Defenseman Tyler Cuma has four goals and 28 points in 47 games this season. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
With the top 15 prospects for the 2008 entry draft already taken care of (read the previous blog entries HERE), let’s finish off with Nos. 16-30.
16 – Tyler Cuma; LD, Ottawa – Another in the long line of stud defenders out of the Ottawa 67’s...Up and coming assistant coach Chris Byrne deserves a lot of the credit for Cuma’s development.
17 – Mikhail Stefanovich; RW, Quebec Remparts – Patrick Roy used some fancy maneuvering in the CHL Import Draft to secure this Belarusian sniper.
18 - Yann Sauve; LD, Saint John Seadogs – Fight with Stamkos at the prospects game surprised everybody...Most teams have him much lower.
19 – Evgeni Grachev; RW, Yaroslavl – Could be another casualty of the lack of a transfer agreement, but has some tremendous skills.
20 – Shawn Lalonde; RD, Belleville – Smallish defenseman who has excellent mobility, high hockey IQ and good offensive instincts.
21 – David Toews; LW, Shattuck-St. Mary’s – Brother of Blackhawks star is going to North Dakota, but I expect him to leave for the WHL sooner rather than later.
22 – Viktor Tikhonov; C, Cherepovets – Has been passed over in two NHL drafts already, but his play at the world juniors shows it won’t happen a third time. His grandfather is the legendary taskmaster of the same name.
23 – James Livingston; RW, Sault Ste. Marie – Big specimen has made a huge leap from last year and is a personal favorite. Has a chance to become a special player.
24 – Tyler Beskorawany; G, Owen Sound – A former 14th rounder in the OHL draft, he has been unbelievable for Owen Sound despite a lack of exposure. Won’t go this high, but remember his name down the road.
25 – Colby Robak; LD, Brandon – Big and steady defender will take time to develop into a solid top four defenseman. Has shown some flashes of offense, but his future lies in being a stay-at-home D.
26 – Lucas Sbisa; LD, Lethbridge – We were worried about how he’d play in the WHL, but he has been a huge surprise. He might be the most improved prospect since last spring.
27 – Greg Nemisz; C, Windsor – Another big body who is learning to use his size...Windsor is building a powerhouse and he is one of the guys who will lead them into the future.
28 – Jared Staal; RW, Sudbury – The last of the Staal brothers and again, think of him as a 22-year-old at 220 pounds. He’s smart, has good stick skills and is averaging a point a game for the rebuilding Wolves.
29 – Tyler Myers; RD, Kelowna – Strictly a first rounder on potential, but has a lot of work to go to become another Zdeno Chara. But the frame (6-foot-7, 200 pounds) is soooo intriguing.
30 – Kirill Petrov; LW, Kazan – Skills are higher than this ranking, but an inconsistent effort means he is high risk/high reward...The transfer agreement doesn’t help, but if a team gets to him and convinces him to put it together, he could be a steal.
It would be fair to describe this as the “year of the defenseman” because 13 of my top 30 play on the back end...
The only goalie in my top 30 is Beskorawany.
Mark Seidel is the chief scout for North American Central Scouting, the commissioner of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, and appears as a host on Leafs Lunch on AM 640 radio in Toronto.