Before we begin, the hockey community lost a quality person in former director of NHL Central Scouting EJ McGuire last week to cancer. McGuire had a tremendous passion for the game, and played a big role in making the draft more accessible to fans. He was also someone who treated NCAA-bound players fairly.
Coincidentally, the first NHL Central Scouting rankings after McGuire's death were released today, and it's probably one of the worst rankings for NCAA-bound, and current NCAA players in recent years.
Northeastern's Jamie Oleksiak is the top college player at 13th among North American skaters. Tyler Biggs is the top western NCAA player at 22nd.
A few comments:
-Tyler Biggs had a huge drop from the mid-term rankings, but I think this ranking is a little more realistic, and closer to where I'd start looking for him. Rocco Grimaldi at 32nd is just craziness.
-Other than Oleksiak, there was a surprising lack of respect shown to kids that played in the NCAA last year. BU's Adam Clendening and Matt Nieto were both in the 40's. Nick Shore was only 56th. Patrick Koudys was at 73rd. Most surprising was Michael Mersch at only 86th. Dillon Simpson and Frankie Simonelli were both extremely low as well.
-With this being such a weak year, there's going to be room at the end of the draft for some wildcard selections. Burnsville's Eddie Wittchow is an early candidate for that, checking in for the first time at 111th. Johnny Brodzinski, Michael Zajac, and Miles Death were some other Minnesota high school players that didn't get much attention but could be potential picks. I'd expect quite a few selections of players that didn't make a CSB list at all this year, because there isn't as much developed talent, and everyone is going to have a different opinion on what they see in certain players that they think will translate at the next level.