2008 NHL Draft: Prospect Previews — Part One
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.
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.
are listed in alphabetical order by last name.
6-0 | 190 lbs.
St. Michael's (OPJHL)
Michigan Recruit (2008)
Statistics: 32 GP, 7-17—24
Scouting Service Rank: 41st among North American
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."
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.
National Team Development Program
Merrimack Recruit (2008)
Statistics: 28 GP, 2.54 GAA, .901%
Scouting Service Rank: 13th among North American
Says: The Central Scouting Service did not
provide a report for Cannata.
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.
Statistics: 40 GP, 4-6—10
Scouting Service Rank: 31st among North American
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
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.
Minnesota Recruit (2008)
Statistics: 31 GP, 28-44—72
Scouting Service Rank: 27th among North American
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."
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.
Clarkson Recruit (2009)
Statistics: 42 GP, 4-8—12
Scouting Service Rank: 132nd among North American
Says: The Central Scouting Service did not
provide a report for Pokulok.
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."