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Central Scouting sheds light on bright 2013 future

by Mike G. Morreale

There's little question the 2003 NHL Draft will go down as the deepest collection of future stars ever selected.

An entire all-star team can be put together from the first round alone -- Marc-Andre Fleury, Eric Staal, Nathan Horton, Nikolay Zherdev, Thomas Vanek, Milan Michalek, Ryan Suter, Braydon Coburn, Dion Phaneuf and Andrei Kostitsyn were the first 10 players picked.

The Philadelphia Flyers grabbed Jeff Carter (No. 11) and Mike Richards (No. 24), and the Anaheim Ducks tabbed Ryan Getzlaf (No. 19) and Corey Perry (No. 28). The New Jersey Devils drafted Zach Parise at No. 17; the Vancouver Canucks took Ryan Kesler at No. 23.


'A List' Players


Ross Olsson, RW, Williston Northampton

Jason Dickinson, C, Guelph
Max Domi, C, London
Spencer Martin, G, Mississauga
Sean Monahan, C, Ottawa
Kerby Rychel, LW, Windsor
Ryan Hartman, RW, Plymouth

William Carrier, C, Cape Breton
Anthony Duclair, LW, Quebec
Adam Erne, LW, Quebec
Zachary Fucale, G, Halifax
Nathan MacKinnon, RW, Halifax
Anthony Mantha, LW, Val-D'Or
Samuel Morin, D, Rimouski

J.T. Compher, LW, USA U-18
Michael Downing, D, Dubuque
Luke Johnson, C, Lincoln
Ian McCoshen, D, Waterloo

Seth Jones, D, Portland
Morgan Klimchuk, LW, Regina
Curtis Lazar, C, Edmonton
Joshua Morrissey, D, Prince Albert
Ryan Pulock, D, Brandon
Hunter Shinkaruk, C, Medicine Hat
Shea Theodore, D, Seattle

Aleksander Barkov, C, Tappara
Rasmus Ristolainen, D, TPS
Ville Husso, G, HIFK Jr.
Juuso Ikonen, LW, Blues Jr.

Valeri Nichushkin, RW, Chelyabinsk 2
Bogdan Yakimov, C, Nizhnekamsk 2

Andre Burakowsky, LW, Malmo Jr.
Jacob DeLaRose, C, Leksand Jr.
Robert Hagg, D, Modo Jr.
Elias Lindholm, C, Brynas Jr.
Lucas Wallmark, RW, Skelleftea Jr.

-- Mike G. Morreale

Don't look now, but the 2013 NHL Draft, to be held at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., is shaping up to be just as stocked with future talent.

Long before the 2012 draft took place at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, the initial phase in sorting the top prospects for 2013 already was in the hands of NHL scouts and general managers with the release of NHL Central Scouting's Futures List of North American and international players.

According to Dan Marr, who is in his second year as director of Central Scouting, the 2013 Futures List used a revised grading system.

"In the past, an 'A List' player was considered among the top 60 and a 'B List' player was a third-, fourth-, or fifth-round consideration," Marr said. "Now an 'A List' player is first-round consideration … a top 30 candidate, while a 'B List' player is a second- or third-round candidate.

"We've put more of an emphasis differentiating the top end. When we ran this by the scouting directors, it was something that was unanimous, so we agreed to revise the rankings scale."

Topping the "A List" from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is forward Nathan MacKinnon of the Halifax Mooseheads, and from the Western Hockey League is defenseman Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks.

"Those are two players who have received significant viewings and evaluations and they're well known in the media and by hockey fans," Marr told "But there are other players that'll come into the mix really quick. There's no runaway leader here. At the top end, there are quite a few players who will be there and 2013 is shaping up to be a good year."

MacKinnon finished the 2011-12 season with 31 goals, 78 points and a plus-11 rating. He finished runner-up to Mikhail Grigorenko of the Quebec Remparts as the QMJHL Rookie of the Year. Grigorenko was chosen 12th by the Buffalo Sabres at the 2012 draft.

Jones, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound defenseman, spent the last two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program. He had six goals and 20 assists in 48 games, and then helped the U.S. win its fourth straight gold medal at the 2012 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.

In addition to Jones, forward Hunter Shinkaruk of the Medicine Hat Tigers also will command attention among top WHL prospects. A 5-10, 166-pound center, Shinkaruk had 49 goals and 91 points in 66 games last season, his second with Medicine Hat.

Curtis Lazar of the Edmonton Oil Kings will challenge Shinkaruk for top honors among forwards in the WHL. The 5-11.25, 188-pound center had 20 goals and 31 points in 63 games last season.

"The one positive that indicates this is going to be another draft year where everyone is going to get a good player in the first round is that all 'A' candidates are players with a year under their belt," Marr said. "During this season, they are all players who have put up significant contributions to their teams and they're only going to get better. There are a number of players we have ranked as a 'B' right now that will be considered 'A' once the season gets under way."

In the OHL, center Sean Monahan is an "A List" performer with a strong two-way game. The 6-2, 190-pound forward had 33 goals and 78 points in his second season with the Ottawa 67's in 2011-12, and added eight goals and 15 points in 18 playoff games. He is joined on the OHL radar by forward Max Domi of the London Knights. The son of Tie Domi plays a much different brand of hockey than his father ever did; where Tie was a fighter, Max is a playmaker. The 5-9, 185-puond center had 21 goals, 49 points and 48 penalty minutes in 62 games.

It appears center Jason Dickinson of the Guelph Storm and left wing Kerby Rychel of the Windsor Spitfires are two other OHL forwards with great potential entering the 2012-13 season. Rychel, a 6-foot, 198-pound left wing, had 41 goals and 74 points in 68 games, and Dickinson, a 6-foot, 174-pound center, had 13 goals and 35 points as a rookie with the Storm in 2011-12.


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The top player to keep an eye on with the USNTDP is J.T. Compher, a 6-foot, 165-pound left wing. Compher, who has verbally committed to the University of Michigan for the fall of 2013, had 15 goals and 42 points in 40 games with the USNTDP Under-17 Team in 2011-12, and had eight goals and 13 points in 18 games with the U-18 team.

Among U.S. scholastic players, right wing Ross Olsson of Williston Northampton in Massachusetts was the only "A List" player on the board. Olsson, committed to Northeastern University for 2013, was drafted in the fifth round (No. 73) by the Lincoln Stars in the 2012 USHL Futures Draft.

The most talked-about "A List" player among the European contingent might be Finland's Aleksander Barkov of Tappara in SM-Liiga. In 32 games last season, the 6-2, 205-pound center had seven goals and 16 points. Barkov also had a goal and four points in seven games for fourth-place Finland at the 2012 World Junior Championship.

Also in the mix are defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen of TPS in SM-Liiga and center Elias Lindholm of Brynas in Sweden's Elitserien. Ristolainen (6-3, 203) had three goals, eight points and 78 penalty minutes in 40 games for TPS in 2011-12. Lindholm (5-11.75, 181) had 14 goals and 49 points in 36 games with the Brynas Under-20 team.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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