With the 2013 NHL Draft quickly approaching and playoffs all over the globe in full swing, it is a good time to check out who is driving up their draft stock with impressive playoff performances.
Starting out in the east in the Canadian Hockey League, Nick Sorensen of the Quebec Remparts and Martin Reway of the Gatineau Olympiques are two top performers so far in the first round of the QMJHL playoffs.
Sorensen, a Swedish import winger with a good competes level, is widely considered a top-100 prospect for the 2013 draft and has produced well this season in a secondary scoring role for the Remparts.
Along with his compete level, Sorensen also skates well, handles the puck with skill and is smart in all areas.
This postseason he has really boosted his production and has been on a tear along with the recently returned Mikhail Grigorenko in Quebec’s first round series with Chicoutimi.
Reway is a Slovak import centre who has been one of the key forces in Gatineau’s surprising first round upset against a strong Rimouski team. Every time this diminutive forward has been on the ice he makes something happen, creating chances and making an impact. He is competitive, a good two-way player, hard on the puck, flashes a hard shot and makes skilled plays with the puck.
He is one prospect that could turn a strong playoff performance into a draft selection as teams start to realize his size will not hold him back because of his skill level and drive.
Out west in the WHL, Nicolas Petan has continued his scoring trend as the main point producer for the powerhouse Portland Winterhawks squad.
Much has been said about the diminutive forwards heart and ability to play through checks against larger opponents, but it is Petan’s smarts and opportunistic sense that allows him to consistently put up points in leading the attack for Portland.
Petan has moved into Future Considerations’ top-30 ranking for the first time in March as his skill and sense can no longer be held back because of his lack of ideal NHL size.
Speaking of those moving up in recent rankings, Russian defenseman Ruslan Pedan of the North American Hockey League’s Janesville Jets has become the latest hotness in the prospect world as scouts and NHL teams clamor to get late season views on the promising brother of Guelph Storm and New York Islanders draft selection Andrey Pedan.
His point production and impressive physical abilities have NHL squads re-adjusting their draft boards to fit his name in earlier rather than later.
Heading across the pond to Sweden where the playoffs are moving along, Andre Burakovsky has impressed in the AIK vs. Malmo U18 series.
Our scout came away with good news on Burakovsky, but was more than impressed with a steady blueliner Fredrik Eriksson. Eriksson is a not flashy, but an effective, smart two-way defenseman that plays physical in his own end, shows good leadership qualities, has the respect of his teammates and even has a little offensive upside to keep an eye on.
Peter Cehlarik is a Slovak winger who plays in the Swedish Elite League with Lulea and has many scouts logging notes on his impressive jump from U18 to the mens league this season, producing consistently along the way.
His impressive size, skill and smarts have helped him maintain his scoring pace into the SEL’s playoffs and has Future Considerations among others pushing his name into second round contention and rising.
The big move at the top of March’s rankings was Darnell Nurse jumping over Sean Monahan for Future Considerations’ top-ranked OHL prospect. The move was made as our opinion is Nurse just has a bit more potential to make a marked impact on the game at the NHL level.
Join me again next month as ‘Directors Cut’ continues to take a look at more NHL draft prospects and news.
Until next month, see you at the rink.
Director of Scouting
As always if you have any questions regarding the draft or its prospects, feel free to EMAIL ME and I will do my best to address them in my next column.