Buzzing The Net - Junior Hockey

Scouts delve into the NHL draft’s ins and outs

To get an inside look at the 2013 NHL draft class past the two snipers in Halifax and superstar defenceman in Portland, Yahoo! Sports has teamed up with International Scouting Services to delve into the ins and outs of the draft eligible prospects.

This year’s draft class has been hyped up as the best crops in a long time. Some have even went to the extent of comparing it to the incredible 2003 draft that entailed a surplus of players who developed into NHL stars such as Eric Staal, Brent Seabrook, Ryan Getzlaf, Dion Phaneuf, Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Corey Perry, Shea Weber, and many more. It seems, however, despite the draft’s clear-cut edge in talent and depth over recent years, the 2003 comparison is a bit of a stretch.

“It’s a good draft, but the big difference between 2003 and this year’s draft is quality, something the 2003 draft had in aces,” says ISS director of scouting Dennis MacInnis. “Whereas this year’s draft, once past the first 15 you’re looking at mainly guys who can contribute on the third and fourth lines, not the first line. Five NHL teams have already traded their first-round pick! This is usually a good indicator on the overall strength of an NHL draft class. Drafts like this one will be ultimate test for NHL scouting staffs and can be the difference between have and have nots when building strong foundations for the future and adding assets.”

Every draft has dips in talent throughout the first round, second round, and so forth. This year, there appears to be two drop-offs within the first 45-50 prospects.

“If I was to break down the 2013 draft first round into tiers – Nathan MacKinnon, Seth Jones, Jonathan Drouin, Valery Nichushkin along with Sasha Barkov all have the potential to be stars for their respective future NHL teams. (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds defenceman) Darnell Nurse leads the second echelon of top-level players and the third tier starts at No. 16 (ISS ranks Swedish forward Andre Burakowsky there) and runs to the top 45 or 50 players that are all interchangeable."

Second, third chances

Late bloomers always garner some attention in every draft. New Jersey Devils centre Travis Zajac is one of the most notable players passed over his first year of draft eligibility. He was overlooked in 2003, but was later selected 20th overall by the Devils the following year. Former Barrie Colt Tanner Pearson, meanwhile, was picked 30th overall by the Los Angeles Kings last year at 19 years old.

Kamloops Blazers power forward JC Lipon, Kelowna Rockets winger Myles Bell, and Russian defenceman Andrey Mironov stand out as the top prospects passed over in previous drafts.

“Lipon has earned his ranking and I believe the best is yet to come from him. And Bell was a potential top-round pick two years ago, and has re-emerged as an elite player, only this time as a forward. Bell still has a lot of work to do and development on and off the ice, but he seems to be back on the right path. Another undrafted prospect who could turn out to be a steal is rugged shutdown defenceman Andrey Mironov (Ranked 72 by ISS). He’s an intense and physical defensive defender. Mironov is never a player opposing skaters are happy to match up against. He can play against top lines and likes to inflect pain. There is lots of interest in this kid and wouldn’t be surprised to see him drafted in second round this time around.”

ISS believes some prospects have ‘underrated’ and ‘overrated’ reputations in the hockey world. Here is a look at three apiece past the top-30 prospects.

Underrated

Nick Moutrey, wing, Saginaw Spirit (OHL) – “Moutrey’s development trend has steadily risen throughout the past season. He continued to play more and more physical and inserting an edge to his game especially in the last half of the season. The light has finally gone on and could be a steal in the second or third round.”

Peter Cehlarik, wing, Lulea J20 (SuperElit) – “Cahlarik is a Slovakian developing in Sweden. He really impressed in his pro debut this year, netting six points in eight games in the Elitserien. He has a lot to offer and his skills could be cultivated to make him a very versatile threat at the highest levels. He will be a top pick in upcoming 2013 CHL Import draft."

Jacob De La Rose, forward, Leksand (Allsvenskan) – “The captain of the Swedish U18 team, De La Rose was also a member of the Swedish world junior championship team. He has a great work ethic, with good hands and a strong shot. He shows a complete game with upside in both ends. He can be put out in any situation during any time of the game; De La Rose is the kid we could be looking at from this draft and wondering why he didn’t get drafted higher.”

Overrated

Anthony Mantha, wing, Val-d’Or Foreurs (QMJHL) – “Mantha has all the tools to develop into a very good player at the next level. However, his lack of compete level away from puck and inability to fight through checks when he is the focal point are major red flags. He’s a high-risk and high-reward type. He has been very inconsistent all year with every viewing.”

Oliver Bjorkstrand, wing, Portland Winterhawks (WHL) – “He doesn't contribute defensively and is pretty one dimensional with the puck. He can score and loves to shoot, but his size and strength are an issue. He gets most of his opportunities off the rush or from the perimeter.”

William Carrier, wing, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL) – “He has been inconsistent in his play when healthy and with injuries late in the year he was not able to finish strong. We feel that Carrier's game does not translate as well at next level. He plays a power-forward type game; however, his skating is just average and he doesn't engage enough. It's difficult to project him in an offensive role at the next level without improved skating.”

Kelly Friesen is a Buzzing the Net columnist for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KellyFriesen.

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