There are a ton of prospects available this year who have their own unique appeal. Whether it’s good foot speed, intuitive hockey sense or an elite shot, each of these prospects below sits atop the class in their attribute category.
If we were to take the 2013 draft eligible class and create a perfect Frankenstein monster of a prospect, these are the pieces we’d need to bring it to life:
Feet, Nathan MacKinnon: The Halifax Mooseheads center has that ability to pick up speed, seemingly without having to move his feet. What makes him even more dangerous is his ability to cut and curl incredibly fast, which leaves defenders caught way out of position.
Legs, Seth Jones: He has a seemingly effortless skating stride and can pick up speed so quickly. His smooth, powerful, long strides allow him to take advantage of open spaces, but also give him the power to change directions and transition effectively.
Hips, Darnell Nurse: Explosive when skating in a straight line, Nurse is also very good at wedging his body in spaces to deny lanes and finish his checks. His ability to pivot and attack opponents can be extremely intimidating.
Torso, Madison Bowey: At times, he is an absolute beast. He is ultra-competitive and loves engaging in high traffic areas. He can transition explosively and loves to propel his body into opponents. He also has great shooting mechanics that allow him to build a ton of power through the rotation of his trunk.
Chest, Rasmus Ristolainen: Opponents rarely realize how strong Ristolainen is until they have already bit off more than they can chew. He is excellent in 1-on-1 battles and has been outmuscling men around the net for a couple of years now. He can really throw his opponents around when he feels the need to.
Heart, Hunter Shinkaruk: Has excellent technical skills, but it’s the intangibles he brings that make him such an appealing player. In my years playing, coaching and scouting, I can’t recall a player who loves and has as much passion for the sport as Shinkaruk. He wants to play, he wants to win and he is always at his best when opponents threaten his ability to do either.
Wrists, Morgan Klimchuk: A great skater in his own right, Klimchuk’s most dangerous attribute is how quickly the puck comes off his stick when he finds a position to shoot from. He can power the puck past goaltenders before they even react. His one-timers are exceptional, but he’s also adept at getting off great shots in stride. He has that Kovalchuk-like ability to be a dangerous goal scorer from every area of the ice.
Hands, Jonathan Drouin: He has a Datsyuk-like ability with the puck, which, in large part, is due to the quickness and the range he has in his hands. His lightning-quick hands allow him to be four or five steps ahead of the competition, which allows him to create space. He has great reaction time and can execute on his instincts with incredible speed and precision.
Knuckles, Mason Geertsen: While he isn’t always the most intimidating player to look at, Geertsen is more than capable of holding his own against any opponent and can really turn a game around when he embraces the rougher, physical aspects of the game. The kid packs a punch.
Arms, Valeri Nichushkin: Few players can protect the puck like Nichushkin and few players show an understanding of how to use their size and wingspan as well as he does too. He can win pucks using just his arms, power his way into dangerous areas of the ice very well and make plays with opponents hanging off his body.
Shoulders, Nick Baptiste: He’s got a great athletic build, is powerful and loves to finish his checks. He can also put a team on his shoulders and carry them when they really need it. He was tremendous at the U18s this year and really showed off his ability to be a consistent momentum grabber for his team.
Mouth, Ryan Hartman: He’s the type of player you hate to play against because of how relentless he is. An in-your-face agitator who most opponents eventually just can’t handle.
Nose for the Net, Kerby Rychel: Has excellent offensive timing and loves the front of the net. He sniffs out loose pucks and is almost always the first player to get to them off rebounds and scrambles. On top of that, he effectively identifies lanes to drive to the net through.
Eyes, Bo Horvat: Has a ton of appealing attributes for this list, but ultimately the way he sees the game and his hand-eye coordination give him a huge advantage over the competition.
Eyes in the back of his head, Taylor Cammarata: He is off the draft radar because of his small size, but the kid can make some insane plays that leave you wondering how he saw or anticipated his options.
Head, Sean Monahan: He thinks the game at a high level and always puts himself in a place that makes him an option at the appropriate time. He always seems to be ready to go in the right direction and appears a step ahead of every other player on the ice.
Size, Keegan Kanzig: He is extremely intimidating and knows how to exert his physical gifts on his opponents. At 6-foot-7 and 241 pounds, there are players who just can’t stop Kanzig when he sets his mind to going somewhere on the ice, regardless of their skill set.
Ross MacLean is the head scout for International Scouting Services. A young, diverse and versatile hockey mind, MacLean leads ISS' network of scouts and puts his domestic and international hockey experience and knowledge towards ranking and providing industry-leading profiles and information on draft eligible players around the world. Follow Ross on Twitter at @rossmaclean and ISS at @ISSHockey.