best and his skating game is still average (though improved). Still, he should bottom-out as a solid fourth-line penalty killer/checker which makes him attractive reasonably early on Day Two. Last Month: 38

37.) Mike Matheson, D – Dubuque Fighting Saints, USHL; 6’1, 180 lbs., L; Born: Pointe-Claire, Quebec, 2/27/94

An excellent skating stride and lateral agility coupled with above-average to plus playmaking and puck-control skills, Quebec-born USHL defenseman Mike Matheson surely has NHL upside. However, many consider his effort level wanting. That, combined with a wildly inconsistent performance this year for Dubuque will keep him on the board until the second day. Matheson is very raw but his talents and second-pairing upside warrant consideration. Last Month: 36

38.) Jordan Schmaltz, D – Green Bay Gamblers, USHL; 6’2, 185 lbs., R; Born: Verona, Wisconsin, 10/8/93

After many scouting services and analysts pegged the American blueliner for first-round and even top-ten consideration before the season, Jordan Schmaltz’s position well outside the top-thirty can’t be seen as anything but a disappointment. Still, in terms of raw offensive upside, you can’t do much better than the skill Schmaltz has from the back end – he arguably comes close to matching Pouliot and Rielly in terms of distribution-skills. However, defensively he’s light-years away from where he needs to be and plays the game like it’s two-hand touch. Last Month: 34

39.) Martin Frk, RW – Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL; 6’0, 200 lbs., R; Born: Karlov Vary, Czech Republic, 10/5/93

A solid run through the postseason for Halifax may have saved Martin Frk’s draft ranking after a concussion, conditioning issues and poor play during the regular season knocked him out of all but the most optimistic first-round mocks. Frk’s shot remains his best asset – he can release it quickly and accurately from anywhere on the ice and put devastating one-timers on net. His hands and touch are above average but his skating is weak and it significantly hampers his ability to be an effective attacker. He’s strong despite average size and plays with a solid degree of physicality. Last Month: 39

40.) Ville Pokka, D – Karpat, SM-Liiga; 6’0, 198 lbs., R; Born: Tornio, Finland, 6/3/94

Ville Pokka plays a pro-caliber puck-moving game thanks in large part to his superlative hockey IQ. He always makes a sure short-pass and has the vision and timing to catch streaking forwards with breakaway bombs. He shoots heavily and can QB a powerplay. Defensively, he’s a mixed bag: He doesn’t possess impressive strength or physicality and his skating game is below-average – but his solid play-reading is a significant advantage. He lacks the flash, dazzle and boom of many other blueliners in this class but he’s a solid bet to make it as a middle-pairing, man-advantage stud. Last Month: 37

41.) Tanner Pearson, LW – Barrie Colts, OHL; 6’0, 195 lbs., L; Born: Kitchener, Ontario, 8/10/92

The twice-passed-over winger from Barrie shocked the hockey world with his tremendous production at the start of the season and finished as one of the CHL’s top scorers. Couple that with an impressive run at the WJC and he has given scouting departments much to debate. Person’s upside is probably limited to second-line scoring potential but he has a diverse arsenal: An above-average shot, plus hands, great vision and outstanding hockey sense. Despite possessing below-average wheels and a modest frame, Pearson shouldn’t sneak past the early picks of the June 23. Last Month: 32

42.) Tim Bozon, F – Kamloops Blazers, WHL; 6’1, 180 lbs., L; Born: Lugano, Switzerland, 3/24/94

A point-per-game scorer in his first WHL season, French national and son of NHL stock (Philippe) Tim Bozon has solid finishing abilities along with impressive grit and determination. He’s a toolsy attacker: His skating, shot, hands, ingenuity and game-processing are all solid. He needs to work on his strength and defensive game and iron out his inconsistencies to increase his potential at the next level but he’s a very solid bet to find a position as a top-nine scorer. Last Month: 44

43.) Colton Sissons, C – Kelowna Rockets, WHL; 6’1, 189 lbs., R; Born: North Vancouver, British Colombia, 11/5/93

While Colton Sissons is consistently commended for his work ethic, leadership and two-way game – scouts were looking for more offense this season to go with his smart, physical play. Sissons attracts attention for the aforementioned intangibles and commitment to a 200 ft., three-zone game. However, aside from being able to finish in-close and a decent possession/cycle-game his attacking upside is fairly pedestrian. Scouts and analysts continue to point at his skating as subpar – and that will probably cost him his first-round aspirations. Last Month: 42

44.) Damon Severson, D – Kelowna Rockets, WHL; 6’1, 195 lbs., R; Born: Melville, Saskatchewan, 8/7/94

Stay-at-home defensemen, like Kelowna’s Damon Severson, rarely get ‘love’ in the rankings because they’re so hard to project. Severson’s solid size, poise, four-way mobility and play-reading make him hard to ignore despite his offensive shortcomings. Still, some scouts have pointed to untapped attacking upside and a progressing puck-moving talent as a reason for optimism and first-round potential. He’s a physical player and uses strength and balance effectively to dispossess opponents and start the counter-attack. Last Month: 43

45.) Scott Kosmachuk, RW – Guelph Storm, OHL; 6’0, 180 lbs., R; Born: Toronto, Ontario, 1/24/94

If Scott Kosmachuk’s scouting report were distilled to a single word – that word would be “Energy.” The modest-framed forward doesn’t have any ‘plus’ skill but when he’s on, he does many things with the kind of effort, intensity and sacrifice that teams look for in bottom-six players. Still, he has some attacking touch and can finish-off plays effectively through traffic. He’s another who falls into the ‘too small for power-forward’ designation but ‘agitator’ might be just as accurate. Some scouts question his hockey sense and consistent compete level – and he’s less of a defensive-zone stud than many are looking for in a third or fourth-liner. Last Month: 47

46.) Pat Sieloff, D – U.S. NTDP U-18; 6’0, 195 lbs., L; Born: Ann Arbor, Michigan, 5/15/94

Despite lacking ideal size, Patrick Sieloff played solid, dependable stay-at-home hockey for the U.S. National Team this season. Playing fourth-fiddle to higher rated defensive prospects ahead of him, Sieloff’s performances went underrated. He can make the big, momentum-swinging open-ice hit and occasionally goes hunting for it. His zone-coverage is advanced and he uses an active stick and defensive acumen to maintain gap control and clog lanes when not hammering his assignments. While not a dynamic offensive threat, he’s a solid puck-mover. Last Month: 46

47.) Dane Fox, C – Erie Otters, OHL; 6’1, 185 lbs., L; Born: Thamesville, Ontario, 10/13/93

A solid two-way threat, Dane Fox is all about determination. Fox plays an aggressive forechecking game with an agitating presence to push opponents out of their comfort zone and goad them into undisciplined penalties. His offensive upside will probably limit him to bottom-six duties at the next level but he’s a solid all-around attacker (with an above-average shot and possession game) who could score twenty-twenty. Discipline is occasionally an issue for him and off-ice issues last summer continue to be debated. Last Month: NR

48.) Nikolai Prokhorkin, C – CSKA Moscow, KHL; 6’2, 185 lbs., L; Born: Chelyabinsk, Russia 9/17/93

One of the oldest first-year-eligibles in 2012 (almost a year older than Teräväinen), Nikolai Prokhorkin saw some action with CSKA Moscow and lit up the Russian Junior ranks. Scouts point to Prokhorkin’s hands as borderline-plus and his vision and hockey-sense as above-average – making him ideally suited for the role of playmaker. He’s also a decent finisher and displays surprising grit but is an average skater. He needs to fill out a bit. Last Month: 49

49.) Brian Hart, RW – Phillips Exeter Academy, USHS; 6’2, 215 lbs., R; Born: Cumberland, Maine, 11/25/93

Brian Hart is a brawny power-forward with an impressive north-south skating game and impressive production and finish. His shot is heavy and his release is outstanding – he could be a twenty-plus goal-scorer at the NHL level. He’s not ‘quick’ but he can be fast. Hart really drives the net with authority and loves to pick-up garbage. A long-term project-pick, Hart’s physical development and strength are enticing but he has a lot of work to do to grow into a well-rounded player. He’ll have to wait until Day Two to hear his name called because he doesn’t have the high-end skillset to warrant the risk inherent with his humble (New England Prep) roots. Last Month: 53

50.) Mike Winther, C – Prince Albert Raiders, WHL; 5’11, 175 lbs., L; Born: Trochu, Alberta, 1/9/94

Small and slight, Mike Winther was still one of the WHL’s best offensive performers this season and plays a gritty two-way game for a player of his size. Winther has one of the draft’s best shots – and he knows it, as he often passes-up distribution opportunities to let one rip. Additionally, Winther displays sound effort on the defensive side and has above-average hockey-sense. A shifty skater (with modest levels of foot speed), he needs time to physically develop and get stronger on the puck. If he adds muscle, he could be a dangerous second-line finisher. Last Month: 48

51.) Mark Jankowski, C – Stanstead College, PQ-Prep; 6’2, 175 lbs., L; Born: Hamilton, Ontario 9/13/94

A rare top talent from the ranks of the Quebec Preps, Mark Jankowski has the size, skating and offensive acumen to turn heads despite his humble beginnings. Scouts have been exceedingly impressed with his rapid progression and at his age (one of the youngest players in the draft) he’s fairly advanced. Jankowski projects as an all-around scorer at a top-six level thanks to above-average hands, vision and creativity. He’ll need to add some bulk to his slender frame and fans shouldn’t expect him to make the jump for some time but he’s got significant long-term upside. Last Month: NR

52.) Brady Vail, F – Windsor Spitfires, OHL; 6’1, 195 lbs., L; Born: Northville, Michigan, 3/11/94

Brady Vail makes a return to our top-sixty after a one-month absence. Vail’s calling-card two-way performances may be enough to justify selection in the top-sixty but it’s his offensive skillset and skating that will leave organizations debating his value. His shot is certainly solid-plus and he seems to see the ice well and understand play-development – but his distribution game is only average and he relies more on the down-low forechecking game to produce than creativity. Even with only a borderline top-six/solid top-nine skillset he has value as an energy forward who can contribute some secondary scoring and effort for the full 200 ft. Last Month: NR

53.) Cristoval ‘Boo’ Nieves, C – Kent School (CT), USHS; 6’3, 185 lbs., L; Born: Baldwinsville, New York, 1/23/94

Cristoval ‘Boo’ Nieves remains one of the most divisive prospects in 2012 thanks to some elite natural tools and size but glaring concerns about his ‘toolbox’. Scouts gush over his elite speed and skating game (perhaps the best in this draft-class) but shake their heads over his inability to score goals against the modest competition of the New England Prep Leagues. He’s more skilled as a playmaker and looked decent in an end-of-season stint in the USHL. He shouldn’t fall much further than the second-half of round two – the potential for upside is too extreme and he could find time as a bottom-six NHL energy-liner if his scoring doesn’t pan out. Last Month: 40

54.) Troy Bourke, LW – Prince George Cougars, WHL; 5’10, 175 lbs., L; Born: Onoway, Alberta 3/30/94

Without much help to speak of in Prince George, Troy Bourke’s modest scoring totals this season aren’t an adequate representation of his value. Bourke’s much-discussed playmaking abilities stem from outstanding hockey sense, excellent pacing to create space and his golden hands. His skating game isn’t elite but he makes quick, shifty moves and is fast with the puck on his stick. He’s not lacking in grit but isn’t a plus-physical player – even for his size. As it stands – if he puts on some mass, he could challenge for a top-six playmaking role down the line but he’ll need to develop more sandpaper to help him on his road to the NHL. Last Month: NR

55.) Charles Hudon, LW – Chicoutimi Sagueneens, QMJHL; 5’10, 170 lbs., L; Born: Boisbriand, Quebec, 6/23/94

Charles Hudon’s scoring potential is evident – the kid can distribute and dangle with the best of ‘em. He can make opponents look silly with a staggering array of moves. He has a good head for the game and can back defenders off with jukes and intelligent pacing to make space to find the seams. With his diminutive frame, his modest speed is a major concern – though he is quick. His strength is a major issue as well – he’d be eaten alive in the NHL – and until he bulks up, he’d be a perimeter threat only. Last Month: 52

56.) Adam Pelech, D – Erie Otters, OHL; 6’2, 210 lbs., L; Born: Toronto, Ontario, 8/16/94

Adam Pelech is a no-nonsense defense-first rearguard. Possessing pro-caliber size, this steady blueliner gives dependable minutes in a shut-down role. He processes the attack well and utilizes his solid frame to clog lanes and as a force in front of the net and along the walls. Poised and deliberate – he makes the smart play and while he’s physical, he won’t pull out of position to attempt a big hit. He’ll never be more than an adequate puck-mover and he’s certainly not creative so he’ll get the majority of his time with d-zone starts and on the PK. A real minute-eater, Pelech’s projects as a middle-pairing defensive-defenseman and won’t fall far. Last Month: 51

57.) Chandler Stephenson, LW – Regina Pats, WHL; 5’11, 190 lbs., L; Born: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, 4/22/94

The talented Chandler Stephenson has disappointed many with some underwhelming numbers but he remains a high-potential offensive threat. He’s a strong skater – possessing quickness, a solid top speed and decent agility. His attacking game doesn’t have a major hole: Stephenson’s shot, hands and distribution game are all above-average. As with many small forwards he needs to add muscle. He’s pretty demonstrably an attack-only player; he needs to develop his defensive game significantly especially with his inconsistencies offensively to-date. Last Month: NR

58.) Calle Andersson, D – Färjestad Jr., J20 SuperElit; 6’2, 200 lbs., R; Born: Limhamn, Sweden, 5/16/94

Calle Andersson plays two-way defense with the kind of tools that usually garner first-round attention. However, Andersson’s forgettable intensity and inconsistency have this gifted player sitting well down many draft-boards. He’s a solid-plus skater and is an effective distributor and puck-mover. His hands are very good for a blueliner of his size and experience. Displaying considerable poise with the puck – he seems to consistently make outstanding breakout passes. Despite his size he’s not overtly physical and he needs time to work out the kinks in his own-zone game. Last Month: 56

59.) Andreas Athanasiou, LW – London Knights, OHL; 6’1, 175 lbs., L; Mississauga, Ontario, 8/6/94

Andreas Athanasiou is a potentially game-breaking offensive talent – which only emphasizes the disappointment in his position barely inside our top-sixty – the kid can flat-out fly and score off the rush but the rest of his game leaves a lot to be desired. His speed is truly elite and he possesses elite-level agility and acceleration as well. His puck-control is decent and he can dangle past the opposition but he doesn’t read plays well and makes some real questionable decisions on the ice. His effort in the defensive game is lacking and he seems to be lost playing without the puck. He doesn’t create for teammates. Obviously, there’s some major upside here – but that window may be closing. Last Month: 54

60.) Nick Ebert, D – Windsor Spitfires, OHL; 6’1, 195 lbs., R; Born: Livingston, New Jersey, 5/11/94

Once pegged as a potential top pick in 2012, Nick Ebert’s stock has fallen almost comically far. Ignoring his 2010-11 performance one could make the case that he’s a borderline mid-round selection. However, despite his fall from grace, his upside is real: With time, patience and concerted effort (something analysts have repeatedly pointed to as ‘lacking’ in Ebert…) he could develop into the first-pairing stud so many projected him as. He’s an outstanding skater with a dimensional shot and has above-average distribution and puck skills. His own-zone play is really raw (putting it kindly) but the biggest concern might be his hockey-IQ – which some have assessed as well below-average. Last Month: 55

Bill is the northeast regional scout for Future Considerations, the Boston Bruins correspondent for Hockey's Future, and a former collegiate goaltender.

Latest posts by Bill Ladd (see all)

1.) Seth Jones – D – 6’4, 205
2.) Nathan MacKinnon – C – 5’11, 180
3.) Jonathan Drouin – LW – 5’11, 175
4.) Aleksander Barkov – C – 6’3, 205
5.) Elias Lindholm – C – 6’0, 185
6.) Sean Monahan – C – 6’2, 195
7.) Valeri Nichushkin – RW – 6’3, 175
8.) Hunter Shinkaruk – LW – 5’11, 175
9.) Ryan Pulock – D – 6’1, 205
10.) Nikita Zadorov – D – 6’5, 220
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