Leading up to the 2011 draft, Flordiapanthers.com will be highlighting some of the top prospects to look out for. At number 3, the Panthers have a lot of players to choose from. What direction and who will they pick?
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THE SKINNY: Mark McNeill’s 49 assists and 81 points this season for Prince Albert of the WHL helped move him up from 22nd in C.S.S.’s mid-term rankings to 14th in the final evaluation. Despite his team exiting in the first round of the playoffs, McNeill managed five points in six games, in his first trip to the postseason. He also represented Team Canada at the 2011 Under-18 World Championships, recording six assists.
Mark’s father Bernie played hockey for the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL, and his grandfather and great grandfather both played for the Brandon Wheat Kings.
NHL Central Scouting's Blair MacDonald: "One thing I like about him is that he's a right-handed center, which is good to have. He's really composed and has a real pro-style game. He has a nice touch, can dish, and has nice, soft passes. His on-ice awareness is very good and he's paid attention to detail at both ends of the rink. He has good defensive-zone coverage as well as being offensive at the other end. All around I think he's got a real solid game I think his offensive game will improve the older he gets and the more confident he gets. I think he'll be a better offensive player than he's showing right now. He's good at both ends of the rink. He comes down low and helps out defensively."
NHL Team: Chicago Blackhawks NHL Player: Ryan Getzlaf Shootout move: Five hole TV Show: NHL on the Fly Pump-up song: "Top of the World" by the Carpenters Home-cooked meal: Steak Book: "Hockey Tough" by Dr. Saul Miller
Prince Albert Raiders center Mark McNeill might be added to that list in the coming years. Ranked 14th by NHL Central Scouting in its final rating of North American skaters, McNeill has been wowing scouts across North America with his impressive ability to make plays and power his way to the net. The 6-foot-1, 204-pound center led his team with 49 assists and finished second with 81 points in 70 games.