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Mark Seidel's Blog: The latest NACS prospect rankings

Tyler Seguin of the Plymouth Whalers is a safe bet to go No. 1 or No. 2 overall in this summer's NHL draft. (Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

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Tyler Seguin of the Plymouth Whalers is a safe bet to go No. 1 or No. 2 overall in this summer's NHL draft. (Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

RISING
Erik Gudbranson: Kingston Frontenacs, OHL
Current Rank, No. 3; Dec. 1 Rank, No. 8
The more we at North American Central Scouting watch this kid, the more we are convinced he has the potential to become a franchise defenseman who can quarterback a power play.

Although there are some concerns about his propensity to get hurt and the fact he still has a lot to learn about the defensive side of the game, his toughness, offensive sense and hockey IQ make him an attractive prospect worthy of the No. 3 spot behind Tyler Seguin and Taylor Hall.

Dylan McIlrath: Moose Jaw Warriors, WHL
Current Rank, No. 18; Dec. 1 Rank, No. 47
Scouts are taught early on that if a kid is the best at a particular skill, it should translate into a higher rating. Unfortunately for Mcllrath's opponents, his skill is beating people up on the ice.

Along with being the toughest kid in this draft, his overall play on a nightly basis has continued to improve. And in destroying Alex Petrovic during the CHL Prospects Game in Windsor,  McIlrath showed GMs across the NHL how well he can protect himself. He still needs some work, but don't be surprised if he goes much earlier than expected at the draft.
 
Brock Nelson: Warroad High School, Minn.
Current Rank, No. 29; Dec. 1 Rank, No. 91
You really have to do your homework on high school kids to avoid busts, but the play of this young stud has continued to impress. The nephew of 1980 Olympian Dave Christian, Nelson has the size and strength to compete in any league and is committed to the player factory that is the University of North Dakota.

Although we aren't completely convinced he will score as much as he has in the competitive Minnesota high school loop, he will bring a number of other intangibles to the ice that should give him a long and productive NHL career.

Zach Trotman: Lake Superior State Lakers, CCHA
Current Rank, No. 33; Dec. 1 Rank, No. 77
Most people won’t know who Trotman is, but every time our staff sees him play, we are more and more convinced he is on the brink of becoming a first round pick.

The Lake Superior State program has fallen off over the years from the days of Doug Weight and Jim Dowd, but with the addition of recruits like Trotman, coach Jim Roque has rejuvenated his team.

Trotman is a big kid who is hard to face and it shouldn't be forgotten he often plays against the top-line players from other CCHA teams; players older than what you’ll find in major junior. Although he will never lead the league in scoring, this future No. 3 defenseman will make somebody very happy on draft day.
 
FALLING
Alex Petrovic: Red Deer Rebels, WHL
Current Rank, No. 34; Dec. 1 Rank, No. 20
Petrovic had a poor showing at the CHL Prospects Game, which normally wouldn't concern us, but the constant critical reports coming from our scout in Sylvan Lake, Alta., are causing us to re-examine Petrovic’s ranking.

There are serious concerns about his hockey sense and his mobility still needs to improve, so unless he can revert to the form we saw from him last year, he’ll continue to drop.

Ryan Martindale: Ottawa 67's, OHL
Current Rank, No. 48; Dec. 1 Rank, No. 27
Much like a few other OHLers – John McFarland and Devante Smith-Pelly to name a couple – we like what we see on the ice, but the lack of off-ice drive is causing us to take a second look.

Martindale isn't a bad kid, but he seems to lack the fire to become a star in the NHL. His off-ice work ethic and consistency are areas that give us real concern and he reminds us of the Henrich brothers (Adam and Michael), who never developed into NHLers because they lacked the motivation to put in the hard work and show up every night.

Joonas Donskoi: Karpat, Finnish Elite League
Current Rank, No. 111; Dec. 1 Rank, No. 43
Near the end of November, the assistant GM of the Barrie Colts, Jason Ford, questioned our decision to have Donskoi ranked so high. At the time we felt it was a worthy slot, but we’ve been proven wrong.

Donskoi continues to plummet down our list and although we understand we have him much lower than many other rankings, our Finnish scout is fed up with Donskoi’s lack of effort and production.

NACS Top 30 for the 2010 NHL Draft
 
Name
Ht.
Wt.
Pos.
Team
1
Tyler Seguin
6-foot-1
186
C
Plymouth Whalers
2
Taylor Hall
6-foot-1
185
LW
Windsor Spitfires
3
Erik Gudbranson
6-foot-4
185
D
Kingston Frontenacs
4
Cam Fowler
6-foot-2
190
D
Windsor
5
Jack Campbell
6-foot-1
171
G
US Under 18
6
Vladimir Tarasenko
5-foot-10
187
F
Novosbirsk
7
Brett Connolly
6-foot-2
181
RW
Prince George Cougars
8
Mikael Granlund
5-foot-9
176
F
HIFK
9
Brandon Gormley
6-foot-2
190
D
Moncton Wildcats
10
Kiril Kabanov
6-foot-3
176
LW
Moncton Wildcats
11
Jon Merrill
6-foot-3
205
D
US Under 18
12
Jeff Skinner
5-foot-10
197
C
Kitchener Rangers
13
Stephen Johns
6-foot-3
220
D
US Under 18
14
Mark Pysyk
6-foot-2
178
D
Edmonton OilKings
15
Austin Watson
6-foot-3
171
RW
Peterborough Petes
16
Maxim Kitsyn
6-foot-2
192
LW
Metallurg
17
Alexander Burmistrov
6-foot
159
C
Barrie Colts
18
Dylan McIlrath
6-foot-3
197
D
Moose Jaw Warriors
19
Teemu Pulkkinen
5-foot-9
176
RW
Jokerit
20
Stanislav Galiev
6-foot-1
177
F
Saint John Sea Dogs
21
John McFarland
6-foot-1
195
C
Sudbury Wolves
22
Riley Sheahan
6-foot-2
200
F
Notre Dame
23
Nino Niederreiter
6-foot-2
203
LW
Portland Winterhawks
24
Andrew Yogan
6-foot-3
200
C
Erie Otters
25
Derek Forbort
6-foot-4
195
D
US Under 18
26
Evgeny Kuznetsov
6-foot-1
176
F
Chelyabinsk
27
Brock Beukeboom
6-foot-1
196
D
SSM Greyhounds
28
Quinton Howden
6-foot-3
189
C
Moose Jaw Warriors
29
Brock Nelson
6-foot-3
205
C
Warroad
30
Ivan Telegin
6-foot-3
185
C
Saginaw


Related Links

That concludes this month's blog, but please keep an eye out for an article I have been working on detailing why certain teams struggle at the NHL draft. It should be completed within a few weeks, so check back often for this controversial piece.
 
See you at the rinks.

Mark Seidel is the chief scout for North American Central Scouting and co-hosts the radio show "Breakout; The Hockey Show; NHL 2009" on the Prime Sports Network. He is also a regular contributor to Hockey Night in Canada on Sirius Radio as their draft and junior hockey insider. Read his other blog entries HERE.

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