College players and recruits to watch in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft

Hoping to keep track of some of the top college players in Sunday’s NHL Entry Draft (3 p.m. EDT, NBC Sports Network/NHL Network)? Here are thumbnails on some of the players we think have significant potential:

(CSS — NHL Central Scouting Ranking; ISS — International Scouting Service; I — Incoming freshman)

Ian McCoshen (Boston College-I)

Position: D | Shoots: L
Height: 6-foot-2 | Weight: 207
CSS: 24 | ISS: 30

At 18, McCoshen is already a big kid with a solid frame. Considered a highly skilled defensive defenseman, he posted nine goals and 36 points for Waterloo in the USHL last season. Scouts believe that he has great stamina and could play minutes equal to those of the top defenseman in the league.

Michael McCarron (Western Michigan-I)

Position: RW | Shoots: R
Height: 6-foot-5 | Weight: 228
CSS: 35 | ISS: 59

Another player with a mature and massive frame, McCarron is a power forward with a few question marks about his potential. While everyone seems to love his size, he is going to have to prove that he can bring a consistent effort once he arrives at Western Michigan. If he does, he may become one of the NHL’s top power forwards in years to come.

Tommy Vannelli (Minnesota-I)

Position: D | Shoots: R
Height: 6-foot-2 | Weight: 170
CSS: 44 | ISS: 63

Vannelli is a player who many scouts believe has significant upside but must first develop. Heading to Minnesota will provide Vannelli with the extra time in the weight room to fill out his small frame. Vannelli heads to the Gophers fresh out of high school, having played just nine games with Team USA in between.

J.T. Compher (Michigan-I)

Position: C | Shoots: R
Height: 6-foot-0 | Weight: 184
CSS: 34 | ISS: 21

While Central Scouting and the International Scouting Service often disagree on rankings, it’s not too often that ISS ranks a player significantly higher than CSS does. That’s the case with Compher, who some scouts believe can be an eye-opening player. Last season with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program, Compher averaged better than a point per game and was one of Team USA’s best players at the Five Nations tournament.

Connor Hurley (Notre Dame recruit)

Position: LW | Shoots: L
Height: 6-foot-1 | Weight: 181
CSS: 45 | ISS: 35

Born Sept. 15, 1995, Hurley likely will be the youngest player selected in this year’s draft. The Notre Dame recruit will rejoin Muskegon of the USHL next season after playing five games there at the end of last season. Scouts see Hurley as a smart, two-way player with a lot of offensive potential seen in a nearly two-point-per-game pace in high school.

Brett Pesce (New Hampshire)

Position: D | Shoots: R
Height: 6-foot-3 | Weight: 174
CSS: 40 | ISS: 132

Pesce successfully jumped right into coach Dick Umile’s lineup as a freshman at New Hampshire and did a solid job manning the blue line defensively. Scouts consider the sophomore-to-be a two-way player and really want to see more offense from the lanky blueliner who put up just five points in 36 games a year ago.

Hudson Fasching (Minnesota-I)

Position: RW | Shoots: R
Height: 6-foot-3 | Weight: 214
CSS: 70 ISS: 44

Fasching is believed to be a player with significant upside but some scouts worry that he has regressed in the last year. He’s heading to Minnesota, where he will have a few years to improve his game to a point where he’ll fit into an NHL lineup.

Other players to watch

John Hayden (Yale-I), RW, 6-3, 185: Considered a top, strong forward.

Ryan Fitzgerald (Boston College-I), C, 5-9, 170: Small but crafty forward.

Keaton Thompson (North Dakota-I), D, 6-0, 165: Smooth skater but may be small for blue line.

Matt Buckles (Cornell-I), C, 6-1, 204: Physical forward with a good shot.

Gustav Olofsson (Colorado College-I), D, 6-3, 185: Defenseman with plenty of poise and skill.

Adam Tambellini (North Dakota-I), C, 6-3, 180: Son of Steve Tambellini, he has offensive skill but needs to fill out.

Brendan Harms (Bemidji State-I), C, 6-0, 172: May be small but can score.


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