Kirill Petrov finished the WJC with four goals and 10 points in six games. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/NHLI via Getty Images)
Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings are out now (North American)/European) and some insiders are questioning the logic behind some player placements (no questions at the very top, but after that there were surprises).
But with the Canadian League Top Prospects Game Wednesday, many of those vying for draft spots will have a chance to shine. With an emphasis on the game and the rankings, here’s a look at some players we’re excited to see in the NHL one day.
1. Kirill Petrov, RW – Ak Bars Kazan (KHL): One of the more tantalizing prospects in the 2008 draft, Petrov slipped down the rankings because teams weren’t sure how his contract status with Ak Bars would affect his willingness to come over.
Needless to say, Petrov is still in Russia. But as he showed in the world juniors, his incredible offensive skills and willingness to use his 6-foot-3, 200-pound frame to get to the net makes the Islanders selection one to watch in the future – maybe the near future.
Petrov, like many youngsters, has never been given much ice time in the Kontinental League and the situation almost became untenable with Ak Bars this year.
“I wasn’t getting ice time and I was going to leave for the second half of the season,” Petrov said through a translator. “But management told me after the World (Junior) Championship I will get ice time. I will finish the season in Russia and maybe come to North America next year.”
If he does, the Islanders will have a very nice stable of young forwards at their disposal. Putting Petrov out on the ice with some combination of John Tavares, Kyle Okposo or Josh Bailey would be very intriguing to say the least.
Petrov also shows character; when Nikita Filatov was stripped of the captaincy at the world juniors, it was Petrov who was given the ‘C’ for Russia’s final game, though he would not disparage his fellow young star.
“It means I must be a leader on and off the ice,” Petrov said of the captaincy. “It was the coach’s decision, so I took it.”
Drafted 73rd overall by the New York Islanders in 2008.
2. Riley Sheahan, C – Notre Dame Fighting Irish (CCHA): Touted as a player who brings the complete package, Sheahan is definitely a solid body at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds and was shown a lot of love by Central Scouting. On an underwhelming Irish team, the freshman has 14 points through 25 games, which doesn’t put him too far off the team lead. Draft eligible in 2010.
3. Brad Ross, LW – Portland Winterhawks (WHL): As an injury replacement in the Top Prospects Game, Ross will get a chance to strut his stuff in Windsor. The tough left winger is second on his team in scoring with 50 points in 47 games, but he also boasts a plus-16 rating and seven fighting majors. Draft eligible in 2010.
4. Kent Simpson, G – Everett Silvertips (WHL): He won’t be at the Top Prospects Game, but it’s a shame because Simpson is having a fantastic season. The Everett netminder leads the Dub with a 2.37 goals-against average and .923 save percentage, but the ‘Tips are just heating up now, so that may have been a factor. Draft eligible in 2010.
5. Louis Leblanc, C – Harvard Crimson (ECAC): The Crimson haven’t had a very busy schedule so far, but Leblanc is making a splash nonetheless. The Canadian freshman has 14 points in 14 games and four goals in his past two games, earning him ECAC weekly honors. In a veteran conference, Leblanc is making serious noise. Drafted 18th overall by Montreal in 2009.
6. J.P. Anderson, G – Mississauga-St. Mike’s Majors (OHL): Anderson’s save percentage may not be tip-top (.897), but the rest of his stats make him a winner. The young netminder boasts the third-best GAA in the league at 2.53 and his record is almost exactly the same as veteran teammate Chris Carrozzi. Look for an NHL team to swipe him earlier than his current Central Scouting ranking – 20th among North American goalies. Draft eligible in 2010.
7. Jerome Gauthier-Leduc, D – Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL): The Patrice Cormier business has cast a pall over Rouyn-Noranda, but not everything is negative for the Huskies. Gauthier-Leduc is having a standout season from the blueline, churning out 32 points and eight power play goals in 48 games, making him the most intriguing Quebecois skater available this summer. Draft eligible in 2010.
8. Bryce Aneloski, D – Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (USHL): Aneloski just picked up his third defensive player of the week honor in the league and leads his team in scoring with 34 points in 36 games. After an unsuccessful stint at Providence College last year, the big blueliner has found a definite home in Iowa. Draft eligible in 2010 (undrafted in ‘09).
9. Jared Knight, C – London Knights (OHL): Recently diagnosed as a diabetic, Knight hasn’t let adversity slow him down. In fact, the Battle Creek, Mich., native is just getting warmed up in London, registering 10 points in his past eight games for a total of 41 in 41 on the season. Draft eligible in 2010.
10. Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, LW – Timra Red Eagles (Swe.): Here’s a silver lining for all you distraught Oilers fans out there: MPS is still kickin’ it back home in Sweden. After a solid world junior tournament, the slick playmaker is sitting second amongst junior-aged scorers in the Elite League with 21 points through 34 games, not to mention a plus-4 rating. Drafted 10th overall by Edmonton in 2009.
The Hot List, a weekly roundup of minor league, junior, college and high school players we’re excited to one day see in the NHL, appears every Tuesday only on thehockeynews.com.
For more great prospect profiles and news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.