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May 30, 2012
Top 100 NHL Draft Prospects
61-70

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

61. Scott Kosmachuk, Right Wing, Guelph-OHL

Kosmachuk is not the kind of prospect you would dream on, but he has some desirable skill attributes combined with a good base of intangibles and physical play. He's an above-average skater who can really push defensemen back off the rush with his speed, and also has a powerful first step and overall fine technique on his standstill movements. Kosmachuk moves his feet pretty quickly, which is more a testament to his motor than any particular thing with his mechanics. He has solid hands—I've heard scouts say they're above-average, but I'm leaning more towards solid-average on that front. He can certainly handle the puck in motion and has nice in-tight coordination but I'm not sure I envision him as an offensive creator. The same would go for Kosmachuk's vision as I'm not really sold on his making plays around him but rather I see him being the type of player who brings the puck up with speed, makes an odd move or so, and gets it to the net. He certainly likes to live around the physical areas and physical game, showing good effort and tenaciousness on the forecheck and he regularly gets involved in the rough stuff after the whistle. His defensive zone coverage needs a little work, but it's improving and is not a real notable issue.

62. Chandler Stephenson, Left Wing, Regina-WHL

The skilled winger had a fine second WHL season, showing more consistency from the offensive skills that have been praised in scouting circles since he entered the Dub. He also showed the ability to play center and left wing effectively. Stephenson is a pretty well-rounded offensive player as he's a solid to above-average skater with good mechanics, with a strong push off and good balance with the puck despite a sub-6'0" frame. He shows a lot of puck skills and certainly has some flash to his game that could touch top tier and draw attention to his upside. This year, Stephenson did adjust to the faster WHL pace better and showed more playmaking ability, as he is a pretty creative player who has the offensive mind to make plays by himself one-on-one and has the ingenuity to see things developing and move the puck around. Stephenson's physical game is not great, though, as while there have been mild improvements in that area, he still doesn't bang bodies as much as you'd like for a smaller player and he's not that effective defensively. While he does need more strength like all young players, his frame should be okay when he fills out, as he seems to have a decent amount of muscle on him considering his age and size.

63. Andrei Vasilevski, Goaltender, UFA-MHL

Whenever I get high on a goalie prospect, there's a little birdie that plants itself right next to my eardrum and hollers, "HE'S A GOALIE!!!" to temper my expectations. However, even with my usual reservations in mind, it's hard to be too pessimistic about Vasilevki; he has to be one of the finest goaltending prospects I've seen in quite a few years. He's built in the mold of a prototypical top modern goalie between his size, athleticism, technique, and hockey sense. Vasilevski's size is obvious, but he's also pretty knowledgeable at how to cut down his angles, and shows good aggression in terms of challenging shooters. He has great legs, moves very seamlessly in the net for a big man with well above-average quickness and he displays impressive post-to-post movements. Vasilevski has great athleticism and reflexes as well in his upper limbs, but his athletic traits aren't what is truly impressive about him—rather, it his advanced technique and the way he reads the play for his age. Vasilevki squares up pucks, reads lateral passes well, play his angles effectively, and displays such impressive alertness and awareness for a goalie his age. He's the total package in net.

Ranking Explanation: Despite my praise for Vasilevski, the reason I rank him this low is due to my general pessimism to approaching goalie prospects. There are several links and an explanation outlining this stance further in the Introduction.

64. Seth Griffith, Left Wing, London-OHL

After going undrafted last season, Seth Griffith has gone on this year to be one of the OHL's top scorers. The very skilled little guy is a pretty notable possession weapon who can make a ton of plays and has impressive playmaking instincts. Griffith is a fixture on the point of London's power play, which frustrates fans of that team at times because he's a very pass-first type of player, although as stated previously, he is very good at it. He is the kind of player who has the poise to slow down games and see plays developing while also having the skill and creativity to make plays with the puck individually. Griffith is an elusive skater with good acceleration, although for a smaller forward, he lacks the high-end gear that would really give him a truly legitimate prospect stock. His frame is his major issue as he's a short player with a real lack of muscle mass and despite his best on-ice effort at both ends, he has a real issue overcoming it. Still, this versatile, skilled forward could get a selection this year if teams think there has been enough improvement to his offensive game to get him out of the "not skilled enough for top six" criteria teams need to take players like Griffith.

65. Zakhar Arzamastsev, Defense, Metallurg-KHL

Zakhar Arzamastsev has had another decent year in the KHL, where he has gotten significant amount of minutes for a U-20 defenseman in the KHL for the last three years. He's a decent skater, who a year ago I would have called below average, but he's improved in that area, showing more agility and speed, with the ability to skate the puck up the ice. His puck skills are okay, as he's not a dangerous puck handler but more of a passer as he moves the puck around at an above-average level. His shot is decent too and he gets it through legs well. His physical game is below average as while Armzastsev has a fine frame and can win a decent amount of battles, he's not an overly physical player. He also doesn't really close his gaps with his body much, instead relying on stick checks, although he is quite good at it. Zakhar leans on his hockey sense to drive his value, as it is currently an above-average tool but arguably beyond that. He defends well, as he covers his assignments effectively, keeps the play in front of him, and very rarely makes a mistake. He's not a flashy player, but just a smart, effective defenseman with a decent skill set who has enough to his game to have a chance to play a bottom half on an NHL defensive unit.

66. Erik Thorell, Center, Farjestad-SEL

I admit I had never considered Thorell an NHL prospect in his two prior draft years, but after seeing him at the Lake Placid evaluation camp in the summer and the IIHF Under-20's it was clear to me Thorell needs to be on the radar. Thorell is a good skater with nice agility and edge work and his top speed is solid. He's not a blazer, but he's light on his feet from a standstill and overall moves pretty fluidly. Thorell's playmaking is his best asset, as he's a smart, creative passer who regularly makes impressive feeds, even at times flashing plus ability in that regard. He has fine puck skills as well but his hockey sense is his main puck possession tool. Thorell comes in at about 5'10" and projects to be a replacement-level physical player, but he still works pretty hard, has a little tenacity in his board battles, and overall shows a fine three-zone work ethic. I have seen him be used on the penalty kill as well, where he was moderately effective.

67. Jake McCabe, Defense, University of Wisconsin-WCHA

McCabe had a fine freshman year for the Badgers, and showed more significant improvement to his offensive upside than what he displayed during his time with the US National Program. I was quite surprised during the first few games of the college season to see McCabe lining up on Wisconsin's first power play unit along with super prospect Justin Schultz, seeing as McCabe got limited if any PP time on the US Under-18 team in the second half of last season. He doesn't have a standout skill but he's a smart player with above-average overall sense in terms of his reads and vision who can make a fine outlet and can also see the stretch play. McCabe has a decent shot, playing his off-wing on the PP and was able to open up and use a fine one-timer. He's a reliable defensive player who regularly sticks tight to his assignments, is pretty strong and effective in his one-on-one battles, and doesn't hurt his team with brain cramp mistakes. McCabe is a little undersized for the position, but he should projects to be okay in the physical game at the highest level. His skating also needs a little bit of work; while he's not a fringe skater, he doesn't generate a whole lot of power from his movements and certainly isn't average.

68. Andreas Athanasiou, Left Wing, London-OHL

Athanasiou looked brilliant at the summer Ivan Hlinka tournament, showing high-end offensive tools, getting some thinking he had legit top-15 potential if not top 10. However, that's why you keep tabs on players for lengthy durations, as it was clear throughout his OHL play that Andreas has the potential to be that player but is a long ways off. Athansiou is a plus skater, with a great one-two step burst and the ability to turn any play off the rush into a breakaway if the defender loses his gap. He also is a tremendous puck-handler who can really dangle and make opponents look silly. He uses a stick that's a little long for his size but still manages to show tremendous coordination in tight, and he's good at getting his stick on loose pucks. Alas, though, while all these things are great qualities, there's a ton Athanasiou needs to work on. First of all, his hockey sense is bad, replacement level at best. However, he shows flashes of good playmaking skills, and flashes of okay defensive ability, but the majority of the time, he doesn't really do a whole lot distribution-wise and plays a mostly one-way game. He's also a slight guy who has moments where he drives the net and engages, but most of the time, he looks like a perimeter player who doesn't go to the high percentage areas.

69. Patrick Sieloff, Defense, USA Under-18 National Team-USHL

Sieloff is the prototypical type of player who tends to get undervalued; those that are into analytics will like him a little more. He doesn't put up points, and he's a little small for a defenseman, but he will be able to line up against good players, start a lot in his own end at even strength and put up fine possession numbers in context. Sieloff is an average skater with a nice first step who has decent mobility but doesn't stand out in a good or bad way in that area. His puck skills are below average, and while I wouldn't say they're replacement level, when you combine the fact Sieloff doesn't show much offensive creativity or instincts, you can see why he isn't exactly a power play guy. He isn't limited with the puck, though, as he can make a fine outlet pass and tends to make good overall decisions. Sieloff makes his mark on the defensive end of the rink. He's only listed at 6'0", but try telling that to his opponents; he destroys people in the physical game on a regular basis with nightly highlight-reel type of hits. Sieloff isn't just an overaggressive player who throws his body around, as he is a smart defensive player, too. He makes so many good little plays every shift with his stick work, positioning, gap control, and quick game-processing.

70. Dane Fox, Center, Erie-OHL

Fox had a decent OHL season for a late birthdate draft prospect, as he produced for both teams he lined up for. Offense likely won't be Fox's output to a notable degree in the pro game, though, as looks more like a defensive forward with great agitating qualities and good on-ice intangibles. He's a fine skater who will be able to keep up with the average pro and has a real good engine that churns his legs as he'll cover a lot of ice on any given shift. While his projection seems more like a third line type of player, Fox will show flashes of offensive skill, be it with slightly above-average hands or distribution skill, and I could see if his development goes well him spotting on scoring lines here and there. The rare hustle and heart type of player who his coach has used on the point for the power play and of course he gets PK minutes as well in which he shows his defensive effectiveness. Fox can get a little over the top at times with his agitating, but overall has managed to keep his penalty minutes in check.

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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