Now that the Meldonium scandal has died down. Here are my latest rankings:
1) Auston Matthews – 6-2, 210 – C – When he goes in deep with the puck. Nobody stops him and then he can shoot or pass. He’s unselfish. Swats away pucks with great force on defense. He’s generational player. I’d rank him ahead of Jack Eichel for future potential.
2) Patrik Laine – 6-4, 209 – LW – He’s big, powerful, dynamic player. He can make the dipsy do dangle and snipe the short side. He can make a slick defensive play and get the puck going the other way. Great wrist shot from long distance too. Attracts the defense and can make a great pass to setup a scoring chance. Can slow down the game for his benefit. Laine’s toughness is why I have him ranked slightly ahead of his countryman.
3) Jesse Puljujärvi – 6-3, 203 – RW – He has all the tools. He can fly down the ice and get a goal. Can really stickhandle away from anybody, at that size, and doesn’t seem to have a favorite spot. He can score from all of them. Agile, hard to knock off the puck. If you try and block his shot he dangles past, makes a slight adjustment to get the shot off.
4) Matthew Tkachuk – 6-1, 195 – LW – He has rare poise and hockey I.Q. for such a young player. Fast enough, gets to the net. Has a quick release. Can go into traffic wth his head down. His skating is better than average. Has a pedigree that I like.
5) Olli Juolevi – 6-2, 183 – D – He has a lot of stick skills. Good stopping and starting speed. Excellent slap shot. Excellent on the power play. Patient waiting to make that first pass from behind the net. Has an active stick. Always has his stick down. Sneaky fast wrist shot. Great on the PK.
6) Jakob Chychrun – 6-2, 214 – D – He’s come back strong from a shoulder injury. Has a big shot. Can lead the puck up the ice. His speed can be better. He has an amazing point shot and wrist shot. He can split the defense with fancy moves. He has a very fast, hard wrist shot that he can shoot in action.
7) Pierre Luc-Dublois – 6-3, 201 – LW – He has great hands, stick and puck control. Will lay a hit to make a play. Very strong on his skates. He plays solid defense. He has exceptional stamina. He powers well to the net. Coaches kid. Creates scoring chances for teammates.
8) Alexander Nylander – 6-0, 172 – RW – He can stick handle through major traffic. Has a rocket of a one-timer. Great on the power play. He’s a precision passer and can make the cross-ice pass. Back checks well.
9) Michael McLeod – 6-2, 187 – C – McLeod is a pivot with a goal scorers touch. He’s surprisingly fast on the rush. He can score from the slot with a quick wrist shot. He can play in all situations. He’ll bury the one-timer if you give him space. Can score with somebody on him. Has just enough speed to keep defenders at bey. Protects the puck well.
10) Clayton Keller – 5-10, 168 – C – He plays bigger. Good on draws against older/stronger NCAA players. When Keller gets stronger, watch out. He looks like the fastest player on the NTDP. He’s a playmaking center. He has great hands and can draw penalties. He has 71 points in 37 games. BU commit.
11) Max Jones – LW – 6-2, 201 – Nice goal on the rush. Fast shot. Moves well with and without the puck. Powerful play with skill and determination.
12) Alex DeBrincat – 5-7, 160 – C – Goal scoring center who buzzes through the crease area. Fast skater. Fearless. Plays solid defense as well.
13) Logan Brown – 6-6, 218 -C – Excellent passer. Causes matchup problems for the opposition. Lightning fast release on the break.
14) Charlie McAvoy – 6-1, 211 – D – Good shot blocker and puck mover. Moves up the ice well. Has a sneaky fast wrist shot that he fires off on net with a defender on him. Plays in all situations. Nice block and moved the puck up the ice well. Up high on Team USA power play. Solid slap shot. Makes a good chip pass on the power play. Good writer in close as well.
15) Mikhail Sergachev – 6-2, 205 – D – Long reach, fast, can catch fast players from behind the play. Good passer. Very hard shot. Lays hits. Good under pressure on defense.
16) Luke Kunin – 6-0, 193 – C – In the AAP game he had the 2nd goal of the game. Fast shot. Scored 3 points and six shots in the All American prospects game. He’s a goal scorer first and playmaker second. Gets down the ice quickly for scoring opportunities. He’s under consideration for the Hobey Baker Award with Wisconsin.
17) German Rubstov – 6-1, 179 – C – Big centerman. Shifty skater. Solid stick and puck skills. Fast shot. Will shoot or dish. Decent pursuit on the defensive end. Has a great backhand. Excellent on the power play with a solid shot from the slot. Uses his size and makes good passes to get out of trouble. When he faced a stronger team he wasn’t as effective and lost some puck battles on the side wall.
18) Kieffer Bellows – 6-1, 195 – LW – Heavy shot. Fast release. Gets in on the goalie fast. Dominating at the NTDP. Will play at the NHL level like his father. Carries himself like a pro on and off the ice.
19) Dante Fabbro – 6-1, 185 – D – Stayed behind another year in the BCHL before going to BU next year. Two-way with a ton of offensive upside. Big shot on the power play. Power play quarterback. Plays strong defense.
20) Julien Gauthier – 6-4, 212, RW – Defensive awareness isn’t great. Lethal shot. Good wheels. Scorer. Sets up quickly to score. Looked good in International play. Scored a pretty goal down low proving if you’re around the net offensively good things can happen. He has a fast shot. Gets his wrist shot off quickly with force. Plays on the power play. Has a decent one-timer that can improve. Impressive for a late ’97.
21) Tyson Jost – 6-0, 194 – C – All around player. Heading to North Dakota next season. Goal scorer mentality. Playmaker as well. Captain for the Vees. Great vision. Excellent skater. 103 points in 48 games so far this year.
22) Jake Bean – 6-1, 170 – D – He is a guaranteed first round pick in the upcoming 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Decent skater. PP QB. Jumps into the play to score goals like a forward. Fast with the puck.
23) Dillon Dube – 5-10 – 181 – C – Presents the stick well. Works at top speed. Passes with ease. Can turn the corner on defenders to get to the net. Great on the PK.
24) Riley Tufte – 6-4 – 205 – LW – Skates well. Very strong down low. Can really work the puck out of the corners and can thread short passes to the crease area for scoring chances. Hard to contain by the lower hash marks. Fast accurate shot from the slot.
25) Pascal Laberge – 6-1 – 173 – C – Great shot. Good speed. Playmaker. Likes to shoot. Really fast shot from the slot.
26) Rasmus Asplund – C/LW – 5-11, 176 – Starred in the WJC. Skates great. Moves well without the puck. Knows where to go. Works well on the walls. Can make the tough passes that become scoring chances and goals. Skates very wellCan score from far out.
27) Brett Howden – 6-3, 190 – LW/C – His older brother Quinton, was selected by Florida in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Big kid. Good offensive ability. Has a frame you can build on. Goal scorer. 2-way. Skates well. Physical. Hockey i.q. is high.
28) Samuel Girard – 5-9, 165 – D- Good puckmover. Proficient on the power play. Shoots the puck well. Hard hitter. Good on the PK.
29) Simon Stransky – 6-0 – 170 – LW – Is from a Czech hockey family and this left winger is hoping to become the first to become an NHLer. Good passer. Accurate shot.
30) Taylor Raddysh – 6-2 – 198 – RW – Erie Otters – Decent speed. Not that physical yet. Highly skilled. Can make difficult passes look easy. Plays mainly on Alex DeBrincat’s line and some with Dylan Strome.
Look for new rankings soon after the U18s end.
Kieffer Bellows after the All American Prospects Game. Photo by Sportsology