There's a lot of information to digest in today's Central Scouting Mid-term Rankings. I had considered putting together my own sort of mid-term rankings on some of the players I'm familiar with, but it's always easier to just critique someone else's work. So I'll take a closer look at the CSB rankings and give my opinion on whether the CSB has some players ranked too high, too low, or just about in the right spot.
This is going to be fairly long, so I'll put it after the jump.
(All rankings are for North American skaters)
5. Riley Sheahan-Notre Dame-Maybe the biggest surprise of the group to most people--if only because people really only look at the top 5-10 players listed. I'm fine with this ranking though. Notre Dame has sucked this year, but you always hear great thing about how Sheahan plays in all areas of the ice. He may slide a couple spots by the end of the year, but I could see him going in the top 10.
11. Derek Forbort-NTDP(North Dakota)-I think this is about the right place for him. I never understood the people who put him lower in their rankings. He's going to be a special player.
12. Nick Bjugstad-Blaine HS(Minnesota)- 12th seems a little high to me, but not too much. I think Bjugstad will probably end up more towards the end of the first round than the middle of the first round, but a first round pick regardless.
17. Brock Nelson-Warroad(North Dakota)-I think Nelson is way too high here. He's a very talented kid, but I think he's too much of a project to spend a first round pick on in a year that is so deep with so many good players. I see Nelson has more of a late-second or third round pick.
20. Jon Merrill-NTDP(Michigan)-With Merrill taking some steps forward offensively this year, I thought he'd be a little higher. I see him as more of a mid-first round pick.
21. Tyler Pitlick-Minnesota State-In my annual draft along with the pros, I was determined not to let Pitlick slip past the middle of the second round, and imagine that drawing screams of bias, but, uh, I guess not. Pitlick is a pretty safe pick, though I don't know that he has as much potential to be a big scorer as some other prospects. End of the first round might be a tad generous, but not much.
36. Max Gardiner-Minnetonka(Minnesota)-I've always had Gardiner lower than most people, though he was starting to win me over with his play during the high school season, before he broke his wrist right after Christmas. I still have him lower than 36th, and the injury will probably push him a little lower.
37. Mark Alt-Cretin-Derham Hall(Minnesota)-Talent-wise, maybe he belongs here, but I can't see a team picking him unless he ends up 100% committing to hockey. There's too many other good players out there to take on the extra risk.
39. Joe Basaraba-Shattuck(Minnesota-Duluth)-This looks about right. I don't think Basaraba will ever develop into a big scorer, but he's a fairly safe pick because of his physical play.
40. Justin Faulk-NTDP(Minnesota-Duluth)-Faulk is bound to be an interesting player to watch in this draft. Will teams believe that he can keep scoring at the pace he has been with the NTDP? For now, I'll say he's ranked in the right spot.
50. Jacob Fallon-(Michigan)-This is too high for Fallon, even before you consider the discipline issues that got him kicked out of the NTDP program. I wouldn't be surprised to see Fallon get passed over altogether in the draft.
54. Justin Holl-Minnetonka(Minnesota)-Justin Holl kind of reminds me of David Fischer in his draft year. Tons of potential that hasn't quite been put together yet--and still hasn't in Fischer's case. The difference was that Fischer was the top player in Minnesota in a weak year in his draft year, and there are a couple players better than Holl this year. If Holl was in Fischer's position, he might be talked about as a potential first round pick. I haven't been blown away by Holl this year, but his potential would make me think about picking him in the late-third round where he's ranked right now.
55. Jason Zucker-NTDP(Denver)-Everyone is going to say he's too low after seeing him play in the World Juniors, and I agree, to some extent. Zucker is a fantastic all-around player, but I don't know that he has the high-end offensive potential to be ranked much higher than maybe the second round.
73. Jason Clark-Shattuck(Uncommitted)-I thought he was way over-rated for much of the fall, and this drop down to 73 seems to confirm my opinion. I'd probably put him even lower than this.
97. Casey Thrush-Team Maryland(New Hampshire)-Kind of a surprise seeing a AAA player from Maryland this high, and I think maybe a little too high, but I can see Thrush as a potential draft pick. A big speedy winger with nice potential. I wonder how much of this is because the NHL missed out on Nick Sorkin last year playing in Maryland, and how much is because Thrush is getting more attention playing in the new North American Prospects Hockey League.
100. Caleb Herbert-Bloomington Jefferson(Minnesota-Duluth)-Maybe a little bit high, given the risk involved with a smaller player that hasn't seen much top-notch competition, but Herbert should be worth taking a late round pick on.
119. Patrick Brown-Cranbrook(BC)-Brown is definitely the top Michigan HS player this year. He's got great hockey smarts and a big league shot, but I wouldn't pick him this high. His skating is a big concern for me.
123. Jared Knight-London(OHL)-A lot of people think this is too low, and I'll agree. He was bad at the beginning of the year, but was recently diagnosed with diabetes, and once he got that under control, he's been playing really well. He should push for a spot in the first two rounds.
136. Brett Stern-Centennial(Minnesota State)-One of the more underrated Minnesota HS players this year, but a nice prospect. He's about where he belongs. Centennial's weird schedule means I haven't seen them yet this year, but I will twice this week, so I should have more on Stern later this week.
144. Max Gaede-Woodbury(Minnesota State)-Woodbury has been a little disappointing this year, but Gaede probably played his way into being draft pick in the Elite League this year.
155. Andrew Prochno-Minnetonka(St. Cloud)-Prochno has played so well this high school season, and I'd like to move him up, but it doesn't change the fact that at his size, it's a very uphill climb for the pros.
185. Garrett Hendrickson-Virginia(St. Cloud)-A very nice player, but some holes in skating will probably keep him from getting drafted.
187. John Ramage-Wisconsin-Everyone is crying for him to get drafted after his performance at the World Juniors. I agree, though probably not until the 5th round or so.
199. Adam Krause-Hermantown(Minnesota-Duluth)-I was surprised at how low he was ranked here. I had him ranked much higher.