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preliminary top ten 2007 prospects

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11-01-2006, 10:55 PM
  #1
turnbuckle*
 
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preliminary top ten 2007 prospects

Preliminary discussions with NHL scouts indicate that this year's first-round draft crop looks like the weakest in years.

"I'm not really excited about this draft right now after seeing Ontario (the past few weeks)...the OHL is brutal prospect-wise this season," noted one scout, who is off to

Halifax to concentrate on the Quebec league for a couple of weeks, including Jakub Voracek of the Halifax Mooseheads, rated first overall in Mckeen's preliminary rankings for the 2007 draft.

The scout is not alone in being a little less enthusiastic about this year's group of forwards than recent draft classes that yielded the likes of the Staals, Johnsons,
Malkin, Ovechkin and Crosby.

"There just aren't a lot of guys jumping out at you, a lot of top end forwards like last year and the years before that," admitted another scout. "But it's early on...there's lots of hockey to be played yet."

This time of year most NHL scouts aren't working with hard player rankings.

"The first half of the year we identify the players," explained one scout. "Then we cross over with other scouts' lists of top players and start working on compiling rankings. But this time of year the meetings can be pretty comical at times. Players are all over the map, and there's some interesting debates."

Early reports indicate a less than exciting group of European talent outside of Swede Mikael Backlund. Don't expect more than three or four European-based players selected it the first round unless there are some late bloomers or prospects not yet seen to any large extent

"Most of the top ones are playing over here," said one scout. "The ones from the Czech Republic at least. I haven't heard a who lot about Europe, and usually that means there aren't a lot of good ones, if there's no buzz in the scouting community."

This year's strength lies in a stellar group of North American defencemen. "There's some top-end guys on defence for sure," noted a scout yesterday. "As well as lot of projects."


Here's a preliminary top ten from what I'm sensing at this point -

Jakub Voracek
Angelo Esposito
Logan Couture
Keaton Ellerby
Karl Alzner
Pat Kane
Sam Gagner
Mikael Backlund
Kyle Turris
James Van Riemsdyk

Borderline top ten

Nick Petrecki
Zach Hamill
Colton Gillies

Wildcards

Mark Katic
Ryan Hayes

Others "slated" for the first round:

James O'Brien
Jon Blum
Bill Sweatt
Michal Repik
Brandon Sutter
Brendan Smith
Mike Hoeffel
Thomas Hickey
PJ Subban
Sergei Korostin
Jens Hellgren

Fastest skaters: Kane, Brendan Smith, Katic, Tanguay.


I will be updating my list pretty soon and presenting a Top 30 list sometime this month. Always fun to look back after the draft and see how off you were this early LOL.

Well guys I'm getting back into the hockey publishing business. I thought I'd "honour" you folks with my first hockey writeup in awhile.

I decided a few months back that I wanted to start publishing a draft preview to compete with the Hockey News, Redline, etc. I have been in serious negotiations with
Iain Morrell, the publisher of McKeen's Hockey Pool Yearbook over the past couple of weeks, and we've decided to join forces on a monthly prospect magazine in addition to an annual draft preview. We will be publishing our first magazine in January.

I am going to immerse myself in the draft, something some of you already know that I follow with a passion. I have plenty of good contacts in the scouting world, including a couple of fellows I consider friends, and they have always been more than forthright in offering their insight on eligible draft prospects. I'm also going to watch as many prospects as possible, and being fortunate enough to live near Ottawa allows me to watch prospects from two junior leagues within 15 miles of each other.

Anyway, I'll be posting prospect info here a little more often as I'm going to be living and breathing hockey once again. I'm also going to help out at McKeen's with some editing and stuff for their website, and I'll be contributing some articles to McKeen's, and draft scoops as well.

I'm really looking forward to the challenge, and I'll make a point of filling you guys in on the prospects whenever I can, including ones already chosen by the Habs.

Anyone looking for more info on the monthly magazine and draft preview can pm me or contact me at mckeensprospects@hotmail.com


Last edited by turnbuckle*: 11-01-2006 at 11:00 PM.
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Old
11-01-2006, 11:27 PM
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Habsfan18
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Weakest draft class in years? That's not what I've heard.

I thought this draft class was deeper then last year's? And while not having an "Ovechkin, Crosby, Malkin or Johnson" type player, the 1st round is supposed to be filled with guys who would normally go 5-15 in other drafts. IMO that's not a "weak draft class", it just lacks a top end guy like in previous years.

Voracek, Ellerby, Couture, Petrecki, Gagner, Kane, Backlund, Gillies, Alzner, Esposito, Katic, Repik, Sutter, Bashkirov, Hamill and Moller, among others, all seem to be good prospects.

I know the 2003 draft may be the deepest of all time, and the 2001 draft was fairly deep. The 2002 draft, while considered weak at the time, ended up being pretty deep (the 1st round anyways). Imo, the 07 draft seems deeper then the 04 and 05 drafts. But I'm not a scout

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11-02-2006, 12:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Habsfan18 View Post
Weakest draft class in years? That's not what I've heard.

I thought this draft class was deeper then last year's? And while not having an "Ovechkin, Crosby, Malkin or Johnson" type player, the 1st round is supposed to be filled with guys who would normally go 5-15 in other drafts. IMO that's not a "weak draft class", it just lacks a top end guy like in previous years.

Voracek, Ellerby, Couture, Petrecki, Gagner, Kane, Backlund, Gillies, Alzner, Esposito, Katic, Repik, Sutter, Bashkirov, Hamill and Moller, among others, all seem to be good prospects.

I know the 2003 draft may be the deepest of all time, and the 2001 draft was fairly deep. The 2002 draft, while considered weak at the time, ended up being pretty deep (the 1st round anyways). Imo, the 07 draft seems deeper then the 04 and 05 drafts. But I'm not a scout


I agree that there's decent depth, I don't dispute that, but just not the top-end talent there has been the past few years (with the exception of 2004 after the top two), and at the end of the day it's the top-end talent that separates a good draft from a disappointing one. 2007 is looking like one of the weakest first round since 1999, there just aren't many star prospects. There is certainly more first-round depth than in 2004, but there are no Malkins or Ovechkins, perhaps not even a Wolski.

As one scout said to me last night, we always tend to overrate a draft class early on, and this year is no exception. Colton Gillies is listed as a top ten prospect in pretty much every list (I have him just outside the top ten), but he has one goal in 13 games. The same scout said to me "If he can't score in junior what's he going to do at the next level? and he's a top ten pick?"

He also told me that he's not so sure Gagner is any better than Giroux, who wasn't even a top 20 pick last season.

"I haven't really saw his skating at a high level," said the scout. "He and Kane pace themselves...there's no high-end intensity, but they are so smart they can adapt. They glide around like they're 6-3, but they freeze (their opponents) with their skills. They won't be able to do that in the NHL, they'll get smoked going at that speed. They're great juniors, but I just don't know if they project to be first liners at the top level."

Voracek looks like he could be a pretty good offensive player, but he's a player along the skill lines of a Derrick Brassard, who was the seventh overall pick last season.

Esposito has question marks with many, particularly concerning his perimeter play. Couture has skating concerns with many scouts, ones that would have kept him out of last season's top eight, perhaps even top 12 or so. Ellerby is a great defensive defenceman but not one that is projected to produce offensively.

Overall, this draft class doesn't compare to the last two as far as first rounds go - that's what I'm hearing at least.

As I said though - I agree that there is decent depth - those with a top 20 pick are likely going to get a future NHLer, just not a star one.

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11-02-2006, 07:29 AM
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Look at Olivier Fortier. Despite his size, I'm sure his stock will raise because he's so good in the three zones and he's a really hard worker.

Also in Rimouski we have Max Tanguay, Max Gratchev, David Skokan, Phillipe Garnier, Marc-André Laroche...

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11-02-2006, 08:02 AM
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is Sam Gagne Simon Gagne's brother?

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11-02-2006, 08:20 AM
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Whitesnake
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Is Max Tanguay too great of a reach with our 1st pick???

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11-02-2006, 08:41 AM
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Duff88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oop007 View Post
is Sam Gagne Simon Gagne's brother?
Gagner is not related to Gagné.

IMO, Tanguay is a reach in the first round; I think he'll have a really hard time adjusting to the professional game.

I agree with the concenssus; the top guys are not really impressive, but it seems like you can get a pretty good through the first round, which is a good thing.

It's always tough to predict at this date though so nothing is "for sure". Anything can happen...

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11-02-2006, 09:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duff88 View Post
Gagner is not related to Gagné.

IMO, Tanguay is a reach in the first round; I think he'll have a really hard time adjusting to the professional game.

I agree with the concenssus; the top guys are not really impressive, but it seems like you can get a pretty good through the first round, which is a good thing.

It's always tough to predict at this date though so nothing is "for sure". Anything can happen...
What do you mean by Tanguay's troubles to adjust? Sorry I still didn't see him play so far.

As far as the next draft, we hear that it's pretty deep for solid but not spectacular defenceman, so exactly what the doctor order to continue building from behind, so that will be a great draft for us!

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11-02-2006, 09:48 AM
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we shouldn't forget the russians twins for the remparts.
imo Ruslan is going to be a 1st round(late) and roman probably a 3rd round pick more because he doesn't have nhl size(yet)

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11-02-2006, 09:55 AM
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Blind Gardien
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I've been a bit out of touch with the rest of the junior leagues, but more in touch with the OHL than ever since I moved to Toronto a few years back... but... in general I'm agreeing with turnbuckle's assessment that this year is kind of a downer in terms of top-end talent. It's definitely down in the OHL, anyway.

And I find it's also getting a lot harder to really evaluate the players than it used to. At least, for the semi-casual observer like me. Nowadays, the game in the OHL is all built around special teams. The big point producers, and that especially includes names mentioned above like Kane and Gagner, spend so much of their time and get so much of their production just from standing still on the powerplay, you really lose a sense of how their true talent stacks up... at least, if you are only seeing them a handful of times each, which is the best that I can manage for most of them.

I think there is some pretty decent late-round depth to this draft, and also again there are going to be some guys overlooked from past drafts, not just '88s but a few even older guys in the OHL, who are just as much worth taking a look at as some of the young questionmarks in the mid-late rounds. The reduction of the draft to 7 rounds and the ongoing recognition of how the game is changing contributes to that effect, IMO. I think it becomes increasingly important to keep half an eye peeled beyond this year's first-time-eligible crop, there are guys lately getting drafted at 20 (e.g. Campoli) or signed after the draft (e.g. Giordano) who are on the upswing and who can turn into NHLers as quickly or more quickly than the 18-year olds.

The gears are shifting with regards to how the NHL looks at some talented junior players who maybe seem to lack this or that dimension that used to be critical, but even with the shifting gears, there are guys falling through the cracks. Getting good players with the picks you have is crucial, but if you can augment that by keeping an eye open beyond the obvious first-time draft eligibles, well that can help too. It used to be a fad to scour Europe for overage players who you might be able to draft for more immediate impact. That well seems to be running somewhat dry, but there are now quite a few "late-bloomers" or overlooked guys in the CHL who, while not necessarily as "immediate" as the former European fad, are still worth looking at more closely.

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11-02-2006, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duff88 View Post
Gagner is not related to Gagné.

IMO, Tanguay is a reach in the first round; I think he'll have a really hard time adjusting to the professional game.

I agree with the concenssus; the top guys are not really impressive, but it seems like you can get a pretty good through the first round, which is a good thing.

It's always tough to predict at this date though so nothing is "for sure". Anything can happen...
I never said Tanguay was a first rounder - I listed him as one of the fastest skaters. Right now he's rated as a second rounder.

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11-02-2006, 10:14 AM
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Whitesnake
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I never said Tanguay was a first rounder - I listed him as one of the fastest skaters. Right now he's rated as a second rounder.
He knows you never said that. He was just responding to my question asking if Tanguay was a reach for the 1st round.

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11-02-2006, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by oop007 View Post
is Sam Gagne Simon Gagne's brother?
Sam Gagner is former NHLer Dave Gagner's son.

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11-02-2006, 12:12 PM
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He knows you never said that. He was just responding to my question asking if Tanguay was a reach for the 1st round.

I believe Tanguay can very well be a first rounder before it's all said and done. I love his intensity and all around game. Solid forechecker and smart player but needs to improve his skating.

However, since there's a lot of solid d-men available in this draft, I wouldn't be surprised at all if Timmins decides to go that route again next summer. After all, the Habs are still a little thin on blue line prospects.

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11-02-2006, 12:31 PM
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I wouldn't mind seeing us land a defensemen again. Perhaps trade up if possible depending on where he end up and such. Karl Alzner, or Petrecki would be great to land one of them. Alex Grant, Steven Lund I like as well. I really like Bill Sweatt, fast hard working player. Van Riemsdyk I saw once, looked interesting, have heard a lot about him as well. Michal Repik would be a nice pickup as well.

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11-02-2006, 01:19 PM
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Whitesnake
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Quote:
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IHowever, since there's a lot of solid d-men available in this draft, I wouldn't be surprised at all if Timmins decides to go that route again next summer. After all, the Habs are still a little thin on blue line prospects.
I agree. I'm eager to read the first complete ranking for 2007 and eager to find some tidbits about players that could be of interest, but so far seems that there's tons of good d-men available, so it would be the obvious route to take....until I'll focus on my big center of the year (wanted Getzlaf in 2003, Kopitar in 2005, Berglund in 2006), I will change my minds a thousand times before we pick that's for sure.....

Or we may go for an American College kid, we seems to like those guys.....and have all the reasons too so far!!!

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11-02-2006, 02:59 PM
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No Russian. The transfers are too difficult.

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11-02-2006, 03:06 PM
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No Gratchev in the faster skaters ?

To me, he's faster than Tanguay...

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