Skip to main content

How high can Memorial Cup raise a prospect's draft stock?

by Adam Kimelman /
Ask any scout and they'll tell you -- there's no such thing as too much information when you're projecting 17- and 18-year-old hockey players.
"The more you get to see them play, the more you get to know about them," Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee told "You can make better projections."
For players from the Saint John Sea Dogs, Owen Sound Attack, Mississauga St. Michael's Majors and Kootenay Ice eligible for the 2011 Entry Draft, they provided teams with as many as a half-dozen opportunities to gather information to make their projections.
Saint John players possibly had the most to gain from their Memorial Cup experience -- besides winning the trophy. The Sea Dogs have nine players in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top 210 North American skaters available for the Draft.
Among that group are center Jonathan Huberdeau and right wing Tomas Jurco. Huberdeau is No. 3 in Central Scouting's rankings, but the last image scouts will have of him is the beautiful goal he scored in the third period of the title game. He finished with 3 goals and 3 assists in four games and was named MVP of the tournament. Could that have moved Huberdeau from a top-five selection into a top-three pick?

"The more you get to see them play, the more you get to know about them. You can make better projections." -- Capitals General Manager George McPhee

"I don't know what's in their mind," Huberdeau told "I just play my game. I wasn't thinking about that, if I had more chances. I just play my game and try to win the Cup. That was the only important thing."
It also was important for Jurco, but at No. 20 on Central Scouting's list, playing well with the scouts able to fully focus on him was a big opportunity. He tied for the tournament lead with 4 goals in six games; when that showing is combined with a regular season that saw him score 31 goals in 60 regular-season games and 19 points in 18 QMJHL playoff games, was that final showing enough to motivate a team to take him in the first round?
"It's really good for me, especially because I would really like to go in the first round," Jurco, No. 20 in Central Scouting's final rankings, told, "and after the season I wasn't really sure. I had a good last tournament, so I hope that helped me. We'll see what's going to happen."
Mississauga defenseman Stuart Percy is in a similar position. He started the season slowly, got better as the season wore on and played well at the Memorial Cup, totaling 4 assists and a plus-1 rating in four games and earning a spot on the tournament all-star team.
"Stuart has come a long way this year," Central Scouting's Chris Edwards told "When you watched him in the Memorial Cup … he was just so steady, smart. He is a really smart defenseman that makes real good decisions."
The extra viewings gave teams a chance to see just how far Percy, No. 53 on Central Scouting's list, has come.
"I think it did," Percy told "I think I played well and showed what I can really do both offensive and defensively. I think that'll definitely help.
"I thought I played a number of good games. I thought I played really well in the finals. I played well defensively, ran the power play pretty good offensively. I think I did a really good job with that."
We won't know for another couple weeks how much credence a strong Memorial Cup could have on the draft stock of the players involved, but human nature in most cases is the most recent memory remains the most lasting memory.
"I think it's always an advantage to play on a good team," Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland told "The longer you play, the longer you'll be seen. It's an advantage. I can't tell you you're going to go from the fourth round to the first round, but can somebody in the first round move up two or three or four spots with a real good performance at the Memorial Cup? Absolutely. … Sometimes last impressions are lasting impressions."
Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
View More