LOWDOWN: Nugent-Hopkins is almost a consensus pick to go first overall at the draft. The pivot's vision on ice is second to none in this year's draft crop and he always seems to know where he needs to put the puck. That on-ice awareness compliments what can only be called an elite skill set. In addition to an abundance of talent, Nugent-Hopkins is an extremely hard working player whose compete level is through the roof.
WHAT SCOUTS SAY: "A couple of people high up -- and not naming names -- said Hopkins has the best vision since No. 99 (Wayne Gretzky). That's the highest compliment you can get. But the other thing is the way he competes. He never takes a night off and he works as hard in his own end as he does in the offensive zone and that takes a special player with a special set of skills to do that." - NHL Central Scouting's Peter Sullivan to NHL.com
Gabriel Landeskog, LW, Kitchener (OHL)
Born: November 23, 1992
Born In: Stockholm, SWE
GP: 53 G: 36 A: 30 P: 66 PIM: 61
LOWDOWN: Often compared to Kitchener Rangers alumni Mike Richards, Landeskog not only brings skill talent to the table but immense character as well. Known for his great leadership skills inside the locker room, he also provides guidance on the ice by never taking a shift off. Landeskog's size and physical game makes him unique among pure goal scorers and he's not afraid to use his frame to punish the opposition along the boards.
WHAT SCOUTS SAY: "He is a good-size guy who is solid on his skates, not afraid to take the puck to the net or battle for it along the boards. His skating is very good in all areas. He plays the game with so much passion, he plays the game hard, he's a great mentor for players that are younger and older, maturity beyond his years. (He) doesn't need one game in the American league next year -- he should step right into the NHL. I think the team that gets him next year is going to get a player that helps them win a Stanley Cup." - NHL Central Scouting's Chris Edwards to NHL.com
Jonathan Huberdeau, C, Saint John (QMJHL)
Born: June 4, 1993
Born In: St-Jerome, QC
GP: 67 G: 43 A: 62 P: 105 PIM: 88
LOWDOWN: Huberdeau has grown by leaps and bounds this season and his commitment to development helped lead the Saint John Sea Dogs to a Memorial Cup. He's creative and the kind of player coaches would feel comfortable placing in any situation. Given his well-rounded skill set and on-ice vision, Huberdeau is the complete package.
WHAT SCOUTS SAY: "He's the type of player who can change the outcome of a game suddenly and quickly. He's displayed unbelievably quick hands and an ability to set up and score goals. He definitely has NHL hands and playmaking ability . . . he's also gritty and does not back down when challenged" - NHL Central Scouting's Chris Bordeleau to NHL.com
Dougie Hamilton, D, Niagara (OHL)
Born: June 17, 1993
Born In: Toronto, ON
GP: 67 G: 12 A: 46 P: 58 PIM: 77
LOWDOWN: The top-ranked North American defenceman not only excels on the ice but in the classroom as well. He was named the 2011 OHL Scholastic Player of the Year thanks to a 94% average through six grade 12 classes. His intelligence level can be seen as soon as he steps onto the ice as his vision is outstanding. He has tremendous speed and is able to jump into the rush with ease. His coach Marty Williamson has said he's mature beyond his years.
WHAT SCOUTS SAY: "He moves the puck well and makes good outlet passes, he does make good decisions with the puck, moves it very well out of his zone. He's a big guy, he'll take the body. … He uses his size well. He can muscle people off the puck." - NHL Central Scouting's Chris Edwards to NHL.com
Nathan Beaulieu, D, Saint John (QMJHL)
Born: December 5, 1992
Born In: Strathroy, ON
GP: 65 G: 12 A: 33 P: 45 PIM: 52
LOWDOWN: Naturally drawn to the offensive side of the game, Beaulieu has rounded out his play over the past season and is now very responsible in his own zone. That being said, if there's a chance to hop into a rush, he won't hesitate. His skating is quite strong and he moves the puck well. His outlet pass out of his own end is crisp and his hockey sense is great. He'll need time to fully develop but has the potential to be top NHL defender.
WHAT SCOUTS SAY: "He'll be an offensive-defenseman … he's a good skater, good puck-mover. He has a good shot and is very poised with the puck. He's a veteran who has a lot of responsibilities for Saint John." - NHL Central Scouting's Chris Bordeleau