Plenty of wildcards left of centre

Aaron Vickers2013 Draft Center0 Comments

It’s been a long season for left winger Luca Ciampini, failing to meet expectations in his draft year, and as a result went unranked in Future Considerations’ final 210 for 2012.

Each and every year there are those prospects that do not get their names listed on final rankings by various draft publications for the NHL Entry Draft but still get drafted. These prospects have shown enough promise to impress a regional NHL scout and earn a spot on the team’s draft list and ultimately become property of that NHL organization.

Here’s a look at which wildcards on the left that could be called in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Luca Ciampini – Halifax – QMJHL – 5’-11.5” 190 lbs
An offensive minded forward who really excels when he has the puck from the circles on in. His shot is excellent as is his puck protection as he is hard to knock off the puck on the cycle even with bigger, stronger defenders taking some hard shots at him. His skating is not very effective and has some issues that could be corrected but it is his inconsistent efforts that leave me wanting more. An NHL team will likely take a chance on him but you cannot fix lazy often.

Billy Jenkins – Kingston – OHL – 5’-10” 165 lbs
While being buried on a very deep Niagara Ice Dogs team to start the year it wasn’t until he was traded to Kingston midway through the year that he received ample ice time and opportunity to start showing his upside. One of the youngest prospects available this year due to his September 8 birth date, Jenkins is a good skater, works hard, showed solid sense, uses what size he has where he can, possesses nice vision and good hands all meaning he could develop into a solid top nine type forward for the next level.

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Matt Rupert – London – OHL – 5’-9” 175 lbs
Like twin brother Ryan, Matt too plays a gritty in-your-face game, getting under oppositions skin and working hard in all other aspects of the game. Matt plays a similar game to Ryan but has a little less edge to his game, not as high end vision and playmaking ability. Questions regarding the ability of the Rupert’s to further develop their offensive skills and progress overall have been raised in some scouting circles.

Brock McGinn – Guelph – OHL – 5’-11” 175 lbs
McGinn had a tough go this year as he struggled with injury and did not really have a chance to get it going. The energetic and gritty winger has many of the same attributes that his older NHL drafted brothers Jamie and Tye possess, intriguing abilities that project well like work ethic, leadership, strong mobility and quick agility. He is at his best disrupting on the fore check and digging for pucks in the offensive zone. Brock does not impress much in the way of elite puck skills but He could develop himself into a strong third/fourth line type energy checker for the next level.

Nathan Pancel – Sudbury – OHL – 5’-10” 175 lbs
After a second half surge in offensive production, Pancel might have done just enough to hear his name in Pittsburgh. A swift skater with good work rate and energy most of the time, plays a bit of an in-your-face game and fore checks hard meaning he can do more than just score and nothing else. While his skills are not overwhelming he does have the look of a bottom pairing two-way forward who can add some secondary scoring from time to time at the NHL level.

Philip Tot – Lethbridge – WHL – 6’-2” 185 lbs
Despite those impressive games where he really stood out this past season his play was inconsistent overall and we never felt comfortable having Tot inside our top 210 ranked players. Despite the holes in his game he does do many things well, He can create offense, play defense, block shots, drop the gloves, pretty much anything his team needs him to do. His do-it-all type game means that some NHL team will likely have him on their draft list or plan to invite him to a post draft camp.

Jordan Martinook – Vancouver – WHL – 6’-0.5” 205 lbs
A strong and rugged winger who was the heart and soul of the Giants team, both with scoring goals and leading by example, might be a candidate to hear his name called in at the draft this time around. His skating is something that he has improved upon but could still use more work and his offensive ceiling for the next level looks rather low despite putting forty behind puck stoppers this year. He will fit into a bottom six role rather well if an NHL team is willing to trust his feet will get quicker.

Malte Stromwall – Tri-City – WHL – 5’-11” 175 lbs
This young Swedish import did not have quite the affect that he had hoped in his first North American season but did make an impression none the less. He plays aggressive and with a constant eye on maintaining good defensive positioning while also adding to the offensive mix. Works hard on the wall, skates well but is not a blazer, has some skills with the puck but is likely never going to be a high point producer. He did however step up the offensive game in the post season this spring and if an NHL team thinks he has good two-way potential he could be as high as a mid-round selection on some lists.

Austin Farley – Fargo – USHL – 5’-8” 170 lbs
Farley is a scrappy forward who has some skill and a whole lot of grit in his game. He can fly up the wing and deposit a goal as well as he can get under the skin of his opposition. Problem is he is a mighty mite at just five-foot-eight and that makes most NHL teams hesitant to project him against much larger opponents. He has been injured for a good portion of his Fargo career and has also suffered from bouts of inconsistency in the offensive zone.

Charlie Sampair – Hill-Murray HS – MIN HS – 6’-0” 180 lbs
An excellent skater with great jump and lateral movements who improved his offensive skill set, most notably his shot, as the season progressed. He also is solid defensively and will do the small things to make a difference. Problem is that Charlie has been non-committal regarding his interest in pursuing a future in hockey as reported by FC Minnesota based scout Dan Shrader. Still if a team talks to him and sets him on a development course, he would well be worth a late round chance.

Roberts Lipsbergs – HK Riga – MHL – 5’-10” 175 lbs
A good hard working but yet skilled forward who does many things right. While he might not have high end speed nor the six-foot-two frame that NHL squads like he does have a very good shot, works his tail off for every inch of ice and drives to the greasy areas looking for second and third  scoring chances. His play at the spring U18 and winter U20 World Junior Championships made it hard to not rank him inside our top 210.

David Lillieström-Karlsson – AIK – Swedish Elite League – 5’-11” 185 lbs
A hard working winger who has the speed and sense to play a good two-way role. Does not have high end offensive skill but rather is a good complimentary player to a skilled playmaking centre. He will often try to do more than his skill set will allow and beat defenders with slick one-on-one moves often failing to do so. He shows some good NHL upside as a bottom six defensive minded forward.

Nathan Walker – Vitkovice – Czech Republic – 5’-9” 175 lbs
A winger of British/Australian decent playing in the Czech Republic is a bit of an unusual storyline but when you see him play it quickly becomes apparent that he has some strong skills. He has some quick and creative hands, nice on-ice vision and a strong drive/work ethic. His skating ability is what you want in a forward his size, he plays a complete 200’ game and he is not afraid to drive into the gritty areas despite his size concerns. Those same concerns are the main reason he may go undrafted but in saying that he could just as easily surprise and hear his name in the mid-rounds as well.

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