I did this for my fun: having my personal opinion on players and rankings makes the draft much more interesting to follow... And then there is the opportunity to compare my rankings with the ones provided by scouting agencies and official publications years away from the event… me against the rest of the scouting world! I’m just a fan, so I can put into this limited time and viewings.. hence, if my list ends up sucking I have every kind of excuses for it, if it turns out to be better than the others of course i will feel like a genius, so why not? (i'm posting this in a hurry, hope not too many typos inside) ----Premises---- - this is NOT a mock draft (comments are welcome..whereas they don’t bring up the ‘ that player won’t last on the board beyond #.. ‘ argument. It simply doesn’t belong here ) -I have seen (not live) most of these guys play in full games. I also relied on what I read about them; obviously the less I know a players, the most what I read becomes important. -comments on players’ game are coming exclusively from what I’ve seen with my eyes. I avoided writing/repeating things off what I read on them. Players without any comments: for some, I only read about them without the opportunity to watch anything more than highlights. For others, I simply didn’t feel like adding anything on what’s already out there. -rankings prescind from the diatribe with the Russian federation and consequent matters. Ok, enough talking i guess.. Here you go: 1 Alexei Cherepanov As a 17yrs old showcased hockey smarts rarely seen in a junior player. Kind of a snobbish attitude in the early stages of U18 international tournaments brought concerns.. apparently N.A. scouts missed his disciplined play with his senior RSL team all over the season. Couple of years away from being ready for North American play despite succeeding already against men in the RSL. Needs to get much stronger to play (overseas) along the boards and around the net as much as he is used to. Quick release, nice and accurate wrister, rarely uses his good slapshot. Terrific ice vision and hockey sense, lethal passer, particularly dangerous from behind the net. I find amazing how this part of his game is consistently overlooked in the scouting reports. It’s true though that, away from PP situations, he doesn’t display a playmaking style despite being such a good passer. Gets open without the puck, has good wheels but his skating has room for improvement, lacks explosiveness. At the end of the day, when I had to decide who to put first, the fact he at 17 already enjoyed such good results in such a difficult league (something that can’t be said of any other of the available prospects.. guys like Van Riemsdyk or Turris would have never even made Omsk roster this year) despite not looking physically ready was a deciding factor; not saying he is a sure thing either, but still.. 2 Kyle Turris Should i go with what i’ve seen in person i should place him lower, should i go with how much I like what i‘ve been reading about him, I should make him my #1. I love his shot (I guess I’m not alone on that). 3 Patrick Kane You know better what you get here. What separates him from being a sure thing is only his size and the test he will face in NHL against bigger and punishing defensemen. Will he be able to keep playing his game at his best? I sure hope so. New rules should make him an effective contributor anyway. Less upside than the other guys in my top 5, but he looks more advanced in his development at the moment. 4 James van Riemsdyk Terrific potential, still kind of a raw prospect though. Really an intriguing forward but there are no guarantees he will fulfill his upside.. doesn’t take advantage of his frame as much as he could yet. 5 Mikael Backlund If I had to rely only on what I’ve seen of his and others, I should probably place him even higher. I’m in disbelief with most of the rankings I see out there. Strong on his skates with impressive acceleration, offensive and defensive awareness, nice vision and passing game are matched by finishing capabilities. Underrated stickhandler. Doesn’t seem to have any weakness in his game. Only thing I would argue is that he is not always keeping his wheels going, sometimes I caught him standstill, kind of watching the play.. but that was probably due to not having the aerobic part of his game 100% ready yet after the injury. For what I could see, really looks like an underrated prospect. This ranking supposes his knee is 100% healed, like Nielson mock draft would apparently confirm. 6 Jakub Voracek I have to say his disappointing production in U18 and U20 worldchampionships hurt his ranking in my list. 7 Sam Gagner I’ve confidence in this guy. He is talented AND smart, he will find a way to be an effective contributor at pro level. ----------------------------------------- While I had a lot of troubles deciding the order within the top 6, I didn’t have doubts about who were going to make my top 7 (Obviously i’m not saying I’m certain those 7 guys will be the best players out of these draft ). ------------------------------------------ 8 Karl Alzner 9 Lars Eller seductive package… I got seduced. 10 Simon Hjalmarsson a terrific player with good instincts, a quick mind, reacts fast, is a sniper but a very good passer as well and kills penalties… am I missing something aside from his size? That is the only reason I see for him to be ranked so low on most scouting agencies and hockey publications.. but c’mon, he is 5.11 after all, not 5.9… and no doubts he will fill out his frame. 11 Ryan McDonagh A pretty complete package.. playing regularly against top competition should help raising the level of his game rather than exposing weaknesses I could not notice. 12 Angelo Esposito i don’t feel like his potential is as high as his talent might suggests, and he really doesn’t look like a bust-risk-free pick either.. but who knows, any player has off years sooner or later in his career, who am i to know this past one wasn’t his? 13 Mayorov Maxim 14 Logan Couture 15 Keaton Ellerby 16 Bill Sweatt coast to coast baby!! In today’s game, he could be able to do that at top level too. As known lacks finishing, but should be a third liner at worst. 17 Nick Petrecki 18 Ian Cole A solid player, features a pro-style game, physical and dependable defenseman steadily improving.. one of the first players that I would expect to make the jump to the NHL from this crop. 19 Jonathan Blum 20 Colton Gillies skates like the wind and he is big.. those are certainties for the future.. the fact he never score could still change instead.. actually, more probably, it’s just that he is one of those guys whose point totals will be less affected by the jump to the pro than most of his peers’ ones. 21 Kevin Shattenkirk NICE anticipation, dynamic defender that excels in leading and joning the offensive rush. Will have to improve a lot his defensive play in his own zone to ever succeed as a pro in N.A. 22 David Perron 23 Luca Cunti 24 Joel Gistedt shades of a young Lundqvist? coming off a great season. 25 Zach Hamill 26 MacMillian 27 Michal Repik 28 Thomas Hickey 29 Ruslan Bashkirov 30 Brandon Sutter 31 Pat White 32 Brett MacLean 33 Max Pacioretti 34 John Negrin 35 Juraj Mikus I mean the forward released by Montreal here.. left a good impression at the U20, good with his stick and nice shot from close range from what I remember. 36 Evgeni Dadonov you gotta like this guy. Good mind for hockey, can play in all situations, sound technique and nice attitude on the ice, looks always involved in the play, good penalty killer. Limited size and probably upside as well, but like they say..he is a player. 37 Tommy Cross 38 Sergei Korostin skilled and quick on his feet, but what makes him worth this spot is his terrific shot. Amazingly quick release on both shots and passes. 39 Oscar Moller 40 Akim Aliu of course as said comments are welcome.. but i'm not too optimistic this late many will even read it..