As a lead-in to the 2008 NHL Entry Draft June 20-21 in Ottawa, Ontario, NashvillePredators.com will be taking a look at the top prospects available in this year's draft class. Today we will be continue with the top European forwards.
1) Nikita Filatov (CSKA-2, RUS-3) - 34 games, 32g-34a-66pts, 90 penalty minutesCSS-E #1, HN-#4, ISS-#2
If not for the issues with the international transfer agreement, Filatov may have become a serious challenger for the No. 1 overall selection. A tremendous offensive talent, he was one of the stars at the World Junior Championships. However, the potenial headaches to bring Filatov to North America -- along with the depth of top-end talent in this year's draft class -- may scare some teams away.
2) Mikkel Boedker (Kitchner, OHL) - 69 games, 29g-44a-73pts, 14 penalty minutesCSS-NA #11, HN-#9, ISS-#7
The Denmark native made his North American debut last season in the Ontario Hockey League, providing another top scoring option for the best team in Canadian Juniors this past season. A gifted offensive player, Boedker has tremendous speed and is viewed by many scouting services as potential to contribute at the NHL level sooner than most prospects.
3) Kirill Petrov (Kazan, RUS) - 47 games, 4g-6a-10pts, 54 penalty minutesCSS-E #2, NH-#100, ISS-#16
Again mostly due to the international transfer agreement, Petrov is one of the bigger wild cards in this year's draft. On talent alone most scouting services rate him as a mid-first round prospect. However, he's already playing in the Russian Elite League, which not only skewed his stats this past season, but also brings up questions about his willingness to come North America in the future.
4) Mattias Tedenby (HV72, SWE) - 23 games, 3g-3a-6pts, 6 penalty minutesCSS-E #3, HN-#16, ISS-#14
Tedenby is a skilled, but undersized forward. He split last season between the Swedish Elite and Junior leagues. His stats were skewed in the Elite League as a 17/18-year old against men, but he brings tremendous speed to the equation, drawing comparisons by some scouting services to Martin St. Louis and Paul Kariya.
5) Anton Gustafsson (Frolunda Jr., SWE Jr) - 23 games, 10g-13a-23pts, 43 penalty minutesCSS-E #5, HN-#24
Gustafsson is a physical defensive forward with a strong family pedigre as the son of former NHLer and current Swedish National Team Head Coach, Bengt Gustafsson. Due to injuries he missed prime international tournaments and due to Frolunda's veteran laden Elite League squad was stuck in the junior league. Stiil, his size, skill, and pedigree make him an attractive prospect. Other names of note:
Viktor Tikhnov (Cherepovets, RUS) - 43 games, 7g-5a-12pts, 43 penalty minutesCSS-E #7
Mikhail Stefanovich (Quebec, QMJHL) - 62 games, 32g-34a-66pts, 32 penalty minutesCSS-NA #57, HN-#20
Evgeny Grachev (Yaroslavl-2, RUS-3) - N/ACSS-E #9, HN-#74, ISS-#24
Dmitri Kugryshev (CSKA-2, RUS-3) - 35 games, 29g-29a-58pts, 16 penalty minutesCSS-E #10
Andrei Loktionov (Yaroslavl, RUS) - 5 games, 0g-1a-1pts, 0 penalty minutesCSS-E #15
Key: CSS-E (Central Scouting-European Rankings), CSS-NA (Central Scouting-North American Rankings), HN (The Hockey News), ISS (International Scouting Services)