Final NHL Central Scouting list has NAHL, NAPHL, NA3HL flavor
April 9, 2014
The National Hockey League Central Scouting final rankings are out and just like when the midterm list was posted back in January, it could be a very exciting couple of days at the NHL Draft June 27-28 for the NAHL, NAPHL and NA3HL family of leagues.
A total of 14 players, who are currently playing, or are alumni of the NAHL, NAPHL or NA3HL are on the final list. It is providing further proof that the three leagues are continuing to take advantage of and evolve the ladder of development and the significant scouting presence and competition that the league-wide events and games provide.
Leading the way is the #1-ranked goaltender on the list and NAPHL alum Thatcher Demko. He spent time developing in the NAPHL as the goalie for the California Titans 16U team during the 2010-11 season. Sporting a 7-2-1 record with a very respectable 92.2% save percentage and a 1.90 goals against average. His save percentage and goals against average both ranked fourth in the 16U Division during the 2010-11 season.
"He was so far ahead of the under-aged players last year that if he was draft-eligible in 2013 he would have probably been drafted high; that's how far ahead he was then and is now," NHL Central Scouting's Al Jensen, who specializes in viewing goaltenders, told NHL.com. “He's a huge, strong goalie with excellent net coverage," Jensen said of Demko. "He has that NHL presence in the net. He's more of a positional-style goalie that relies on his angles and size and he plays big in his stance.
Demko, who could become the first American-born goalie drafted in the first round since the Dallas Stars selected Jack Campbell at No. 11 in 2010, is the youngest player in NCAA hockey this season. He likely will be the starter for the Boston College Eagles on Thursday when his team plays against Union College in the semifinal round of the Frozen Four at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, the site of the 2014 NHL Draft.
Former Metro Jets and NA3HL goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic is ranked #4 on the list. Nedeljkovic appeared in nine games in the NA3HL with the Metro Jets during the 2012-13 regular season. He made an immediate impact as he was named as the NA3HL Goaltender of the Month in November. Nedeljkovic (6’0/190), who plays for the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers and who will represent the United States at the 2014 IIHF World Under-18 Championship in Finland later this month, is one of the more athletic-style goalies available in the draft. At the All-American Prospects Game in Pittsburgh in September he stopped 13 of 16 shots in 30:53 of playing time.
Jensen said a good comparison for Nedeljkovic would be Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier. "He's another very quick and athletic goalie," Jensen said. "He battles and has good strength in his crease area, has excellent recovery and lateral quickness. He's got quick reactions, flaring out his pads to make low corner stops. He's very smart and is capable of playing big games consistently."
The midterm list is also highlighted by three current NAHL players, all of them goalies. Heading the list is Wenatchee Wild goaltender Chase Perry, who is the #8 ranked North American goalie. Perry, 18, who will play NCAA hockey at Colorado College, is in his first season in the NAHL with the Wild. In 35 games played during the regular season, Perry (6’2/190) has a 2.34 goals against average and a 90.6% save percentage, along with two shutouts. Perry played in the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament in February as a part of the NAHL 18U Selects Team.
Minnesota Wilderness goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo, who was the NAHL Goaltender of the Month in November, is ranked right behind Perry at #9 of all the goalies. Kaskisuo, who will play NCAA Division I hockey next season at Minnesota Duluth, put up some incredible numbers this past season, which was his first in the NAHL. He led all NAHL goaltenders with a 1.48 goals against average, as well as, a 94.4% save percentage. His 94.4% save percentage equaled the all-time NAHL single-season record and his 9 shutouts ranked second in the NAHL.
Unranked in the midterm rankings, Janesville Jets goalie Logan Halladay, 17, jumped all the way to #16 in the goalie rankings with his second half performance. Halladay is also an alumni of the NAPHL having played for the Carolina Jr. Hurricanes 16U team during the 2011-12 season. Halladay raised eyebrows with his performance in the second half of the season, which earned him NAHL Goalie of the Month honors in December, as well as, a spot along side Perry on the NAHL 18U Selects Team at the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament in February. The University of Minnesota commit tied for 5th in save percentage in the NAHL this season with a 93.2% mark.
Other goalies making the list were former NAPHL and NA3HL goalie Devin Williams (#15) and former NAHL and Aberdeen Wings/Soo Eagles goalie and current University of Michigan netminder Zach Nagelvoort (#20).
Williams is not only an NA3HL alum, but an NAPHL one as well. Prior to his stint in the NA3HL, Williams played the 2010-11 season in the NAPHL as the goalie for the Motor City Metal Jackets 16U team. Williams continued his development during the 2011-12 season with the Metro Jets of the NA3HL. While playing with the Jets, Williams went 9-9-0 with a 3.88 GAA and a 89.6% save percentage playing in 19 games.
Nagelvoort played two seasons in the NAHL for Aberdeen, Soo, Traverse City and Kalamazoo from 2011-13. In 47 career NAHL regular season games, he posted a 27-12-3 record with four shutouts, a 2.17 goals against average and a 93% save percentage.
Current Bismarck Bobcats forward Zach Yon is ranked #169 among the North American skaters on the list. Yon, who played the majority of the season at Roseau High School in Minnesota, joined the Bobcats towards the end of the regular season and has played with the Bobcats in the playoffs. The University of North Dakota recruit has two goals in two playoff games.
Other skaters on the list with NAHL ties include #98 Matt Iacopelli (Springfield Jr. Blues/Texas Tornado), #190 Brett Beauvais (Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings) and defenseman Luke Ripley (Dawson Creek Rage). Beauvais and Ripley both appeared in the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament during their careers.
NAPHL alumni include forward Alex Schoenborn, who is also an NAHL alumni. Schoenborn is the #78-ranked skater and played the 2011-12 season with the Omaha AAA 16U team. During the 2012-13 season, he spent a portion of the season with the Wenatchee Wild in the NAHL.
Former Pursuit of Excellence forward Dysin Mayo is ranked as the #82 skater. Former Omaha AAA 16U forward Chris Wilkie, who was the NAPHL scoring champion back during the 2011-12 season, is ranked as the #207 skater.