Gabriel Landeskog Heads List of Top Prospects for 2011 NHL Draft
Atop the rankings of North American skaters is a Swedish forward who missed most of the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship with a high ankle sprain, but nonetheless has done plenty over the first half of the season to impress scouts.
Gabriel Landeskog of the Ontario Hockey League's Kitchener Rangers is the No. 1 player in the mid-term rankings. Landeskog has 45 points in 32 games so far for the Rangers, carries a plus-24, but is out for a while with his injury, which flared up during the World Juniors.
Landeskog played for Djurgarden of the Swedish Elite League at just 16 years, 90 days of age, then moved on to the OHL.
"He came over to North America as an under-age player and that's unique in that most Swedes don't," NHL Central Scouting director E.J. McGuire told NHL.com. "He's a fearless forward who goes to the net and stays there."
Landeskog is followed in the mid-term rankings by Drummondville (QMJHL) forward Sean Couturier, who earned a spot on Canada's World Junior team. He posted two goals in six games and registered an impressive plus-six for the silver medalists.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of Red Deer (WHL) is third, followed by Jonathan Huberdeau of Saint Johns (QMJHL) and Tyler Biggs (U.S. Under 18 Team) in the top five. Biggs and Landeskog are the only wingers in the top five, with the other three players all playing center.
The top-ranked defenseman in North America is Dougie Hamilton of Niagara (OHL), who is rated No. 7.
The tallest player in the top 30 is defenseman Jonathan Oleksiak of Northeastern (Hockey East), who stands 6-foot-7 and is ranked No. 27. The shortest is U.S. Under 18 forward Rocco Grimaldi, who is only 5-foot-6 and ranked No. 25. Grimaldi has incredible speed and is a very tenacious player.
Two of the top five North American goalies play for the U.S. Under 18 team. No. 1 John Gibson has committed to play college hockey at Michigan, and No. 5 Matt McNeely is heading to Minnesota Duluth. Christopher Gibson (Chicoutimi/QMJHL), Matej Machovsky (Brampton/OHL), and Liam Liston (Brandon/WHL) are the other three in the top five.
Defenseman Adam Larsson of Skelleftea in the Swedish Elite League is the top-rated European skater, while Finn Samu Perhonen is the top European goalie.