Installment number three of Ryan Yessie's Top 50 for the NHL Draft. This profiles players ranked 1 through 10.
1 - Taylor Hall - Left Wing - Windsor Spitfires
Nov-14-1991 - 6’1” - 185 lbs.
Scouting Report: Hall brings great speed, puck handling and individual skill to the table. He can beat multiple defenders at one time and is easily the most talented puck handler since Steven Stamkos in the OHL. Hall is also not selfish with the puck most of the time, and has been decent at distributing the puck well to his teammates to create offense. Hall’s issues have stemmed from trying to make the fancy play as well as his on ice attitude. He has at times let his temper put him in the penalty box. His maturity in terms of talent is great, his maturity in terms of his attitude is the only real issue for Hall entering the draft.
2 - Tyler Seguin - Center - Plymouth Whalers
Jan-31-1992 - 6’1” - 172 lbs.
Scouting Report: Seguin had less to work with than Hall. Seguin is a guy who can create offense and make things happen while making the guys on both wing better players when they’re out there with him. He has a wicked release on his wrist shot, along with the accuracy of it, but makes plays that are best for the team as supposed to trying to dismantle a team on his own. Seguin will need to add more muscle and about 10 lbs. before he is ready to play a regular NHL shift without risking injuries due to size.
3 - Cam Fowler - Defenceman - Windsor Spitfires
Dec-5-1991 - 6’1.25” - 190 lbs.
Scouting Report: Fowler is an excellent skater and will grow to an idealistic size for an NHL defenceman. He’s got the potential to be a franchise’s #1 defenceman with his puck moving abilities. Fowler is also very capable at rushing the puck up the ice. Fowler’s biggest knock is his willingness to play physical however I feel a guy at his size will be able to change this with some encouragement by an NHL coaching staff.
4 - Erik Gudbranson - Defenceman - Kingston Frontenacs
Jan-7-1992 - 6’3.75” - 195 lbs.
Scouting Report: Gudbranson has outstanding size and is more than willing to throw his size around. Easily the most physical defenceman to enter the NHL draft since Luke Schenn out of Kelowna (WHL). Gudbranson is also a willing fighter at appropriate times and is a leader. Gudbranson has some untapped offensive potential, but his role will be a defensive/physical defenceman. Gudbranson’s injury/illness issues may be a red flag when deciding between Fowler, Gudbranson and Gormley.
5 - Jeff Skinner - Center - Kitchener Rangers
May-16-1992 - 5’10” - 187 lbs.
Scouting Report: Skinner has a great shot, with an excellent release, and combines that with a solid two-way effort and has been very effective in all three zones due to his endless effort. Skinner is a guy you never see take a shift off and skates hard start to finish. His effort is great in the corner, and understands the game situation well, often being the first man back when the team needs defensive coverage from their forwards. Skinner will have to overcome his size, and will need to gain another notch in his skating to reach his potential which is as a two-way top 6 forward.
6 - Austin Watson - Right Wing - Peterborough Petes
Jan-13-1992 - 6’3.25” - 185 lbs.
Scouting Report: Watson is a guy who has really risen in my rankings. Watson is as safe as they come due to his excellent play along the boards, in corners, and his ability to kill of penalties with skill and maturity at his age. He was once perceived offensively as a beneficiary of Windsor’s dynamic offense, proved once he went to Peterborough that he has an excellent, and very accurate shot once he was places in a more offensive role. Watson is not a guy who will create a lot of offensive, however if matched with a playmaker he could utilize his shot as well as his ability to cycle, and play solid defence and become a dangerous two-way forward in a top 6 role.
7 - Tyler Toffoli - Right Wing - Ottawa 67’s
Apr-24-1992 - 6’0” - 178 lbs.
Scouting Report: Toffoli has great hands and an excellent accurate shot which makes him a very dangerous player in the offensive zone. He can finish among the best available this year out of the OHL. His skating; although not bad could use some fine tuning while Toffoli would benefit from gaining another 10-15 lbs. before thinking about playing pro, and needs to become more consistent with his play. Toffoli has the potential to be an effective secondary scoring option in the NHL.
8 - John McFarland - Center - Sudbury Wolves
Apr-2-1992 - 6’0.25” - 192 lbs.
Scouting Report: McFarland has the pure potential to be the 3rd member of the forward movement with the OHL along with Hall and Seguin. He has explosive speed especially for his size, and has an excellent shot, but can also hit his teammate with a solid pass. He’s got great international experience. However McFarland falls due to his work ethic, and a reputation of being “lazy” and not showing up on a game-by-game basis. McFarland could become a very talented NHL player, however his work ethic is rumored to be a red flag with several teams, and may cause him to drop.
9 - Ryan Martindale - Center - Ottawa 67’s
Oct-27-1991 - 6’3” - 183 lbs.
Scouting Report: Martindale protects the puck well and has displayed excellent two way ability. His willingness to distribute the puck and solid board play helps him in comparison to other big centers. However Martindale needs to add about 20 lbs. To be effective playing his game at the highest level, and will likely need another year or two in the OHL before thinking about the NHL.
10 - Steven Shipley - Center - Owen Sound Attack
Apr-22-1992 - 6’2.25” - 205 lbs.
Scouting Report: Shipley is a guy I’ve flipped back and forth between Martindale. He’s one of the best puck protection centers in the OHL, and he can be dangerous when given a chance to shoot the puck. What has Shipley ranked so high for me is his ability to utilize his linemates and make him better by drawing the opposition towards him. His numbers would have been much higher with more talented wingers. Although Shipley has NHL ready size already, he needs to improve his accelerating, as well as touch up on his defensive responsibilities at times, but overall I’m very confident of his NHL potential.
Stay tuned for Part 4 tomorrow, which will profile the top goaltenders available as well as an early list for 2011.