As a lead-in to the 2009 NHL Entry Draft June 26-27 in Montreal, NashvillePredators.com will be taking a look at the top prospects available in this year's draft class. Today we will be starting with the top North American forwards.
1) John Tavares (London, OHL) – 56 games, 58g-46a-104pts, 54 penalty minutes CSS-NA #1, HN-#1, ISS-#1
( Tavares Video Highlights
The consensus top forward in this year’s draft class, Tavares has been a media prodigy since age 14 and earned MVP honors at this year’s World Junior Championships after posting eight goals and 15 points in six games.
"He is probably better than any other player in the Draft from the top of the circle down at being a threat to score. He’s an offensive player who is reliable in his defensive zone and getting better at that, but yet not asked to do that very frequently. He is pure offense and for his first years in the NHL will probably be asked to do just that." – EJ McGuire, Director of NHL’s Central Scouting 2) Matt Duchene (Brampton, OHL) – 57 games, 31g-48a-79pts, 42 penalty minutes CSS-NA #2, HN-#3, ISS-#2
( Duchene Video Highlights
The consensus No. 2 forward, Duchene is a likely top-three pick in this year’s draft. Noted for his speed and skating abilities, Duchene has been compared to Steven Stamkos, the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft.
"Matt Duchene is a pure offensive player who also is a great penalty killer. He helps the Brampton Battalion in all facets of the game. A pure sniper, he plays the point on the power-play and is a threat to score on the penalty kill as well. He reminds me, probably most of the new breed of snipers, Patrick Kane, Sam Gagner and Steven Stamkos as he grows into his offensive position in the NHL." – EJ McGuire, Director of NHL’s Central Scouting 3) Evander Kane (Vancouver, WHL) – 61 games, 48g-48a-96pts, 89 penalty minutes CSS-NA-#3, HN-#5, ISS-#5
( Kane Video Highlights
A gifted offensive forward, Kane plays bigger than his 6-1, 176 pound frame. Kane, who starred on the Vancouver Giants with Preds 2007 First Round pick Jonathon Blum
, had a break-out performance at the World Junior Championships this winter with six points in six games and is now being mentioned as a potential top-five pick in this year’s draft.
"He has power forward qualities from the blue line in. He's the type of player who doesn't like being denied access to the net. You can almost see when he's got the puck he's going to the net and defying people to stop him. He'll be a 200-pound forward in the National Hockey League. He plays like he's 6-2, 6-3, bigger than his size. He's surprised a lot of people with his strength going to the net." – Blair MacDonald, NHL Central Scouting 4) Brayden Schenn (Brandon, WHL) – 70 games, 32g-56a-88pts, 82 penalty minutes CSS-NA-#4, HN-#6, ISS-#6
( Schenn Video Highlights
The younger brother of Toronto Maple Leafs 2008 First Round Pick Luke Schenn, the younger Schenn is one of the elite power-forwards available in this year’s draft. Schenn has drawn comparisons to Philadelphia’s Mike Richards or San Jose’s Jonathan Cheechoo.
"Brayden is of the power-forward ilk. He has learned a little about the NHL from his older brother Luke Schenn and he knows how to go to the net. He is a threat to score at all times on the ice and dishes the puck very effectively to his linemates in getting the amount of assists that he does. He takes the puck to the net with the kind of authority that a Jonathan Cheechoo does, yet has puck dishing capacities that maybe a Joe Thornton does. Both are tough players, both are tough to move out in front of the net and Brayden fits that ilk perfectly." – EJ McGuire, Director of NHL’s Central Scouting 5) Jordan Schroeder (Minnesota, NCAA) – 35 games, 13g-32a-45pts, 29 penalty minutes CSS-NA-#5, HN-#9, ISS-#14
( Schroeder Video Highlights
A dynamic offensive talent, Schroeder is an undersized forward in the mold of former NCAA products Mike Cammalleri (Michigan), Brian Gionta (Boston College) and Martin St. Louis (Vermont). Schroeder answered questions about his size by posting some of the most impressive strength performances at this year’s Draft Combine.
“He’s a dynamic player, a leader and a type of player that has developed into a complete offensive and defensive threat every time he is on the ice. He has a rocket of a wrist shot and he can beat you by putting the puck in the net, going around a defender, or freezing the goaltender and passing it off to one of his wingers. The concern is going to be his overall size, like there was with Scott Gomez, with Brian Gionta and with Patrick Kane, but at the same age he is probably a little thicker and a little bit more compact than they were. He’s a great hockey player.” – Jack Barzee, NHL Central Scouting 6) Nazem Kadri (London, OHL) – 56 games, 25g-53a-78pts, 31 penalty minutes CSS-NA-#15, HN-#8, ISS-#8
( Kadri Video Highlights
A speedy forward, Kadri can play any of the three forward positions and showed a solid two-way game this season, leading the OHL in shorthanded points despite missing time due to a broken jaw. His injury likely led to his drop in ranking by Central Scouting, as many scouting services had Kadri pegged as a potential top-five pick entering this season.
“He's big, lanky and skilled. He uses his size to accentuate his puck skills. Size, reach, stick handling ability, those long kinds of stick movements that Mario (Lemieux) used to make, like (Vincent) Lecavalier makes.” – EJ McGuire, Director of NHL’s Central Scouting7) Scott Glennie (Brandon, WHL) - 55 games, 28g-42a-70pts, 25 penalty minutesCSS-NA-#7, HN-#14, ISS-#19
( Glennie Video Highlights
Glennie's regular season was cut short by a broken elbow in January, but he returned to post a strong playoff performance. A teammate of Brayden Schenn's with Brandon, Glennie may have more dynamic offensive skills than Schenn.
“Scott Glennie was mislabeled earlier in the year as perhaps being only a finisher for often linemate Brayden Schenn. Yet Scott took matters into his own hands with an equal number of goals and assists and contributed greatly this season with a power forward type attitude. Glennie might remind the fan of NHL players with power forward abilities coming off the wall like Jonathan Cheechoo and Jonathan Toews -- that kind of offensive ability.” – EJ McGuire, Director of NHL’s Central Scouting