Leon Draisaitl of the Prince Albert Raiders is the top-ranked skater from the Western Hockey League in NHL Central Scouting’s Mid-Term rankings of North American skaters eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft.
Kootenay Ice captain Sam Reinhart is the fourth-ranked skater while defenceman Haydn Fleury (No. 6) and Calgary Hitmen forward Jake Virtanen (No. 9) also made the top 10 in the mid-term rankings.
Draisaitl, a product of Cologne, Germany, is in his second season in the WHL with the Raiders, and currently leads the team and ranks among the top 10 in League scoring. The 6’2”, 208-lb center also captained Germany in the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.
“He plays a big, power forward-style of game. He goes to the net and the opposition has a hard time stopping him from getting there. He's a big presence in front of the goal and skates well with deceptive speed. He can shoot the puck and overpower goalies with it. I like his style and attitude; he has a lot of upside,” commented NHL Central Scouting’s B.J. MacDonald on Draisaitl’s game.
Reinhart, a Vancouver, B.C., native, is in his third season in the WHL with the Ice, and put up 53 points, including a team-best 35 assists, in 34 games. The youngest of three brothers – all current or former WHL players – Reinhart suited up for Canada in the 2014 World Junior Championship alongside his older brother, Griffin of the Edmonton Oil Kings. The 2012 WHL Rookie of the Year, Reinhart has already amassed 202 points in 177 career regular-season WHL contests.
“Exceptional player with the puck, his offensive hockey sense is off the charts with his vision and playmaking,” said Dan Marr, director of NHL Central Scouting. “A good skater whose top-end speed can still improve, but he's just shown scouts that he can keep pace on the World Junior stage. A responsible player who quietly leads his team.”
Four other WHL skaters rank among the top 30 in the mid-term rankings including Swift Current Broncos’ defencemen Julius Honka (No. 13) and Brycen Martin (No. 20), Saskatoon Blades Russian rookie Nikita Scherbak (No. 24), and Portland Winterhawks forward Chase De Leo (No. 26).
Ty Edmonds of the Prince George Cougars is the highest-ranked WHL goaltender in the mid-term rankings of North American goalies, coming in at No. 8 on the list.
Edmonds, a product of Winnipeg, MB, is in his first season in the WHL with the Cougars, and has posted a 13-14-1-3 mark with two shutouts in 37 appearances. Everett’s Austin Lotz (No. 11), Moose Jaw’s Justin Paulic (No. 13), Saskatoon’s Alex Moodie (No. 24) and Swift Current’s Landon Bow (No. 29) are also in the rankings.
The 2014 NHL Draft will take place on June 27-28 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
Follow the links below to view and download the 2014 NHL Central Scouting Mid-Term rankings:
NORTH AMERICAN SKATERS
NORTH AMERICAN GOALTENDERS