2010 NHL Entry Draft: Scouts Rate the Collegians

As the NHL Entry Draft is about to take the stage at the Staples Center in Los Angeles (7 p.m. Eastern Friday, Versus/TSN; 1 p.m. Eastern Saturday, NHL Network/TSN), here’s what the top scouts from the NHL’s Central Scouting are saying about the top college and college-bound prospects:

Derek Forbort, defense, North Dakota (incoming)

“Derek Forbort has good top-end ability at both ends [of the ice]. He’s smart and skates so well, he’s almost 6-5 and he’s got everything there in front of him. It’s just a matter of filling out and getting more experience. He’s probably a top-two defenseman in the NHL if he reaches his potential.”

— Jack Barzee

Nick Bjugstad, center, Minnesota (incoming, 2011)

“He’s further along and more polished than [Boston’s Blake] Wheeler. He’s also a better skater than David Backes was at the same age (17). The only difference is Backes was thicker, but the ingredients are here. He wants the puck and wants to make plays. He’s a blue-collar type kid who works his tail off.”

— Barzee

Jonathan Merrill, defense, Michigan (incoming)

“He plays the game a lot like Jordan Leopold. He plays weaving and diving, sneaking and thinking, gaining the zone and moving the puck ahead right on the tape to a guy. He’s skilled and he’s really come a long way in his development.”

— Barzee

Riley Sheahan, center, Notre Dame

“He’s so mature for a kid his age — I’m overwhelmed with that. He’s equally good in all three zones and goes to the front of the net. He’s very conscious in the defensive zone and down behind the net in the defensive corner — he makes certain his team isn’t outnumbered. In the neutral zone, he makes all kinds of things happen but will get back and turn a transition if needed.”

— Barzee

Charlie Coyle, right wing/center, Boston University (incoming)

“Charlie is a skilled forward who can play a power game as well as a finesse game. He has very good size and athleticism. He has very soft hands and is a confident puck handler. His passes are accurate and proper for the situation. He has a long and strong stride and beats defenders with his acceleration and puck skills. He has a very good wrist shot to support his passing skills in his role as a major contributor to his team’s offense. He should, however, shoot the puck more than he does to take advantage of his excellent shot.”

— Gary Eggleston

Brock Nelson, center, North Dakota (incoming, 2011)

“Big, strapping center in the Minnesota high school league. Going to North Dakota next year and destined to be an NHLer with 6-2 frame, 205 pound build. Guaranteed, hard-skating power forward.”

— E.J. Maguire

Kevin Hayes, right wing, Boston College (incoming)

“Kevin is a skilled power forward who plays with enthusiasm and drive. He has very good hands and is an excellent play maker. He is a strong skater with a long stride, and uses his long reach and puck protection to beat defenders. He has an excellent wrist shot with a sneaky quick release, and will shoot from any angle. He controls the puck very well in traffic, sees the ice very well, and finds the open man. He has a very good knack of playing the puck in his skates for a big player, often moving the puck from skates to stick without losing speed.”

— Eggleston

Jaden Schwartz, center, Colorado College (incoming)

“I don’t think Jaden has changed his style of play since he was 14 or 15 years old. He’s very deceptive and shifty through the neutral zone and strong on the puck. It’s very hard to get the puck off his stick.”

— Barzee


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