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Once the NHL's new collective bargaining agreement is ratified, the world's best young amateur players will soon be made available at the next NHL Entry Draft. That being said, TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie has put together a list of the top 30 prospects to look out for. Also included are rankings provided by ISS (International Scouting Service), an independent scouting operation. ISS ranks all skaters (North American and European) and goaltenders in their own separate groupings.


Prospects 1-10 | Prospects 11 - 20 | Prospects 21 - 30


1. Sidney Crosby
image
TEAM: Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)
POSITION: Centre
HEIGHT: 5'10
WEIGHT: 180 lbs.
BORN: 08/07/87 - Halifax, N.S.
NOTES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Two-time QMJHL and CHL Player of the Year and 2004 Rookie of the Year, led Rimouski to the 2005 Memorial Cup Final...Canadian Hockey League's leading scorer in 2003-2004 and 2004-2005...helped guide Canada to a silver medal in 2004 and gold medal in 2005 at the World Junior Hockey Championship. (Photo: Rimouski Oceanic)
BOB MCKENZIE'S TAKE: What else is there to say about him that hasn't already been said? Perhaps only that there should be a cease and desist order on referencing Crosby in the same sentence as Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux. Crosby has not shown he's in that stratosphere -- then again, who has? -- so we should be content with projecting him as Peter Forsberg or Marcel Dionne. If he puts up Yzerman- or Sakic-like numbers over his career, he will indeed be a special player and if he should happen to exceed that level, great, but it's still a long way up to Wayne and Mario and having the ability to transcend the game. All that said, Crosby is considered so much better than every other player in this draft class that it's scary. It's the Sid the Kid and everyone else. Enough said.

Statistics
GP
G
A
PTS
2004-05
62
66
102
168


2. Jack Johnson
image
TEAM: US National Program
POSITION: Defence
HEIGHT: 6'0
WEIGHT: 197 lbs.
BORN: 01/13/87 - Faribault, Minn.
NOTES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Played with the U.S. National Team Development Program's Under-17 and Under-18 teams, selected to summer evaluation roster for 2006 World Juniors...first made his mark playing with Shattuck St. Mary's in Minnesota...committed to play next season with the University of Michigan. (Photo: USA Hockey)
BOB MCKENZIE'S TAKE: A pal of Crosby's from their prep school days at Shattuck, the two used to talk about the possibility of going one-two in the draft and it could happen. Johnson is a tough, aggressive, hard hitting defenceman who also has offensive upside and a desire to be the guy with the puck. Scouts say he is sometimes too aggressive, but better that than not aggressive enough. He's a fiery competitor alright, just ask the opposing baseball player who was heckling Crosby during a prep school game -- Johnson charged the mound to go after the heckler.

Statistics
GP
G
A
PTS
2004-05
42
14
27
41


3. Benoit Pouliot
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TEAM: Sudbury Wolves (OHL)
POSITION: Left Wing
HEIGHT: 6'2
WEIGHT: 180 lbs.
BORN: 09/29/86 - Ottawa, ON
NOTES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Led all OHL rookies with 67 points in 2004-2005...had 19 multiple-point games...named the OHL's Rookie of the Year in 2005 and also named as a Second Team All-Star. (Photo: Getty Images)
BOB MCKENZIE'S TAKE: This is your classic late bloomer. An 11th round pick of the Sudbury Wolves who didn't play in the OHL as a 16 year old, Pouliot quickly emerged this season as an elite prospect. He has great size, terrific speed, marvelous hands and vision. The biggest knock on him is that he has yet to realize how good he is and that his application doesn't match his bountiful natural ability. The scouts liken him to the iceberg and we've only seen the tip of it thus far. But he's also had to cope with a lot as his father passed away during last season.

Statistics
GP
G
A
PTS
2004-05
69
29
38
67


4. Bobby Ryan
image
TEAM: Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
POSITION: Right Wing
HEIGHT: 6'0
WEIGHT: 210 lbs.
BORN: 03/17/87 - Cherry Hill, N.J.
NOTES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Led Attack with 1.44 points per game and was +30...tallied 128 regular season points over 127 OHL games...Ryan and the Attack went on a string of 20 games with only one loss in 2004-2005...invited to U.S. summer evaluation camp for 2006 World Junior Hockey Championship. (Photo: Getty Images)
BOB MCKENZIE'S TAKE: This player's "life" story has been well documented. The son of a father who so severely beat his mother that the father went to prison for five years, but not before the entire family moved to California and changed the family name from Stevenson to Ryan to avoid the authorities. All that aside, the Owen Sound Attack forward is a big, strong power forward type who can make plays and score goals with a flourish. Scouts debate whether he's a bad skater or just an awkward skater, but he moves well enough to be rated a sure-fire top 5 pick who could go as high as No. 2. Lots of speculation as to how hard Philadelphia Flyer GM Bob Clarke, a close friend of the family, will try to move into a spot to draft Ryan.

Statistics
GP
G
A
PTS
2004-05
62
37
52
89


5. Anze Kopitar
image
TEAM: Sodertalje SK, (SweJE)
POSITION: Centre
HEIGHT: 6'2
WEIGHT: 202 lbs.
BORN: 08/24/87 - Jesenice, Slovenia
NOTES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Finished third in scoring with six goals and two assists and led Slovenia to a second-place finish at the 2004 Under-18 World Championship...split time between the SuperElite League and the Slovenian Senior National Team...selected in the second round by the Regina Pats in the 2005 CHL Import Draft.
BOB MCKENZIE'S TAKE: The Slovenian big man played junior hockey in Sweden this season, but it was his ability to play with the men in the senior world championships that demonstrated to many scouts that he's a legit top five pick, in spite of his country's lack of hockey pedigree. Kopitar is physically mature and has excellent offensive instincts, but there are bound to some reservations. As one scout said, "The kid could turn out to be a great player, but if you're picking that high, do you really want to take a chance on a kid from a country that has produced no NHL talent? Look at what happened to those Swiss first rounders. I don't care what you say, it's a gamble taking kids with unconventional backgrounds."

Statistics
GP
G
A
PTS
2004-05
30
28
21
49


6. Gilbert Brule
image
TEAM: Vancouver Giants (WHL)
POSITION: Centre
HEIGHT: 5'10
WEIGHT: 175 lbs.
BORN: 01/01/87 - Vancouver, B.C.
NOTES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Grabbed the spotlight at the 2005 CHL Prospects Game with a hat-trick...named the WHL Rookie of the Year in 2004...named CHL's 2005 Scholastic Player of the Year and the WHL's Western Conference First All-Star Team. (Photo: Getty Images)
BOB MCKENZIE'S TAKE: They say the combative Vancouver Giant forward is only 5-foot-10, but he's much bigger when you take into account the chip on his shoulder. One scout described him as a more skilled version of Michael Peca, which is why a guy like Don Cherry thinks the world of Brule. Brule likes to score goals, and is good at it, but he also enjoys hitting and scrapping and battling as much or more. Some scouts wonder, at Brule's size, how that will play at the next level, but there's no disputing his talent and many believe he'll be a better player when he learns to pick his spots on the physical side and concentrate more on his skill game.

Statistics
GP
G
A
PTS
2004-05
70
39
48
87


7. Carey Price
image
TEAM: Tri-City Americans (WHL)
POSITION: Goaltender
HEIGHT: 6'3
WEIGHT: 212 lbs.
BORN: 08/16/87 - Williams Lake, B.C.
NOTES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Represented Canada at the Under-18 World Cup last August...played for Team Pacific at the World Under 17 Hockey Championships in December...backstopped Canada to a silver medal at the 2005 World Under-18 Championship. (Photo: Getty Images)
BOB MCKENZIE'S TAKE: The Tri-City Americans goaltender is widely heralded as the top netminder available in this year's draft, but it's not necessarily unanimous. Odds are Price will be the first goalie selected, but depending upon the order of selection, it's tough to say how early a goalie might go in this draft. Team preference aside, though, scouts generally agree Price is a top-10 talent who has what it takes to be a No. 1 stopper in the NHL. His performance at the U-18 championships in April was only fair, but the WHL workhorse showed his worth game in and game out for Tri-Cities.

Statistics
GP
GAA
SV%
2004-05
63
2.34
.920


8. Marc Staal
image
TEAM: Sudbury Wolves (OHL)
POSITION: Defence
HEIGHT: 6'3
WEIGHT: 193 lbs.
BORN: 01/13/87 - Thunder Bay, ON
NOTES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Part of a strong hockey family that includes older brother Eric of the Carolina Hurricanes and brother Jordan with the OHL's Peterborough Petes...14 points in 61 games in his rookie season, 26 points in 65 games in 2005...named to the summer development roster for Canada's entry at the World Junior Hockey Championship. (Photo: Getty Images)
BOB MCKENZIE'S TAKE: His critics might suggest the Sudbury Wolves' defenceman gets too much recognition because he's the younger brother of Carolina's Eric Staal. His supporters would say there's way too much here to be blinded by bloodlines. In any case, Staal is the first of the top 10 prospects to get wildly divergent evaluations. One NHL team sees him as one of the five best prospects in the draft, right alongside Johnson as the top defenceman. Another NHL team sees him as no better than a late first rounder. The consensus, though, is that he's top 10 material and that while he's not a great offensive defenceman nor is he a great punishing defender, he is a great all-around defenceman who can play in every situation.

Statistics
GP
G
A
PTS
2004-05
65
6
20
26


9. Jack Skille
image
TEAM: U.S. National Program
POSITION: Left Wing
HEIGHT: 6'1
WEIGHT: 200 lbs.
BORN: 08/19/87 - Madison, Wis.
NOTES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Played for silver-medal winning U.S. squad at the 2004 World Under-18 Championship...named to the U.S. National Team's evaluation roster for the 2006 World Junior Hockey Championship...is committed to playing with the Wisconsin Badgers next season. (Photo: USA Hockey)
BOB MCKENZIE'S TAKE: A product of the U.S. under-18 program, Skille has the requisite speed, skill and tenacity to be a sure-fire NHLer. Skille will attend the University of Wisconsin next season. If there's a knock on him, some scouts question hockey sense, but no so much as to be a major impediment. In TSN's survey of NHL scouts, Skille was a consensus pick between spots five and 10, and even those who didn't like him that high, rated him no lower than 10 to 15.

Statistics
GP
G
A
PTS
2004-05
54
24
31
55


10. Ryan O'Marra
image
TEAM: Erie Otters (OHL)
POSITION: Centre
HEIGHT: 6'1
WEIGHT: 182 lbs.
BORN: 06/09/87 - Mississauga, ON
NOTES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Represented Canada at the 2004 Under-18 Junior World Cup...helped lead Canada to a silver medal at the 2005 World Under-18 championship...invited to Development Camp Roster for Canada's entry at the World Junior Hockey Championship. (Photo: Getty Images)
BOB MCKENZIE'S TAKE: The Erie Otter centre who was Canada's captain at the U-18 championship in the spring is described by many scouts as a "safe" pick. No one doubts that he's going to play in the NHL because he has all the tools, especially in the area of character and leadership. But "safe" picks also have a tendency sometimes to slip a little on draft day as teams near the top end eschew safety for upside. In other words, why settle for a double when you can swing for the fences and maybe hit a home run...or strike out. What you see with O'Marra is what you get. He's solid as opposed to dynamic, but if he slips out of the top 10, and that may be a big if, he won't slip too far.

Statistics
GP
G
A
PTS
2004-05
64
25
38
63




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