With the 2013-14 NHL regular season down to its final week, it’s almost time for teams that won’t participate in the Stanley Cup playoffs to turn their attention to June’s draft in Philadelphia.
This year’s draft class lacks the depth and elite-level skill that the 2013 group had, but there’s still a number of extraordinarily skilled prospects for the teams with top 10 picks to select.
The international prospects might end up being the best NHLers from this class. William Nylander and Kasperi Kapanen — the top-ranked European forwards — are sons of former NHL veterans Michael and Sami, respectively.
This class also has impressive goaltending depth, with Boston College freshman Thatcher Demko leading the rankings. He’s a first-round quality prospect.
Here’s a look at the top skaters and goalies in NHL Central Scouting’s final pre-draft rankings released Tuesday.
North American Skaters
1) Samuel Bennett, Kingston (OHL), Center
2) Aaron Ekblad, Barrie (OHL), Defenseman
3) Sam Reinhart Kootenay (WHL), Center
4) Leon Draisaitl, Prince Albert (WHL), Center
5) Michael Dal Colle, Oshawa (OHL), Left Wing
North American Goaltenders
1) Thatcher Demko, Boston College (NCAA)
2) Mason McDonald, Charlottetown (QMJHL)
3) Brent Moran, Niagara (OHL)
4) Alex Nedeljkovic, Plymouth (OHL)
5) Kevin Reich, Dubuque (USHL)
1) Kasperi Kapanen, Kapland (Finland), Right Wing
2) William Nylander, Modo (Sweden), LW/C
3) Kevin Fiala, HV 71 (Sweden), Left Wing
4) Jakub Vrana, Linkoping (Sweden), LW/RW
5) David Pastrnak, Sodertalje (Sweden-2), Right Wing
1) Ville Husso, HIFK (Finland)
2) Jonas Johansson, Brynas-JR (Sweden-JR)
3) Linus Soderstrom, Djurgarden Jr (Sweden-JR)
4) Kaapo Kahkonen, Blues Jr (Finland-JR)
5) Ilya Sorokin, Novokuznetsk (Russia)