Here's an article I wrote for our first issue of McKeen's Draft Digest. Since so few people form HF Boards ordered the first issue and the only way to see this article is by having a subscription to the digest, I'm publishing the entire article here (I'm the publisher, and I have my own permission to do so........................ One player from this yearâ€™s draft eligible class stands out above the rest when it comes to all-around skill, and thatâ€™s London Knightsâ€™ right winger Patrick Kane. Scouts have been trying to dismiss him all season due to his diminutive stature, but his elite-level offensive skills, production and determination have landed him a top spot on McKeenâ€™s first Top 250 prospect list of 2007. The Buffalo native is just too darn good not to be a top-five pick. â€œHeâ€™s a natural on the puck with great hands and awareness,â€ says one scout who had no quibbles with Kane being ranked first overall. â€œHeâ€™s deceptive at every turn, tough to get a read on as he telegraphs nothing, he makes opponents unsure of what he might do.â€ Those scouting opinions were garnered after the recent World Junior Championships, where Kane led his US team to a bronze medal. Kane was the top player on the American squad, and deservedly named one of the tournamentâ€™s top three forwards. Mixed feelings from the WJC While Kane enjoyed personal success at the WJC with five goals and nine points in seven games and was pleased to win a medal, he came away from the tournament with a feeling of disappointment over not being able to defeat arch-rival Canada in the semi-final shootout thriller, especially when both of his attempts in the shootout were stopped. â€œWe battled back from so much controversy (after losing the first two games),â€ says Kane. â€œI was pretty happy with the bronze. Our coach (Ron Rolston) gave us the mindset that we should win that game, after the disappointment of losing that game to Canada. We pretty much knew that that was the "gold medal game', that the winner of that game would likely win the tournament. But I'm looking forward to going back next year and improving on our placing.â€ While admitting that the shootout was â€œpretty excitingâ€, Kane reveals that â€œI wish I did a couple of different moves.â€ Kane had two nerve-wracking attempts to advance the Americans to the Gold medal game in the shootout, but both times he was barely thwarted by tournament all-star goaltender Carey Price. Kaneâ€™s second shot squirted between Priceâ€™s pads, and as he slid back into the net the puck may have crossed the goal line. Trouble was, no one could see the puck cross the line. Kane's version of the controversial play? "Personally I like to say it did go over the line. But we looked at a bunch of different camera angles after the game, and you can't definitely say it went in.â€ Upon his return to London, Kane hasnâ€™t skipped a beat, collecting eight points in three games to climb back into third in the OHL scoring race despite missing several weeks of play. London Knightsâ€™ GM Mark Hunter isnâ€™t surprised that Kane came back stronger than ever. He feels Kaneâ€™s drive to be the better is what will allow him to succeed as a top six forward at the pro level. â€œDetermination and skill, says Hunter, who stole Kane with a fifth round pick in the 2004 OHL Priority Draft. â€œHeâ€™ll be a good NHLer. Heâ€™s got high end skill, heâ€™ll be a top two line skilled player, but itâ€™s his determination...thatâ€™s what the kid is about, and itâ€™s whatâ€™s going to make him a great NHLer. Kane and his father Pat golfed this past summer with fellow Buffalo resident Scotty Bowman, who happens to be good friends with Kane's uncle Jim Doyle. Kane says that Bowman hinted that he should go to the NCAA. â€œBoth me and my dad got the impression he thought I should go the college route. But my uncle told me that Bowman called him recently and he said to my uncle 'I guess he made the right decision.' That was nice to hear." Speaking of coaches, Kane has had the good fortune of having several top-notch ones during his young career, all of them strong personalities, including Donnie Harkins, his head coach with midget powerhouse Detroit Honeybees in 2003-04. "He was a great coach, such a motivator and a pusher,â€ says Kane, who is coached this season by former NHL standout Dale Hunter and former first round pick and longtime NHLer Dave Gagner, whose son Sam centers the top line with Kane. â€œI've had a lot of good coaches through the years, pretty much everyone had an influence on me." Kane was always a top player in his age group in Buffalo, and the opportunity to move to Detroit to play with the vaunted AAA Detroit Honeybees arose when he was 14. At first there was a reluctance to move away from home at such a young age, but former NHLer Pat Verbeek, who had coached Kane in summer tournaments with the Honeybees, offered to billet the young star in Detroit for the season, and the difficult decision to move away from home at such a young age was made. "I wasn't going to move away, but when Verbeek stepped up and said 'You can live with me', we decided to do it." Kane has been strongly motivated by both Verbeek and Hunter. "Like me, they were two smaller guys that gritted it out; they had to work hard to achieve what they did. I can take a lot of inspiration from them" Kane acknowledges that has learned a lot, and been strongly motivated by both Verbeek and Hunter. "Like me, they were two smaller guys that gritted it out; they had to work hard to achieve what they did. I can take a lot of inspiration from them" Not surprisingly, Kane grew up a Sabres' fan. While his father Pat Sr. played hockey growing up in Buffalo, he was by no means as skilled as his son, not that it stopped him from being enthusiastic about the game. "He really knows a lot about the sport, he's been a great help to me through the years. And my mom is a real hard worker. I like to think I got my work ethic from my mom and my hockey background from my dad. My offensive abilities, hands and ability to score. I'm told I have good stickhandling.â€ He was being modest â€“ one of Kaneâ€™s strengths is his ability to stickhandle effectively at high speeds, and one of the reasons scouts like him as a top pick for the 2007 NHL entry draft. â€œHeâ€™s a natural on the puck with great hands and awareness, deceptive at every turn,â€ says one scout who has Kane at the top of his draft list. â€œItâ€™s tough to get a read on as he telegraphs nothing, he makes opponents unsure of what he might do.â€ Asked if he wants to go first overall in the draft, Kane wasn't shy to admit it has crossed his mind. "You grow up dreaming about it; there have been so many great players go first, it would be unbelievable to go first overall and a tremendous honour.â€ â€œI need to work on my shot and defensive abilities, but the way I look at it I have to improve on everything, not only my weaknesses, but my strengths as well. Kane doesn't regret his decision to play in the OHL, especially after getting off to such an outstanding start in his rookie campaign, leading the OHL in scoring with 67 points in 32 games before departing for the World Junior Championships. "I love it here in London. All the guys on the team are great, and we have a great coach. He's never really satisfied with your play, and that's good motivation.â€ Kane has had no problem adapting to the Canadian lifestyle, mind you it helped that he grew up in a border city. "Actually I like it better here in Canada because everyone is into hockey; it's all good." He is impressed with the Canadian education system, noting that he thinks there is more expected from the students in terms of workload. Mind you being a star rookie on the local junior team has its advantages at times. "All my teachers are hockey fas so they cut me a bit of slack,â€ he says with a chuckle. If Kane brings another OHL championship to London he may not have to write his final exams until August.