Thursday, January 26, 2006


ISS top 15 2006 prospects for January

International Scouting Services (ISS) presents the January edition of their rankings of the top 15 prospects for the 2006 NHL Draft:

Erik Johnson, Defense
Height: 6-4, Weight: 222, Current Team: USNTDP (USA)

Jonathan Toews, Forward
Height: 6-1, Weight: 195, Current Team: University of North Dakota

Phil Kessel, Center
Height: 6-0, Weight: 189, Current Team: University of Minnesota (WCHA)

Jordan Staal, Center
Height: 6-4, Weight: 209, Current Team: Peterborough Petes (OHL)

Peter Mueller, Center
Height: 6-2, Weight: 200, Current Team: Everett Silvertips (WHL)

Michael Frolik, Right Wing
Height: 6-1, Weight: 187, Current Team: Kladno (CZE)

Nicklas Backstrom, Center
Height: 6-0, Weight: 183, Current Team: Brynas (SWE)

James Sheppard, Left Wing
Height: 6-2, Weight: 201, Current Team: Cape Breton (QMJHL)

John DeGray
, Defense
Height: 6-4, Weight: 202, Current Team: Brampton Battalion (OHL)

Bryan Little, Center
Height: 5-10, Weight: 194, Current Team: Barrie Colts (OHL)

Bob Sanguinetti, Defense
Height: 6-2, Weight: 182, Current Team: Owen Sound Attack (OHL)

Kyle Okposo, Right Wing
Height: 6-0, Weight: 195, Current Team: Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL)

Alexander Vasyunov, Left Wing
Height: 6-0, Weight: 187, Current Team: Yaroslavl (RUS)

Derick Brassard, Center
Height: 6-0, Weight: 174, Current Team: Drummondville Voltiguers (QMJHL)

Nigel Williams, Defense
Height: 6-4, Weight: 226, Current Team: USNTDP (USA)


From their 'Falling' list

Phil Kessel:

Let’s be clear in that Kessel’s WJC tournament wasn't as bad as many have suggested. The fact is he continues to display a number of attributes that make him a legitimate candidate to become a superstar in the NHL. He displayed a few tendencies that have given us cause for some concern, however. His unwillingness to venture into tough traffic and the fact that he tried to generate everything with speed when that avenue was obviously shut down were bothersome. Also, Kessel seemed confused at times, which raised some eyebrows. He still has a bundle of skill and his skating may be the best in the draft. But, whereas we once thought he was a surefire superstar, now a few doubts have obviously crept in.
My main lean ground beef with Kessel was that he'd try and stickhandle his way through an entire team, rather than use his teammates. Kessel is going to be a good sniper in the NHL, but he'll make himself easy to defend if he doesn't use his teammates more. I figure that once he gets to the higher levels, he'll realize that he can't simply walk through an entire team. Imagine if he tries to pull stunts while playing for a coach like Brent Sutter? He may smarten up quickly. I'm surprised ISS would knock him all the way down to #1, however. I still think Kessel is the most talented of the bunch.

Jesse Joensuu:

Joensuu was the kind of player in this tournament that showed flashes of brilliance but always left you wanting more. We love his size, strength and skating but we have to question his desire and his offensive skills. We aren't sure that he has potential as a second-line winger, and there are a few other guys in the draft that can fill that role that we like more.
I noticed Joensuu, mainly because he was the one Finnish player not working very hard while his mates were much more determined. Joensuu obviously has the size, but he was basically cruising like Todd Bertuzzi on one of his 'off' days, and Jesse doesn't have the same great puck control.

ISS didn't mention Michael Frolik on their falling list, but his play at the WJC was just as bad as Joensuu's. I know coach Radim Rulik was terrible and the players hated his guts (and his head, shoulders, feet, etc), but Frolik was just invisble offensively. His play with Kladno this year seems to be OK, but not mind-blowing. Has he peaked early? hmm...

BTW, never draft a player named Jesse. They ALWAYS are teh sux0rz.

On the RISING list...

Niklas Backstrom:

Backstrom has had a tough start throughout the 1st half of 2005-06, but his play in the WJC tournament was impressive and very spirited. He played at times like a much older player and displayed the type of characteristics that warrant top 10 consideration. Backstrom went hard into traffic, shot the puck like a pro and was a force in the offensive end. His defensive play was sound but most impressive was his passionate play, which rubbed off on his teammates helping make them a better team.
Yes, his play was so impressive that I actually named him (a Swede!?!) to my WJC Media All-Star team. He needs to carry his tournament play back with him and show that this wasn't just a 'one-time' fluke.

You can read the rest of ISS's January Report here.

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