In addition to profiling many of the top prospects on the radar of NHL scouts leading up to the 2013 NHL Draft in Newark, N.J., it's always interesting to learn of those performers shooting up the ranks in recent weeks.
NHL Central Scouting occasionally provides team scouts and general managers a list of potential draft prospects outside the top 30 on the midterm rankings release for North American skaters that have shown great improvement. So without further delay, here are three players gaining steam according to those tireless travelers at Central Scouting.
Samuel Morin, Rimouski Oceanic, QMJHL -- The 6-foot-6, 203-pound defenseman, who participated in the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game earlier this month, is in his second season with the Oceanic. He's already established career highs with four goals, 12 assists, 16 points and a plus-10 rating in 45 games. Unfortunately, Morin will be sidelined 6-8 weeks with an upper-body injury.
"Samuel has shown overall improvement … his skating is fluid and his ability to stay on top of the play has helped enhance his game," NHL Central Scouting Director Dan Marr told NHL.com. "He's gained more confidence with playing time. But we're noticing how much more comfortable he is handling and moving the puck under pressure; that's something we didn't see in him before."
The injury suffered by Morin should not hinder his draft status in June since, according to Marr, NHL scouts have seen enough to formulate a very positive opinion. Morin was No. 76 on Central Scouting's midterm list of North American skaters eligible for the 2013 Draft.
John Hayden, U.S. National Team Development Program, USHL -- The 6-foot-2.5, 210-pound center, who is committed to Yale University next fall, has seven goals and 20 points in 25 games for the U.S. NTDP. He has proven his knack for coming through in the clutch with four game-winning goals, which has him tied for the team lead.
Hayden is No. 59 on Central Scouting's midterm release.
"John offers a power-forward game with good size and strength," Marr said. "He has good positioning and drives to the net displaying a nice scoring touch."
Michael McCarron, U.S. National Team Development Program, USHL -- The Cornell University recruit, who has racked up a team-high 115 penalty minutes, has come on strong the last month. At 6-foot-5, 228 pounds, the big power forward has struck for six goals and 13 assists in 34 games. He's also connected for three power-play goals.
"Michael has a strong game down low; he can cycle the puck to the net and offers a wicked shot," Marr said. "He's playing with confidence. He's recently shown to be able to go out there and actually dictate the play. He's got soft hands for a big man and complements that with good puck handling and skills."
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mikemorrealeNHL
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