NHL Draft Preview Schedule
July 27, 2005
What follows is a list of some of the top college defensemen and goalies eligible for this Saturday's 2005 NHL Entry Draft, as ranked by the NHL Central Scouting Service and Hockey's Future. Be sure to check out CSTV's team features on Michigan and Boston College for more on some of the top incoming freshmen in the Draft.
Jack Johnson, D, Michigan
Height/Weight: 6'1", 201 lbs.
Central Scouting Rank (Midterm/Final): 5/4
04-05 Team: USA NTDP Under-18 Team
04-05 Stats: 31 points (12g, 19a) in 38 games
Jeff Dahlia, Hockey's Future: For his age, Johnson has a tremendous amount of skill and ability, which makes him so sought after. He is a slick defenseman who moves well with or without the puck. His stick-handling ability is well above average. He plays with an edge and will not back down to aggressors, but will not seek out trouble. He does extremely well defending in his own zone and reads the attack very well. Johnson plays a very tight and functional game and stifles opposition more often than not. Johnson has above average offensive instincts, a good shot selection from the point and a great wrist shot.
Brian Lee, D, North Dakota
Height/Weight: 6'2½", 202 lbs.
Central Scouting Rank (Midterm/Final): 16/15
04-05 Team: Moorhead H.S.
04-05 Stats: 38 points (12g, 26a) in 25 games
Eric Vegoe, Hockey's Future: Minnesota's 2005 Mr. Hockey and Associated Press Player of the Year is likely to be the first Minnesota high school player selected in this year's draft. Lee had an accomplished senior season, becoming the 13th high school player to make the roster for the U-20 World Junior Hockey Championships, leading Moorhead to the championship game of the state AA high school tournament, and finishing his season playing for Lincoln in the USHL. Lee is a veteran of USA hockey events and was named top defenseman at the U-17 Five Nations Cup in Slovakia. Lee is among the 43 players invited to the 2005 US National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., Aug. 5-14 competing to make the US roster for the World Junior Championship.
Matt Niskanen, D, Minnesota Duluth
Height/Weight: 6'½", 194 lbs.
Central Scouting Rank (Midterm/Final): 37/31
04-05 Team: Virginia/Mountain Iron-Buhl H.S.
04-05 Stats: 65 points (27g, 38a) in 29 games
Eric Vegoe, Hockey's Future: The future Bulldog is a very smooth skater who has the foot speed and hand speed to quickly move laterally with the puck. He shoots the puck heavily and is experienced at controlling the flow of the game. He is a very poised player who chooses when to get involved with the play, and is capable in all situations.
Keith Yandle, D, Maine
Height/Weight: 6'2", 203 lbs.
Central Scouting Rank (Midterm/Final): 53/55
04-05 Team: Cushing Academy
04-05 Stats: 54 points (14g, 40a) in 34 games
D.J. Powers, Hockey's Future: Yandle is a highly talented blueliner who captained the Cushing Penguins to the New England Division I National Championship game before falling to eventual champions Avon Old Farms. Cushing head coach Steve Jacobs' insights on Keith Yandle: "Keith is the total package of skating, size, skill, hockey sense, vision and leadership ability. He is a clutch performer who is at his best in highly competitive situations. He is especially strong quarterbacking the power play. He is very strong passing the puck with hard accurate passes. He is also very strong in his own end."
Chris Butler, D, Denver
Height/Weight: 6'1", 178 lbs.
Central Scouting Rank (Midterm/Final): 57/57
04-05 Team: Sioux City
04-05 Stats: 28 points (6g, 22a) in 60 games
D.J. Powers, Hockey's Future: Butler played a significant role in the Musketeers' run for the Clark Cup. Butler's outstanding season performance earned him a selection to the All-USHL First Team. He was also a member of Team USHL in the 2005 USHL Prospect/All-Star Game. Sioux City head coach Dave Siciliano's insights on Chris Butler: "Chris is an all-around very good defenseman with an emphasis on the defensive side. His strength is that he's outstanding defensively and can chip in offensively. He is strong one-on-one. He makes that first pass very well. He can carry the puck, especially in the neutral zone and gain that far blue line. In his own zone this past season, he was more aggressive, physical and a little meaner than he was the year before. As Chris' weight and strength has increased, so has his confidence level. He's one of these steady guys that sometimes you might not notice because he doesn't make very many mistakes. Positionally, he's very sound and he makes very good decisions because he sees the ice so well. Chris has got excellent agility. One of Chris' other strengths is making the right decision defensively in tight. He prides himself on being one who will get physically involved, regardless of the size of the opposing player. He has a good shot, good offensive instincts, and quick feet to move laterally along the blueline and makes very good decisions with the puck. Chris is a very smart, very focused and very dedicated player. I think he'll fit in extremely well with Denver's program because Denver's program fits his style so well. (University of Denver head coach) George Gwozdecky is meticulous about bringing in quality people and he's got another here in Chris Butler."
Jeff Frazee, G, Minnesota
Height/Weight: 6'0", 184 lbs.
Central Scouting Rank (Midterm/Final): 8/7
04-05 Team: USA NTDP Under-18 Team
04-05 Stats: 14-7-0, 2.70 GAA, .916 SV% in 24 games
Jeff Dahlia, Hockey's Future: Frazee is a very athletic goaltender. He has good size and can cover a lot of ground, while using his flexibility to his advantage. He shows a lot of clam under fire, reads the attack well and does a good job of communicating with his teammates. He has shown a lot of consistency over the year and could become a very reliable netminder as he progresses in his career.
Jonathan Quick, G, Massachusetts
Height/Weight: 6'0", 180
Central Scouting Rank (Midterm/Final): 14/9
04-05 Team: Avon Old Farms
04-05 Stats: 25-2-0, 1.19 GAA in 27 games (Save percentage unavailable)
D.J. Powers, Hockey's Future: The University of Massachusetts will have an outstanding addition to their roster this fall when goaltending sensation Jonathan Quick arrives. Quick led the Winged Beavers to their second consecutive New England Division I National Championship and was named to the All-New England Division I West First Team. He set new AOF school records in shutouts and goals against average in 2004-05. One of the most telling stats about Quick's performance this past season is the fact that he allowed one goal or less in 19 of his 27 outings. AOF head coach John Gardner's insights on Quick: "Jon's best attributes are his athleticism, competitiveness and confidence."