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 continue with the top North American defensemen.
1) Zach Bogosian (Peterborough, OHL) - 60 games, 11g-50a-61pts, 72 penalty minutesCSS-NA #2, HN-#3, ISS-#3
Most likely the top US prospect to be selected in this year's draft, Bogosian is viewed by most scouting services to be a solid two-way defenseman, with dynamic offensive skills.
2) Drew Doughty (Guelph, OHL) - 58 games, 13g-37a-50pts, 68 penalty minutesCSS-NA #3, HN-#2, ISS-#4
In the opinions of many scouting services, it will be a tight choice between Doughty and Bogosian for the No. 2 pick in this year's draft. Doughty is viewed to be the most NHL-ready of the top defensemen in the draft. Another gifted puck-mover along the blue line, Doughty's strong showing at the World Junior Championships really helped boost his draft status.
3) Tyler Myers (Kelowna, WHL) - 65 games, 6g-13a-19pts, 97 penalty minutesCSS-NA #4, NH-#11, ISS-#15
A physical defensive-defenseman, the conversation on Myers always seems to start with his size. Due to his 6'7 frame, he is often compared to Zedno Chara, but -- much like Chara at the same age -- still needs to bulk up quite a bit before he'll be able to become a difference maker at the NHL level. His skating is a source of concern for some scouting services, but others note his abilities to cover wide areas with his size and reach.
4) Luke Schenn (Kelowna, WHL) - 57 games, 7g-21a-28pts, 100 penalty minutesCSS-NA #5, HN-#6, ISS-#6
A team mate of Myers with Kelowna, Schenn is another defensive-defenseman. Shenn's at his best when he's playing a physical blue-collar game. His struggles at the World Junior Championships are a slight concern for some scouting services, but others are quick to note that his style is more suited to the NHL game than the International game.
5) Alex Pietrangelo (Niagara, OHL) - 60 games, 13g-40a-53pts, 94 penalty minutesCSS-NA #6, HN-#5, ISS-#5
The scouting services rave about Pietrangelo's size, skill, and poise on the ice. At 6'3 with quality puck moving skills, the scouting services view him to be a virtual lock for a top-10 selection. However, some scouting services dock him for having a more laid-back personality on and off the ice, which may be more a testament to the tremendous depth in this year's draft than a "true" knock against Pietrangelo's NHL potential.Other names of note:
Michael Del Zotto (Oshawa, OHL) - 64 games, 16g-47a-63pts, 82 penalty minutesCSS-NA #15, HN-#15, ISS-#18
John Carlson (Indiana, USHL) - 59 games, 12g-31a-43pts, 72 penalty minutesCSS-NA #17, HN-#30, ISS-#21
Colten Teubert (Regina, WHL) - 66 games, 7g-16a-23pts, 135 penalty minutesCSS-NA #18, HN-#13, ISS-#13
Tyler Cuma (Ottawa, OHL) - 59 games, 4g-28a-32pts, 69 penalty minutesCSS-NA #19, HN-#28
Jake Gardiner (Minnetonka, MN High School) - 25 games, 16g-27a-43pts, 18 penalty minutesCSS-NA #23, HN-#39, ISS-#29
Key: CSS-NA (Central Scouting-North American Rankings), HN (The Hockey News), ISS (International Scouting Services)