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NHL Central Scouting Preliminary Rankings Reaction

Michigan's Zach Werenski
Michigan's Zach Werenski
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NHL Central Scouting released their preliminary draft rankings this morning. For sake of comparison, here's the list I've been keeping of the draft prospects that I've seen so far. Overall, there's not a ton of disagreement between the two--although there's likely a ton of disagreement in how we see the vast sea of 'C' prospects. Here's some notes and things that stood out to me in comparing what I've seen versus how Central Scouting sees things:

-Obviously I haven't seen many, or even most, of the potential draft prospects. If you're wondering how my list would correspond if I did the Central Scouting lettering system, the first seven on my list would be 'A' prospects, 8-12 would be 'B' prospects, and the rest would be 'C' prospects. There's likely another line of demarcation between the first 20 and the last 10 on my list, with those last 10 probably on the outside looking in in terms of being drafted.

-Clearly I'm on one side of the fence and Central Scouting is on the other in the debate about Boston College commit Jeremy Bracco. That's probably not a huge surprise given that Central Scouting tends to be a little harsh on guys that don't have prototypical pro size. And who knows, maybe Central Scouting has Bracco at #33 on their list. But I think he'll play his way into the first round over the course of the season. There's just too much offensive talent to ignore.

-Maybe it's just the way Central Scouting divides things now('A' prospects are first round only, as opposed to the old way of being a 1st-3rd round talent; a change which probably makes more sense), but there are some really good players that got 'B' ratings. I know it's early and a lot of guys will start to fall once their games get picked apart by scouts, but I'm finally starting to buy some of the hype of this being an extremely deep draft.

-Among the 'B' prospects was Topeka(NAHL) goalie Matej Tomek, who I was super-impressed with at the NAHL Showcase last weekend. I'm working on a full write-up of him which should be posted either Wednesday or Thursday of this week.

-I guess the biggest disagreement between our two lists is that Central Scouting didn't include Lincoln's Cam Lee, who I like quite a bit. Size is a big concern for the pro level, but I like the way he skates, and thinks he plays with a lot of poise.

-Elk River's Jake Jaremko made Central Scouting's list in his second year of eligibility after tearing up the first two weeks of the Elite League. I went with Lakeville South's Nick Swaney, who I think has been one of the best in the Elite League so far. Despite being a very small player, he's strong for his size and a very smart offensive player which I think negates a few of the concerns about his size.

-Goalie Frederic Foulem was the only player off of Shattuck's team to make the list. I was a little surprised none of their draft eligible defensemen made the list. Jordan Klehr is a nice offensive defensemen, Tyler Jutting is raw but worth the gamble for his upside, and Colin Saccoman is just outside the top 30 I posted. That team really struggled last weekend, but by the end of the year, I could see at least one or two of those guys really rising.

-You'll be able to watch many of these players on Thursday night, thanks to the NHL Network broadcasting the All-American Prospects Game. This is a very special year for Americans in the draft, and this game will feature most of the best out there.