DRAFT CENTRAL: 3 CENTERS OF ATTENTION

Wednesday, 06.7.2006 / 12:00 AM ET / News
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DRAFT CENTRAL: 3 CENTERS OF ATTENTION
Staal, Toews, Kessel

By Jason Lockhart

There is some serious debate as to which forward will go first in this year's NHL Entry Draft. There is a logjam of highly skilled North American centers that are likely to be selected in the top ten.

Today we'll sneak a peek at the potential top three centers in this year's NHL Entry Draft. The Islanders will likely need some assistance via a trade in order to select one of these prized prospects.


 
JORDAN STAAL
Thunder Bay, Ontario
Height: 6-4
Weight: 209
2005-2006 Team: Peterborough (OHL)
2005-2006 Stats: GP: 68, Goals: 28, Assists: 40, Points: 68, PIM: 69
 

Breakdown:
If skill runs in the family, then Jordan Staal would be a safe choice for any team in need of scoring.
 
Brother Eric became a bonafide star this season with the Carolina Hurricanes, and Marc a 2005 First Round pick should soon join the Rangers' blueline.
 
Some scouts say that Jordan is further along in his development than Eric was at 17, but Jordan shows more signs of playmaking than finishing.
 
"You can't expect him to be another Eric two seasons into the NHL," opined one GM to The Hockey News. "But he is a great prospect."
 
Jordan has the build of a power forward and uses his long reach to effectively keep the puck from defenders.
 
The only negative appears to be his ability to compete hard, but Eric had a similar problem at the same age.
 
If habits also run in the family, then this concern should not be a serious worry. 


 
PHIL KESSEL
Madison, Wisconsin
Height: 6-0
Weight: 189
2005-2006 Team: Minnesota (WCHA)/US World Junior National Team
2005-2006 Stats: Minnesota GP: 39, Goals: 18, Assists: 33, Points: 51, PIM: 14/WJC GP: 7, Goals: 1, Assists: 10, Points: 11, PIM: 2


 
The highly touted Phil Kessel was at one point considered the "Sidney Crosby" of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft head and shoulders above the rest.
 
Kessel has since lost that label, but is still considered to go early in the first round of the Draft.
 
The dip in hype was caused by his lack of scoring production at the World Juniors, where he only notched one goal in seven games. Kessel's goal scoring production also dropped at Minnesota compared to his totals on the US National Team Development Program.
 
Despite his decrease in production, Kessel put up enough points [51] to earn WCHA rookie honors.
 
"Dynamic" is often used to describe Kessel, who is being compared to Jeremy Roenick, among others.
 
With his flash and style, Kessel could very well become a major star in the NHL.
 
 
 
JONATHAN TOEWS
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Height: 6-1
Weight: 195
2005-2006 Team: North Dakota (WCHA)/Canadian World Junior National Team
2005-2006 Stats: North Dakota GP: 41, Goals: 21, Assists: 17, Points: 38, PIM: 11/WJC GP: 6, Goals: 0, Assists: 2, Points: 2, PIM: 2
 
Breakdown:
A certain breed of players comes out of the University of North Dakota hard workers.
 
Jonathan Toews certainly fits the profile of one who comes to compete every game and in every situation.
 
Toews won't just put up points, but can also be used on the penalty kill or in late-game scenarios.
 
"Toews is one of the more complete players in the draft," one scout told McKeen's Hockey Prospects. "He has elite dangle, outstanding imagination and impressive dedication at both ends of the ice."
 
A fine effort leading North Dakota to this year's NCAA Frozen Four bumped Toews up to 2nd on the International Scouting Service's listing. 
 
  
The 2006 NHL Entry Draft is scheduled for June 24th in Vancouver, BC.

MORE OF THE DRAFT CENTRAL '06

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 74 46 20 8 195 162 100
2 NYR 72 46 19 7 219 167 99
3 TBL 74 46 21 7 242 191 99
4 NYI 75 44 26 5 228 208 93
5 PIT 74 40 23 11 204 186 91
6 DET 72 39 21 12 208 195 90
7 WSH 73 39 24 10 212 180 88
8 OTT 72 37 24 11 212 190 85
9 BOS 74 36 25 13 195 193 85
10 FLA 73 33 26 14 180 201 80
11 PHI 75 30 29 16 196 216 76
12 NJD 73 31 31 11 164 186 73
13 CBJ 73 34 35 4 198 228 72
14 CAR 73 27 36 10 170 201 64
15 TOR 74 27 41 6 193 237 60
16 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 75 34 40 -1 74
R. Strome 74 15 31 19 46
K. Okposo 53 15 31 -10 46
F. Nielsen 74 13 28 9 41
B. Nelson 75 18 22 9 40
A. Lee 69 23 16 14 39
J. Bailey 63 15 23 6 38
J. Boychuk 65 8 25 10 33
T. Hamonic 65 5 25 16 30
N. Leddy 71 10 19 16 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 35 16 2 .915 2.39
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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