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Prospect Profiles: North American Centres

by Craig Medaglia @craigmedaglia / Ottawa Senators

Our Sport Chek Prospect Profiles continue with a look at some of the top North American centres available in the 2017 NHL Draft.

1. Shane Bowers

Watch: Youtube Video

  • #16 ranked North American Skater

  • Centre / Waterloo (USHL)

  • Height: 6' 2"

  • Weight: 178 lbs


Profile

  • Finished tied for 10th in USHL scoring with 22-29-51 in 60 games during the 2016-17 season en route to being named to the USHL third all-star team.

  • Named to the USHL all-rookie second team after leading Black Hawks rookies and finishing ninth in the USHL among first-year players with 15-18-33 in 2015-16 (56 GP).

  • Captained Canada black at the 2015 world under-17 hockey challenge and scored a goal in four appearances with Canada at the 2016 Ivan Hlinka memorial.

  • Committed to Boston university for the 2017-18 season.


What the scouts say:

"Bowers is a hard-working, smart, two-way player. He's a solid skater with good passing ability. He makes players around him better and has a very good feel for the game. He uses his size well in contact areas." - NHL Central Scouting's Greg Rajanen


 

2. Jaret Anderson-Dolan

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  • #21 ranked North American Skater
  • Centre / Spokane (WHL)

  • Height: 5' 11"

  • Weight: 191 lbs


Profile

  • Ranked second in Chiefs scoring with 39-37-76 during the 2016-17 regular season (72 GP), becoming the fourth 17-year-old in franchise history to score 30 or more goals in a season.

  • His 39 goals ranked 12th in the western hockey league.

  • In 2015-16, Anderson-Dolan led all Chiefs rookies in goals, assists and points with 14-12-26 during his first full season in the WHL (65 GP).

  • Internationally, Anderson-Dolan captained team Canada at the 2017 under-18 World Championship and won a gold medal with Canada white at the 2015 world under-17 hockey challenge.

  • Models his style of play after Islanders forward John Tavares.


What the scouts say:

"A smart, skilled player who is strong on his skates, Anderson-Dolan has a big shot and is extremely competitive. He had 76 points (39 goals, 37 assists) in 72 games. He can play all situations and is a reliable two-way player." - Mike G. Morreale, NHL.com


 

3. Robert Thomas

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  • #22 ranked North American Skater

  • Centre / London (OHL)

  • Height: 6' 0"

  • Weight: 193 lbs


Profile

  • Finished third in Knights scoring with 16-50-66 during the 2016-17 regular season (66 GP), highlighted by a five-point effort (2-3-5) vs. the Flint Firebirds on Dec. 4, 2016.

  • Was a member of London's OHL and Memorial Cup Championship team in 2015-16.

  • Internationally, Thomas was a member of Canada white's gold medal-winning entry at the 2015 world under-17 hockey challenge.

  • Compares his style of play to Kings forward Anze Kopitar and Predators forward Mike Fisher.


What the scouts say:

"Thomas (5-11, 188) is a highly intelligent player who can make an impact at both ends of the ice. He's a gifted passer who sees the ice extremely well and can be trusted to play in any situation. He had 66 points (16 goals, 50 assists) in 66 games. " - Mike G. Morreale, NHL.com


 

4. Aleksi Heponiemi

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  • #26 ranked North American Skater
  • Centre / Swift Current (WHL)

  • Height: 5' 10"

  • Weight: 149 lbs


Profile

  • Finished second in Broncos scoring and first among WHL rookies with 28-58-86 during the 2016-17 regular season (72 GP). He was the recipient of the Jim Piggott trophy, awarded annually to the WHL rookie of the year. 

  • Internationally, Heponiemi represented Finland at the 2015 world under-17 hockey challenge (5 GP) and tallied 0-5-5 in 4 GP for Finland at the 2016 Ivan Hlinka memorial.

  • Compares his style of play to Flyers forward Valtteri Filppula.

  • Lists former NHL forward Pavel Datsyuk as his childhood hockey idol.


What the scouts say:

"Very smart and creative offensive player - excellent vision and play-making ability - very elusive with and without the puck - can create time and space in the offensive zone." - NHL Central Scouting


 

5. Morgan Frost

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  • #31 ranked North American Skater
  • Centre / Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)

  • Height: 5' 11"

  • Weight: 173 lbs


Profile

  • Finished fourth in Greyhounds scoring with 20-42-62 (67 GP) during the 2016-17 regular season and added 5-6-11 in 11 playoff games.

  • After being selected in the fourth round (81st overall) of the 2015 OHL priority selection, Frost won a bronze medal with OMHA black (1-7-8 in 5 GP) at the 2015 OHL gold cup before joining the Greyhounds for his rookie year (7-20-27 in 65 GP).

  • Lists Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews as his childhood hockey idol.

  • Compares his style of play to Wild forward Mikael Granlund.


What the scouts say:

"Smart and skilled center with very good offensive hockey sense - excellent vision and anticipation to quickly take advantage of opportunities - creative with the puck to set up plays and generate scoring chances - very good puck skills to execute passes in traffic and while being checked - heads up game to evade checking pressure and shows a consistent two-way effort." - NHL Central Scouting


 

6. Joshua Norris

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  • #34 ranked North American Skater
  • Centre / USA U-18 (NTDP)

  • Height: 6' 0"

  • Weight: 189 lbs


Profile

  • Led the U.S. National under-18 team in goals and points (tied) with 27-34-61 in 61 contests during the 2016-17 season and added 12-14-26 in 25 USHL games.

  • At the 2017 NHL scouting combine, Norris led all 104 draft-eligible players in attendance in five of 14 fitness tests.

  • Registered 14-13-27 in 44 games with the U.S. National under-17 team during the 2015-16 season.

  • Internationally, Norris helped the United States win a gold medal at the 2017 under-18 world championship.

  • Committed to the University of Michigan for the 2017-18 season.

  • Compares his style of play to Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin.


What the scouts say:

"He can hammer a puck. He can skate. He's got a great first step. He competes, and he's coachable. He's got a lot going for him. I think he's got a great deal of God-given talent. He is a heck of a kid and extremely coachable. Those items right there lead up to a player who has some ability and a bright future." - John Wroblewski, coach of the U.S. NTDP Under-18 squad


 

7. Adam Ruzicka

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  • #37 ranked North American Skater
  • Centre / Sarnia (OHL)

  • Height: 6' 4"

  • Weight: 209 lbs


Profile

  • After being selected in the second round (107th overall) of the 2016 CHL import draft by the Sarnia sting, Ruzicka finished fourth among OHL rookies with 25-21-46 (61 GP) in 2016-17.

  • Internationally, the Bratislava native represented his country at the 2017 world junior championship (1-0-1 in 5 GP), the 2017 under-18 world championship (2-3-5 in 5 GP) and the 2016 under-18 world championship (2-2-4 in 5 GP).

  • Also represented Slovakia at the Ivan Hlinka memorial in 2016 (2-2-4 in 4 GP) and 2015 (1-1-2 in 4 GP).

  • Lists Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin as his childhood hockey idol.


What the scouts say:

"Skilled power winger with good size and strength - hockey sense and vision allow him to have success playing all three forward positions - just as capable setting up plays as he is finishing them; poised game with the puck - possesses an excellent touch around the net - moves very well for his size, displaying deceptive quickness and good ability to maneuver through traffic." - NHL Central Scouting
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