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May 8, 2012
Top 100 NHL Draft Prospects
11-15

by Corey Pronman

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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

11. Sebastian Collberg, Right Wing, Frolunda-SEL

Collberg got a very small amount of minutes in the SEL after being a top scorer in the Swedish U20 league as a 16-year-old. In international events, he was much better and produced a lot. Collberg is a true plus skater who is very well rounded in that aspect of the game. He's great from a standstill with good agility and first step quickness. When he gets going, his top speed is quite dangerous and he can really put defensemen on their heels. Collberg has very quick feet that allow his first few steps to take advantage of his acceleration and speed more than the average quick player. He also has a nice "gliding gear" after he makes a couple of steps and can create very quick bursts from the simplest of motions. Collberg has above-average to plus puck skills as he is a very coordinated player with the puck who shows good creativity, can control the play well on the power play from the sideboards, and overall is hard to strip the puck from. Collberg is a plus shooter with a great wrist shot that is deadly accurate and he regularly shows the ability to score from a distance. The phrase "quick release" is overused at times in scouting circles, but the puck truly does fly off his blade and is very deceptive. However, Collberg will also go to the high percentage areas to score goals and doesn't mind getting involved with the physical stuff. He is quite small though and needs a boatload of strength to be effective doing that at the pro level. Collberg has decent hockey sense, although his sense is more an instinctual, shooter type of sense as opposed to having good vision but he will make the rights plays and does show above-average vision here and there.

Ranking Explanation: Like when I compared Teravainen and Dumba, I should preface this with saying that I think Jacob Trouba is slightly more talented than Collberg…as well as Radek Faksa and Pontus Aberg. I could also potentially say that about Cody Ceci, but with less confidence. As I mentioned in the Murray vs. Aberg explanation, I saw everyone after Murray being a talent fall-off and their upsides being more below-average first line/pairing to above-average second type of prospects. Trouba is the most talented player in this class after Ryan Murray and I'd feel very comfortable saying he projects in the former end of that range. He's also a defenseman. As I said in greater detail when ranking Teraavainen over Dumba, if the difference between the defenseman and the forward is slight—which it is for Trouba against Aberg, Faksa, and Collberg, then the development risk of that position in my opinion gives you notably less value.

12. Jacob Trouba, Defense, USA Under-18 National Team-USHL

Trouba is a very well-rounded defenseman who has developed nicely in his draft year and has a chance to be one of the better if not the best defenseman the NTDP has developed in the last few years before Seth Jones gets picked in 2013. His best tool is his skating which is plus. While his straightaway top is only above average, it's his four-way mobility that really impresses. Trouba has great acceleration and gets up to his top gear in an instant. He's also able to skate backwards as seamlessly and quickly as he can forward and rarely does a forward get behind him. Aside from his skating no part of his skill set truly stands out aside from maybe his physical game, but what makes Trouba valuable is he is above-average across the board. He has solid puck skills and while he isn't a flashy puck handler he can certainly hold his own in that regard. Though he won't be a premium power play defenseman, he will be able to perform at a good level there in terms of his puck-moving and he has good technique on his passes with fine vision. Trouba is a standout in the defensive end of the rink with great energy and work ethic on top an impressive physical game. Trouba relishes in laying opposing forwards out and is pretty strong for his age. He reads his assignments well, uses his great mobility to close gaps quickly, and consistently shows the ability to shut down good players. The sole nitpick with Trouba is that his decision-making is sometimes off in terms of over-aggressive pinches or taking a little too long to decide what to do with the puck, but even that really isn't an issue.

Ranking Explanation: After Ryan Murray I see Jacob Trouba as the ninth-most talented player in the draft, but I also see Cody Ceci being just marginally off where Trouba is. When it came to evaluating their raw possession skills, I see Ceci's as being slightly better than Trouba's. Ceci is a high-end thinker who stops chances and can really move the puck while Trouba is solid but not great offensively with the puck but also is effective in his own end. However, Trouba is a better skater and he has a better physical game. Considering the small gap between their combination of puck skills, puck-moving skills, and overall hockey sense, those two edges are what put Trouba over the top to me.

13. Cody Ceci, Defense, Ottawa-OHL

Ceci is a very sound all-around defenseman who doesn't have a standout skill other than his hockey sense, but he does everything else at a fine level which in the big picture makes for a very good defenseman. Ceci is an above-average skater who skates very well for a bigger player. He's fluid, but not extremely fast but he really gets around in all directions well, activates efficiently off the point, and looks technically sound in his movements. Ceci is a plus thinker who sees the ice very well, can make good split second decisions, and is able to quarter back the power play. He also has a pretty good shot that he leans into as a trigger man on the power play. Ceci is an advanced defensive player who uses his stick well to break up plays, reads his assignments fine, and has become a physical threat this year. He's filled out his body well and shows fine strength boxing forwards out of the crease or with his board battles. Ceci's puck skills are about average, but he creates offense the way a lot of coaches like as he generates a quick transition game and is a very good passer. Ceci is also a pretty well-conditioned player who logged ridiculous minutes this past season, typically at times playing 30 minutes a game.

Ranking Explanation: This choice was a very hard call to make. I could completely see Zemgus Girgensons being as talented as Cody Ceci. In which given the way I have approached forwards vs. defense, the call should be easy and put Zemgus over Cody. My dilemma was based on what I've seen and heard about Girgensons even though I project him as having fringe first-line skill. He shows great puck skills, has good hockey sense, skates well, and has a good physical game. My issue is the instances where he doesn't show those skills. I'm not talking about taking games off—there will be games where he's going at 100% and he doesn't show great offensive skill. Whether from my own observations or especially from scouts I've talked to, there seems to be a divide over whether he's a top-10 talent or bottom half of the first round talent. It is quite unusual and given that information, I approach my projection of Girgensons with caution and risk attached to it. Given the fact I think even my projection which potentially could be optimistic makes him a tie with Cody Ceci, in this unique case, I decide to go with the defenseman.

14. Zemgus Girgensons, Center, Dubuque-USHL

Girgensons had a quality second USHL season and has a good chance to be the highest draft selection to ever come from Latvia. Girgensons is a great do-it-all player who can create offense from his natural skill and still be a fan favorite because of his intangibles. Girgensons is an above-average skater with a technically sound stride and is pretty agile in tight spaces. His top speed isn't overly dangerous but still good meaning he will be able to skate with pros. Girgensons is a dangerous puck handler who I'd say is above-average to plus in that area as he can certainly make players miss and at times he can be a pretty flashy player. At other times, though, Girgensons can be a straight-ahead gritty type of power forward who drives the net, gets in people's faces after the whistle, and will lay out big hit after big hit. He also shows a diligent work ethic at both ends, and is very responsible and smart defensively for his age, which has garnered trust from his coach to play him in a lot of tough defensive minutes. Girgensons is pretty aware with the puck with a pass-first mentality. While I haven't seen high-end playmaking from him, he can certainly move the puck around and has pretty good vision.

Ranking Explanation: The argument here is different than for Ceci vs. Girgensons because I am not sold on Reinhart being along the same talent lines. He's a very good prospect obviously, but with Ceci, I could envision fringe first-pairing potential while I don't see enough high-end skills in Reinhart to make him that. I love his physical attributes, and he has good possession skills, but not high-end enough in my opinion to make him a top-tier prospect. Despite my concerns with Girgensons, as noted previously, there is enough of a fall-off here to still give him the edge talent-wise, and when you consider their positions, it made for a relatively easy call.

15. Griffin Reinhart, Defense, Edmonton-WHL

Reinhart is a very toolsy big defenseman who has progressed nicely over the last year and even since the start of the season. He looks like a legit offensive defenseman who is well above average skill-wise considering his 6'4" frame. He's a smart player who is able to be effective in all situations and has learnt how to make the most of his tools, rather than your usual big defenseman who at 17-18 typically are much more raw. Reinhart is above average with the puck, showing good poise, and is quite calm under pressure. What separates him from other big defensemen is that he has the puck skills to make people miss, execute all the little plays in tight quarters, and to deliver crisp, accurate passes consistently. Reinhart also has a more aggressive offensive element to his game as he will join the rush and doesn't shy from being creative in the offensive end of the rink. He also has a pretty big shot from the point that he can put a lot of his big frame into. The thing that has seen Reinhart establish himself so well in the industry has been his improvements. He used to be a fringe skater but he really moves around better and his first few steps don't look as heavy. He also used to be a little shy with his physical work and got the label of a timid big man. While he isn't a crash and bang killer on the back end, he uses his body just fine now and I don't have any reservations from projection a high-end physical game from him at the highest level.

Ranking Explanation: This decision was a hard one as Reinhart and Lindholm are very close. Reinhart has better puck skills, better defensive hockey sense, and a better physical game. They are both equal puck movers and Lindholm is a much, much better skater. Reinhart has slightly better raw puck possession skills and a slightly better physical game, but the edge was closed considerably by the huge gap in skating ability. In a very close call, I went with the player who has better possession skills as I have more confidence in that translating at the next level in a position that already has development risk.

Corey Pronman is an author of Hockey Prospectus. You can contact Corey by clicking here or click here to see Corey's other articles.

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<< Previous Article
Conn Smythe Watch (05/06)
<< Previous Column
Top 100 NHL Draft Pros... (05/05)
Next Column >>
Top 100 NHL Draft Pros... (05/16)
Next Article >>
Driving To The Net (05/10)

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