Whether you are an NFL fan or an NHL nut, this year’s draft rumblings have been colossal, with more newspaper columns and webpage space given to people spending their every waking hour trying to decipher how the respective cards that are up in the air will land.
As the NHL draft nears its end game, we take a look at the Canadian prospects who are setting scouting reports alight and storming up the draft rankings in the process. Which potential NHL star do you have your money on to be the next big thing in hockey?
All the talk in the lead up to this year’s NHL draft has been about Russian goaltending sensation Yaroslav Askarov and whether he will join an elite club of goaltenders who have been drafted in the first round.
However, not far behind Askarov is Nico Daws, with the World Junior Championship gold medalist voted the OHL’s goalie of the season and touted as a second-round pick with genuine NHL starting potential.
The Calgary Flames are being talked up as a potential new home for the youngster, with sports betting aficionados keeping a close eye on how he progresses. Daws has shown a deep desire to improve after missing out on being drafted to the NHL last time, a fate that won’t befall him this time around.
There were already murmurings of O’Rourke’s potential long before the draft loomed on the horizon, but then the CHL Top Prospects Game happened, with this strong defender notching one assist and probably a second as well, only to be cruelly denied by whoever decided to dole out the stats that day.
That has not affected his prospects of being picked quite high up the draft, with a possible first round pick in the offing.
The only doubts that were raised about this sharp shooting winger were regarding his skating ability, but all those were banished in late season outings as he began pairing his vicious first-time shooting ability with swift skating to build an impressive resumé.
One of his standout areas is his ability to take advantage of a powerplay, notching many of his goals while his team have the numerical advantage. Such killer instinct is exactly the variety craved by NHL teams both sides of the border.
Sometimes you just have to sit up and take note when someone’s form goes through the roof, and Tristen Robins was on fire towards the back end of the WHL, making him a serious consideration for at least a third round pick and perhaps even a second.
Comparisons are constantly being drawn between Robins and Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point. If Robins manages to live up to that billing, then he will be a valuable addition to any roster.
Jacob Perreault is another player who has shown that it’s those willing to put in the hard yards in practice who will ultimately reap the rewards; having once been derided for lacking in skating ability, he’s totally turned it all around by outperforming everyone in skate testing.
His perseverance and willingness to play through pain was also in evidence for much of his season with the Sarnia Sting as he contested a multitude of games while nursing a badly broken nose. Nothing says “NHL ready” quite like a nose that is bent slightly out of place.