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Central Scouting Thoughts

In my haste to post all of the rankings, I didn't offer much in the way of commentary on yesterday's Central Scouting Mid-Term rankings.

First off, it's always important to state that this list is just opinion, and scouting is far from an exact science. Two people can watch the same player in the same game and draw pretty different conclusions. Now consider that there are hundreds of players in thousands of games, and a finite amount of time and resources, and it's easy to see where there would be a wide range of opinions. I'm sure if you compared this list, with any NHL team's list, you'd see some huge differences. So placement on this list definitely isn't a make-or-break type of thing.

Unfortunately, the first thing that stands out to me is just how weak this year is for American players, and future college players at the front of the draft. It won't be like last year where the US had 10 first round players.

And after a couple banner years, it will probably end up being a weak year for Minnesota high school players in the draft as well. Jake Gardiner got placed all the way up at 19 because he has so much upside, but I have to wonder how many teams are going to be willing to gamble with their first round pick on a kid like that. I know some that wouldn't, but at the same time, it only takes one team willing to take that chance. Same goes for Aaron Ness. He's tremendously talented, but I still think there's a tremendous amount of risk for any team picking him. I think he could get drafted just about anywhere and I wouldn't be surprised.

Another interesting thing I noticed is that of the 25 Minnesota kids listed who could be playing high school hockey this year, 17 are actually playing high school hockey, and 8 are playing elsewhere. If you ignore the last 40 players listed, that number changes to 8 playing high school, and 7 playing elsewhere. All three Minnesotan goalies on the list are playing in the USHL instead of high school hockey as well.

As for some individual players, I think David Toews is way too low at 71. Toews moved way up draft boards with an impressive performance against his peers in Canada last year, and since then, the hype has cooled a little bit, but he's still scoring 2 points per game for Shattuck. I think he'll end up way higher than he was listed.

I'd probably put the guys right in front of Toews, Wisconsinites Nate Condon and Seth Soley a little higher too, but not too much higher. After that, there are a lot of guys in the middle of the list, who probably belong in the middle of the list, so I can't quibble too much.

One omission that was pointed out to me that I think is pretty disappointing is Alaska forward Dion Knelsen. Knelsen had a pretty good year last year, considering he should have been a high school senior last year, and dealt with a number of injury problems. This year, he has 17 points in 18 games on an Alaska team that is very offensively challenged. Those are pretty impressive numbers. Central Scouting may have over-looked him for now, but I have a feeling that some team will select him in June.