Michigan recruit Jack Johnson is the highest rated North American skater in the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau’s mid-term rankings. He is listed fifth, following No. 1 Sidney Crosby, Benoit Pouliot, Bobby Ryan and Luc Bourdon, all of whom play Major Junior hockey.
Other college or college-bound players in the top 20 are No. 9 Jack Skille (headed to Wisconsin), No. 11 Ryan Stoa (Minnesota) and No. 16 Brian Lee (North Dakota), who just skated for the U.S. in the World Junior tournament. None of those players are currently in college.
The highest rated skater currently playing for a U.S. college is No. 30 Sasha Pokulok, who is a freshman defenseman for Cornell.
This year’s NHL Draft, scheduled to be held in Ottawa in June, is in jeopardy thanks to the current NHL lockout. If there is no collective bargaining agreement between NHL teams and players by June, the draft will most likely be scrapped until at least after a new CBA is reached.
Other prominent names currently in college include: No. 32 Dan Bertram (Boston College), No. 45 Nate Hagemo (Minnesota), No. 53 Keith Yandle (New Hampshire), No. 86 Jonathan Sigalet (Bowling Green) and No. 90 Paul Stastny (Denver).
Among goaltenders, Ben Bishop, a 6-foot-5 goaltender from Texas who is currently uncommitted, is highest among college or college-bound players at No. 7. No. 8 is Jeff Frazee (Minnesota) and No. 9 is Jordan Pearce (Notre Dame). The highest ranked current college player is Vermont’s Joe Fallon at No. 13.