June 18, 2008
2008 NHL Draft: Prospect Previews — Part One

INCH NHL Draft Center
Prospect Preview - Part II

Inside College Hockey's coverage of the 2008 National Hockey League Entry Draft in Ottawa continues with a look at some of the best current collegians and incoming freshmen eligible for this weekend's draft. Rather than focus on this year's big names such as Colin Wilson of Boston University, we opted to highlight players whose draft fortunes aren't as clearly defined. Part I takes a look at four defensemen and a goalie. Part Two features six forwards.

You know where the various independent scouting services have ranked these prospects. In addition to the Central Scouting Service comments on each prospect, we offer "Scout's Take," Inside College Hockey's exclusive evaluation of the player from one or more NHL scouts. Scouts were granted anonymity in exchange for their candor.

Players are listed in alphabetical order by last name.

6-0 | 190 lbs.
St. Michael's (OPJHL)
Recruit (2008)
Toronto, Ontario

2007-08 Statistics: 32 GP, 7-17—24

Central Scouting Service Rank: 41st among North American skaters

CSS Says: ""He's not an overly big defenseman, but he has really good mobility and a good shot from the point. He jumps up into the rush well, but needs to improve on his defensive reliability. He played in a really small rink this year and was still able to move the puck quickly and well. Puck-skill wise, he's good, and as he moves up, his decision-making will improve."

Scout's Take: "He can skate and moves the puck well. He had a little injury problem, but he played well [for Canada East in the World Junior A Challenge] and he played well at the end of the year. He's going to a good school … where they have a good situation on and off the ice. With the talent at Michigan, he'll be challenged as much or more in practices as in games. That's great experience for a young defenseman."


6-1 | 214 lbs.
U.S. National Team Development Program
Merrimack Recruit
Wakefield, Mass.

2007-08 Statistics: 28 GP, 2.54 GAA, .901%

Central Scouting Service Rank: 13th among North American goalies

CSS Says: The Central Scouting Service did not provide a report for Cannata.

Scout's Take: "He's an interesting guy. He's a fairly big kid, but he plays a little bit 'scrambly' and plays a little too deep in the net. He could also use some work on puck handling. He's got a good glove hand and sees the puck well in traffic. What makes him interesting is that he'll make a really good save, then have a [stoppable shot] get by him."


6-0 | 195 lbs.
Wisconsin Badgers

Oakville, Ontario

2007-08 Statistics: 40 GP, 4-6—10

Central Scouting Service Rank: 31st among North American skaters

CSS Says: "When I first saw Cody I really liked his game. He is compact and he's strong with a wide stance. He's a good, powerful skater. He thinks the game well, has a really good shot and makes that first pass consistently. He is a solid two-way player that is going to play on your power-play. He played for a defensive style team at Wisconsin. His conservative play meant that I don't think a lot of scouts have seen the offensive side of him enough, but he's a potential top-four defensemen in the National Hockey League, maybe top-three. He's playing against guys who are at least three years older than him – if he was playing in the USHL he might have the puck all the time and be dominating, but he handled it well – he's a solid kid."

Scout’s Take: "He's good player, well conditioned. He has the benefit of going to Wisconsin, where the training regiment is pretty strict. And he's smart enough to know that he does some things better than some of his teammates, and they do some things better than him. He's very capable of critiquing himself. He's got a good head on his shoulders – very articulate, smart, handles himself well. In fact, he's so articulate, you wonder if … he's destined for the boardroom."


5-10 | 157 lbs.
Roseau High School
Minnesota Recruit (2008)

Roseau, Minn.

2007-08 Statistics: 31 GP, 28-44—72

Central Scouting Service Rank: 27th among North American skaters

CSS Says: "Aaron is flamboyant and colorful. He is very quick, everything about him is quick – his hands are quick, his feet are quick. He is a very good skater and he is gritty and physical. He'll step right in to you without fear – he picks his spot when he does it. He's a little more polished than some of the other high school defensemen with his passing and playmaking. When I look at him he is quicker than Brian Leetch was at this age and he's as fast as John-Michael Liles was at the same age."

Scout’s Take: "He's got as good a game as a player can have. He's outstanding in all situations, and he thinks the game well. His size won't be an issue because the mindset of the NHL right now is speed and skill. Every kid you interview, you always want them to be bigger, quicker, stronger, faster. It just comes down to, is he willing to will himself into competing [and] will he listen?"


6-5 | 210 lbs.
Northfield Prep
Clarkson Recruit (2009)

Vaudreuil, Quebec

2007-08 Statistics: 42 GP, 4-8—12

Central Scouting Service Rank: 132nd among North American skaters.

CSS Says: The Central Scouting Service did not provide a report for Pokulok.

Scout’s Take: "He's a big kid at 6-5, and he'll probably get a little bit bigger. He's not quite as skilled as his older brother, [former Cornell defenseman] Sasha. Nik plays more of a physical game. Sasha is more cerebral, but Nik is more of the grinding type. He likes to hit. He's got to get better at moving the puck."