Future Considerations’ Boston-based high school scout Dan Chan gives his thoughts on who from the 2012 NHL Entry Draft class left him impressed, who disappointed and who his sleeper is on draft day.
Adam Gilmour from Noble & Greenough School.
Gilmour is a good two-way forward with some offensive upside. He displays good, strong strides and is very good on his edges but could quicken his first few steps. He has a good feel for the puck and makes crisp, accurate passes. He backchecks well and shows good stick positioning. He is a very hardworker and is quite smart with the puck; keeps his head up and is always aware of the play.
He started off the year making simple plays and playing an unspectacular game but over the course of the season, his confidence grew and began to use his creativity and stick skills more often. This helped his offensive game grow and suggests he has top six forward potential.
There are still question marks on whether he can translate this upside against tougher competition as Massachusetts high school hockey is still considered a tier lower than the CHL or USHL. He could also improve his quickness but the combination of size, skating ability, hockey sense and two-way play is very intriguing.
The Muskegon Lumberjacks of the USHL also share a positive impression on Gilmour as they recently drafted him second overall in the USHL draft. He will get plenty of ice time against proper competition, great for his future development.
Sam Kurker from St. John’s Prep.
Kurker is a toolsy-type of prospect, with power in his size, power in his stride and power in his shot. He is an offensive, north-south style of player that has put up impressive numbers on his team.
However, the biggest concern there is with him is his ability to process the game. While the previously mentioned Noble & Greenough School has questions of competition level, St. John’s Prep is a level below that. Even with that in mind, Kurker seems to struggle making quick and decisive decisions. In addition, it would be in his favor if he improves his edgework and agility.
To me, this is a major concern and has me doubting whether he can translate his game into the NHL level, never mind the junior or college level. Kurker will need to be developed slowly as he does have impressive tools, he will just have to adjust accordingly as his competition becomes tougher and tougher.
Niko Rufo from Kimball Union Academy.
An offensively skilled forward who is an extremely good skater, Rufo very agile, possesses good first steps and is an elusive skater and can really turn the burners on. He skates with a pile of energy and plays with hustle and heart. His offensive game is very high, as he isn’t afraid to shoot and is extremely creative, dynamic and makes quick decisions with the puck.
What will drop Rufo is that looked somewhat lanky and could definitely add muscle as he does appear weak. In addition, his defensive game is only average, if not, a non-factor to his skill set.
Still, Rufo could be a sleeper if a team is interested in his offensive upside, complimented by his impressive skating ability and solid six-foot frame to build off on.
He will have time to round off his game and add muscle to handle the rigors of tougher competition as he still has one more year of high school and then two to four years at Providence College.