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NHL Draft: ISS Scouts Break Down the Centers

Provided by:
Dennis MacInnis
Director of Scouting

ISS will be providing analysis of the top prospects for RotoWire leading up to the NHL Entry Draft in Los Angeles on June 25-26. This week we will cover the centers (see below), and next week we'll take a look at right wings followed by left wings, and then we’ll finish up with the defensemen. ISS Scouts will also provide a mock draft a week before the NHL Entry Draft.

(The scouting experts at ISS provide an exhaustive profile on the top-60 draft prospects, detailed thumbnails on next the 90 prospects and need-to-know information on another 50 draft eligible players for a total of 200 prospects. The information in the ISS draft guide comes directly from the source, the team of scouts who watch hundreds of games each season to provide this thorough package. Diehard hockey fans will want a copy of the ISS draft guide to find out the type of players their team picked in the June 25-26 draft.)

ISS produces a full-service, 96-page draft guide that can be purchased by fans and media on-line at:

All orders will be filled same day.

Top 5 Centers

ISS # 2 Seguin, Tyler -- A dynamic puck-handler, Seguin has excellent vision, and understands the game very well. Tyler is a very intelligent player with excellent skills - very quick and elusive with the puck. Sequin has good size and a solid frame to build on. Excellent shape, this kid is ripped! He’s a pro level competitor with red-hot skill. Will make fans sizzle with excitement. He won the Red Tilson Trophy as the Ontario Hockey League’s outstanding player for the 2009-10 season, beating out Windsor Spitfires' Taylor Hall. He starred for Canada at the 2009 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in the Czech Republic, leading the event and Canada to gold with four goals and six assists in four games. Seguin also won a gold medal with Team Ontario at the World Under-17 Challenge.

Style compares to: Steve Yzerman

ISS # 8 Johansen, Ryan -- A seventh-round pick in the WHL bantam draft, you will have a hard time finding a player who has steadily improved over the past two years as much as Johansen. He was only 5’9” and 150 lbs. during his Bantam draft year, but a year playing Junior ‘A’ in the British Columbia Hockey League for the Penticton Vees as well as a growth spurt helped Johansen make an impact as a WHL rookie – he now measures 6’02” and 192 lbs. Has been quietly moving up ISS rankings all season and took his game to another level in the playoffs. He has the size and skill to go along with great playmaking abilities. Oozes pro potential.

Style compares to: Eric Staal

ISS # 9 Skinner, Jeffrey -- This is the guy who just keeps outworking everyone else to make himself into the type of player no one ever thought he could be. His compete level is off the charts. As we've noted elsewhere, nobody helped themselves more in the last few weeks of the season. He was magnificent in the postseason leading the Rangers on their improbable run to the conference finals with timely goals and sharp offensive instincts. Skinner is good on the cycle, great around the net and top-notch puck protection.

Lacks speed however his agility, edges and balance are among the best in the draft.

Style compares to: Mark Recchi

ISS # 14 Burmistrov, Alexander -- His speed and agility in open ice make him an immediate danger whenever he touches the puck. Burmistrov is very skilled with the puck and able to make plays while at top speed, and does not panic when under pressure. Burmsitrov is a speedy offensive threat that really takes advantage of the space his teammates can make for him. He has tremendous offensive instincts and is tenacious in offensive situations. He makes plays that some players just don’t make at this level.

Style compares to: Denis Savard

ISS # 15 Granlund, Mikael – An unbelievably talented and exciting offensive player, Granlund is a superstar in Finland and attracts attention everywhere he goes. The knocks ISS scouts have are his size/skating combination. He's smallish at a generous 5-10/180 and lacks the explosive burst you'd like to see in a guy that size. But he gets where he needs to be and makes up for his shortcomings with unlimited energy and work ethic, hustle, smarts and a really good feel at the offensive end. He's a guy we'll be rooting for come draft day this June. His ultra-high skill level and playmaking prowess simply can't be ignored.

Style compares to: Saku Koivu

Top 2 Sleepers

ISS # 68 -- Knight, Jared

Selected by ISS staff as the most underrated player in 2010 NHL Draft. Wasn’t even invited to NHL Combine. We think a lot of people underestimate his combination of drive, determination, character, and scoring ability. Great fitness level and has really worked hard to improve his offensive skill set. Teams picking in the back end of the third round were hoping to steal this guy, but he keeps moving up. Knight is a highly skilled forward who has shown a consistent willingness to play in both ends of the ice. He plays the game a lot bigger than his actual size, competing at a high level game in and game out. He is an excellent skater that possesses speed and quickness. He has that elusive extra gear.

Style compares to: Stephan Weiss

ISS # 44 -- Jarnkrok, Calle

Ranked conservative here at ISS don’t be surprised to see this slick Swede drafted late 1st round. Already playing in Sweden’s top men’s league, Jarnkrok has managed to put up respectable point totals and is highly regarded in Sweden. Two-way pivot is smart and competitive; very quick hands and excellent set-up skills. The Brynas system has developed a great crop of young prospects for this year’s NHL draft. A very under the radar and easy to overlook player, could surprise by putting up good numbers.

Style compares to: David Krejci

Top Wildcard

ISS # 39 -- McFarland, John

While we question the complete level and character issues, there's no denying the abundant physical gifts and combination of size, skill and wheels however much more was expected from this former 1st overall draft pick of the Wolves. His inconsistent offensive outbursts seemed to only occur against the weaker opponents and this certainly inflates the questions surrounding his pro potential. Once touted as perhaps the best Canadian prospect, he has really struggled to maintain the expectations. A sniper. Already has a Pro shot and isn’t afraid to use it anytime. Has the ability to play pro but must hone his team skills.

Style compares to: Sergei Berezin

“Pro Hockey Weekly" Fantasy Draft Prospect of the Week

Mikhail Grigorenko – Russia – 1994 birthdate

ISS top-ranked player for 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Grigorenko has been tabbed as the best Russian for his age group, is already compared to Evgeni Malkin, and has already played 13 games in KHL for Ufa. Big strong power forward type with tremendous puck skills and quick accurate shot. He is one of the most offensively gifted players in his age group, has great strength, balance, and his skill level and maturity are exceptional. Gifted with brilliant on-ice vision and exceptional puck control and passing ability. Finds seams in the offensive end. Has a nose for the net. Potential star.

# Name Pos Hgt. Wgt. Team League
1 Hall, Taylor * LW 6.00.5 185 Windsor OHL
2 Seguin, Tyler * C 6.01 172 Plymouth OHL
3 Gormley, Brandon * D 6.02 185 Moncton QMJHL
4 Tarasenko, Vladimir * RW 5.11 202 Novosibirsk KHL
5 Fowler, Cam * D 6.01.25 190 Windsor OHL
6 Niederreiter, Nino * LW 6.01.5 201 Portland WHL
7 Gudbranson, Erik * D 6.03.75 195 Kingston OHL
8 Johansen, Ryan * C 6.02 192 Portland WHL
9 Skinner, Jeffrey * C 5.10 187 Kitchener OHL
10 Forbort, Derek * D 6.04.5 198 Under 18 USHL
11 Merrill, Jonathan * D 6.03.25 198 Under 18 USHL
12 Watson, Austin * RW 6.03.25 185 Peterborough OHL
13 Connolly, Brett * LW 6.02 181 Prince George WHL
14 Burmistrov, Alexander * C 5.11.25 157 Barrie OHL
15 Granlund, Mikael * C 5.10 180 HIFK Helsinki FinE

ISS produces a full-service, 96-page draft guide that can be purchased by fans and media on-line at:

All orders will be filled same day.