For a description of the methodology in these rankings, please see the Introduction. We'll be revealing more of the Top 100 every few days leading up to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
Full list of Top 100 NHL Draft Prospects
81. Raphael Bussieres, Left Wing, Baie-Comeau-QMJHL
I've been thoroughly impressed by Bussieres' well-rounded skill set and his developing all-around game although game-to-game consistency has been a notable problem for him. He's a pretty good skater with impressive straight-line speed, gets up to his top gear quickly, is agile on his feet, and has fine footwork. He is a skilled player who has some flash with the puck, does a good job controlling it even while being checked, and can show good control and evasion techniques from the side boards. Bussieres also flashed a nice distribution game, and while it's not his best offensive tool, it's at least a tick above average as he shows nice poise and vision and does all the little things well with the puck with an occasional impressive dish. His physical game I get split opinions on, but I've gotten more that are positive, and my viewings I would confirm that. Bussieres' frame is pretty bulky, he fends off checkers well, and he has average effort in the corners, so I wouldn't classify that as an issue. However, other scouts I've talked to call him a perimeter player and say he needs more grit. The main criticism I hear from several NHL scouts, as mentioned at the top of the profile, is that Bussieres is inconsistent with his game-to-game work ethic. When he's on, he's a legit top-60 pick, but he's not always on. His defensive game is okay, too. I'm not sure if it's average yet, but it's reaching there and has shown notable improvement.
82. Vince Hinostroza, Center, Waterloo-USHL
Hinostroza isn't the flashiest name in the prospect world, nor did he put up very impressive scoring numbersespecially considering his diminutive sizebut he's the kind of player who just seems to impress in every game. Hinostroza has a good all-around skill set to combine with a top-end intangibles package. He's a good skater who regularly shows solid speed, at times flashing above-average in that area, and has a good gliding speed off his push-offs. Hinostroza manages to pick up more ice than his good skating talent would suggest because of his tireless work ethic, though, as he has a very desirable on-ice motor. He has solid puck skills and is able to make some moves to keep the puck, on top of showing good fight in the corners and in the cycle game to maintain possession. Hinostroza's vision is his best offensive asset as he's a creative passer who sees his options well and is able to create offense through his teammates as well as he does individually. Hinostroza will at times flash high-end skill or hockey sense, but I'm not convinced he'll be able to be that kind of player in the pro game.
83. Jeremy Boyce-Rotevall, Left Wing, Timra-SEL
Boyce-Rotevall not getting drafted last year was very surprising. He's an above-average skater who accelerates well and moves his legs very quickly. Jeremy's puck skills are decentI haven't seen him show any stick-handling prowess, but he's a fine passer and I have at times seen him flash above-average distribution skills. His shot mechanics are solid, he gets the puck into shooting position very quickly, and I've seen above-average finishing ability from him. His physical game at the moment is fringe, but it projects as average when he's done growing. His body still needs a fair amount of work as he's physically immature and it shows during board battles. His work ethic towards the physical game is good, though, as he is the kind of player who consistently goes to the front of the net, works hard in the cycle game, and shows a little edge here and there. His work ethic translates to his defensive game, where he really hustles on the backcheck. Boyce-Rotevall doesn't really stand out in any fashion of the game, but has enough tools that can or do reach pro-average that he could be a decent prospect.
84. Nick Ebert, Defense, Windsor-OHL
Ebert was one the main disappointments of the 2012 draft season after coming in with years of anticipation and high expectations. People in the industry have been hearing praise about Ebert since he was 14-15 and after his big rookie year last season he was expected to be a lock for the top 10. First the good about him: Ebert is a high-end skater who has a very strong stride and can get to a pretty dangerous top speed with one or two push-offs. He's also agile and smooth with his edge work showing good mobility in all directions. He has a big shot from the point that can flash high-end in that department as well. Ebert is more of a puck-rusher than a puck-mover as well. He has a decent frame and on occasion will land crushing blows. Now for the bad: much has been made of the "With or without you", taking only Ebert with Ryan Ellis out of the equation. Ebert was looked to early on as the go-to man on the back-end and that just didn't work. Ebert's decision-making is replacement level as he simply makes too many bad reads. He's a turnover machine with the puck who goes out of position at times to hit on defense and really hurts his team too much. Ebert got better as the year went on, but he had way too many bad games throughout the course of the OHL season. He has upside and is worth a mid-round pick, but he looks like a long-term project currently.
85. Brady Vail, Center, Windsor-OHL
Vail is a very safe prospect going into this draft, as he has average to slightly above-average upside, but tremendous intangibles on top of having the versatility to play all the forward positions and all situations. Vail is a hustle-and-heart type of prospect whose legs are consistently moving throughout his shifts and he shows equal effort at both ends of the rink. Vail's frame isn't a tad small, but he's very aggressive and throws his weight around regularly. He's one of those pesky forecheckers and penalty killers that really annoy the opposing team, which makes him a fan favorite. Vail has average offensive skill and can make plays with the puck here and there but he doesn't show impressive puck possession ability in any aspect. He's a smart player who doesn't turn the puck over and has fine two-way instincts. In the pro game, he'll be a north-south type of player who won't just chuck pucks in but rather will make a one-touch pass or a little move to protect the puck before cycling it. He's a below-average skater, as he has decent strength in his push-offs but his stride and technique look off as he doesn't extend properly and has trouble generating smooth, efficient movements.
86. Coda Gordon, Left Wing, Swift Current-WHL
Coda Gordon had a pretty impressive season considering he was a lesser name prospect going into the season, scoring a lot without much help as an August birthdate. He is a prospect I got conflicting reports on from scouts, as some like his size and offensive touch combination, while others say there isn't anything very noteworthy about his game projection-wise. The two areas where there was consensus, though, are his physical game and his shot. Gordon has an accurate shot that shows plus velocity and has the ability to finish from way out. He also is an aggressive physical player who muscles his way to the net, and shows fine grit along the boards. Gordon's height is average, but considering a birthdate on the second half of the calendar, his frame is very filled out. He doesn't make a ton of plays, but he's certainly a smart player who makes all the right, simple distributions and will flash something beyond. He has decent hands, not a tick above, but he isn't a liability with the puck and will show fine coordination. Gordon's skating is his biggest issue, as he's a fringe mover and it's a clearly evident weakness.
87. Matt Grzelcyk, Defense, USA Under-18 National Team-USHL
Grzelcyk is a very skilled defender who has a lot to like about him despite his diminutive 5'9" frame. He's a plus skater whose speed has really progressed over the last year or so and is a dangerous puck rusher going in a straight line. However, his first few steps are also very good, he's quite agile, and his four-way mobility is plus, which allows him to contain his checks well. He's has above-average to plus puck skills and he can create on an individual basis very well. Grzelcyka name I've typoed more than onceis also a smooth passer with great technique and crispness on his passes who consistently shows the ability to be a good distributor. All these traits put together make for a desirable offensive defenseman. He is fine defensively with a good stick and gap control and will bump opponents, but his size is an obvious issue and all indications are that he will need to be protected by his coach if he makes it to the pro level.
88. Dominik Volek, Right Wing, Regina-WHL
Volek was pretty touted as a transfer prospect coming into this year after a fair amount of success in international play last year. He's an above-average skater who is very light on his feet, showing great first step quickness and his top gear is pretty good as well. Volek is a skilled player with the puck who shows great shiftiness when you combine his quick hands and feet and he can be a real pest to check in open ice. He's a creative forward who makes things happen with the puck on an individual basis, and will show above-average vision with the puck. My sense from talking to scouts about Volek is that he does have good hockey sense, but really struggled with the transition to the WHL pace. He's able to see plays and has the vision to set up his teammates, but the fast, physical nature of the league was a tough jump for him from Europe. His stat line is a little underwhelming, making him a good risk/reward pick who has scoring upside but has yet to really show it at the junior level. Volek is an average-sized player with a very underwhelming frame and despite decent on-ice work ethic, he is easily overwhelmed in physical battles.
89. Joey Laleggia, Defense, University of Denver-WCHA
Laleggia enters his third draft-eligible season after a very successful first WCHA season where he was named the conference's Rookie of the Year. He's a good skater with a great offensive mind who would be a nice shot in the dark pick in the mid-rounds due to his notable offensive upside. He flashes high-end hockey sense with his quick game processing and he's really effective moving the puck out of his own end and controlling the blue line on the power play. Laleggia has solid puck skills as well, at times showing above average, but he is a much better passer than he is an individual creator. He skates well, moving fluidly in all four directions. His main weakness is his physical game, which is below replacement level. I've seen him listed at 5'10", which is generous in my opinion as he looks pretty small on the ice, and he is not effective at all when he's engaging. Despite his hockey smarts, I don't see him as being effective defensively to any notable degree at the pro level.
90. Alex Basso, Defense, Sarnia-OHL
Basso is entering his second draft-eligible season after an underwhelming first draft season. He came into the OHL with offensive promise, and after being dealt to Sarnia, he has really shone through this season. Basso is a gifted offensive defenseman who can skate well and who has very desirable puck possession skills. Basso is a pretty creative puckhandler who has a lot of flash to his game. He will get a little risky with moves at the offensive blue line or letting checkers get too close to him on the forecheck, but he has the offensive ability to make people miss even in those tight spaces. Basso has above-average offensive instincts, as he will find outlets down the ice well, and combined with his puck skills, he knows how to make moves under pressure to open up passing lanes. He will get a little too cute here and there with his distributions, but overall, Basso displays impressive vision. Basso skates well and can close gaps effectively, but the defensive side of his game does need some work, especially considering his physical game won't be anything better than replacement level.
Corey Pronman is an author of Hockey Prospectus.
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