Despite battling injuries for much of the season, Brandon Wheat Kings center Nolan Patrick remains in the top slot on NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Rankings.
Patrick missed 35 games with an upper-body injury, but has 13 points in eight games this season. He also missed Team Canada’s World Junior camp. While Patrick remains the clear top choice, he’s not considered a generational talent like Connor McDavid; Patrick is more in the range of a player like Eric Staal, who was the second-overall pick in 2003.
The list behind Patrick have been much more fluid than the top spot among North American Skaters. Here’s the top-five skaters:
I’ve previously written about Hischier’s ascent up the list after a great World Juniors. Hischier has 31 goals and 63 points in 37 games with the Halifax Mooseheads, where he is on loan from Switzerland. That gives the team that drafts him the option to play him in the AHL while not burning a year of his entry-level contract.
Vilardi is a prototypical big right-handed center with the Windsor Spitfires. He has 34 points in 26 games this season. Tippet is a big, fast, and skilled sniper, perhaps the best pure scorer in the draft. He has 34 goals and 57 points in 41 games with the Mississauga Steelheads this season. Mittlestadt is considered a big-game offensive player. While he’s a little more of an unknown, as he plays high school hockey, he’s committed to the University of Minnesota for next season.
Meanwhile, former top International skater Timothy Liljegren fell to seventh on NHL CSS’ list after missing time with mono. Liljegren is two-way right-handed defenseman, though its difficult to project a defenseman’s offensive ability based on SHL numbers with that league’s seeming unwillingness to hand out second assists.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie noted that the North American bureau did not devalue Patrick while he was out with a long-term injury, while the overseas bureau did drop Liljegren. Here’s the top-five International Skaters; all men are forwards:
Kostin is “big, strong, mobile, and has a good understanding of the game,” according to NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb. Kostin has bounced around between different clubs this past fall, but is still highly rated based on his “dynamic” skill. Over in Sweden, Pettersson is the leading scorer of his Swedish-2 team with 27 points in 27 games.