1981 Mid - Season Rankings


*Note: The Central Scouting Rankings are based purely on the interpretation of statistics in the NJFHL, interpretation of real life history, and personal opinion.  In no way has the writer seen the ratings of the players or should the comments be interpreted to necessarily be accurate interpretations of the ratings the junior players have or will have.

Rank Previous Player
1 1 Adam Oates - Shawinigan Cataractes
The pre-season #1 pick has done nothing to prove he shouldn't be the top pick in the 1981 draft. If anything, he has separated himself from everyone else. Through 31 games, Oates leads the NJFHL with 51 points on 13 goals and 38 assists, a monstrous 15 point separation from the next closest eligible draftee. In fact, he has a 10 point lead over the next best player. His 38 assists alone would put him tied for 3rd in league scoring. Oates may have the best passing ability to have ever come out of the NJFHL. If there is one thing you could critique him about, it is his need to work on his shot. He loves to shoot, he has an underrated shot, he just isn't doing much with it. He is 2nd in the league in shots, but has just 13 goals. While he is a year older than most of the players he is playing against, the way he is dominating is certainly reminiscent of previous #1s like Gretzky and Kurri.
2 37 Kjell Dahlin - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Bursting out of nowhere, Dahlin leads the offensively powerful Greyhounds, who dominate the top of the Central Scouting lists. The line of Dahlin, Mike Ridley, and Doug Smith, all of whom rank in the top ten, has simply been as close to unstoppable as there is. Dahlin is fast and has really developed a sniper's touch around the net. He has been deadly with the man advantage, scoring 8 of his 17 goals so far on the power play. Overall, his 36 points in 32 games puts him in the top ten in league scoring and tied for 2nd in scoring by draft eligible players. As we noted in the pre season rankings, Dahlin loves to shoot, 100 of them so far, and he has greatly improved his play away from the puck. Part of that is that he is spending so much time in the offensive zone, of course. He will also need to get a little stronger so he can withstand the tough play in the NFHL. However, if he can keep up this pace in the second season, Dahlin should see himself go in the top five at year end.
3 2 Mike Ridley - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Dahlin's centre, Ridley has so far put up identical numbers with 17 goals and 19 assists for 36 points in 32 games. Last year, Ridley notched 32 goals and he is right on pace for that total again. He is clearly putting to rest any talk that he rode last year's #1 pick, Jari Kurri. Like Dahlin, he has 100 shots so far, but he has shown a slight more willingness to make physical contact. Not much more, but more nonetheless. Ridley has underrated speed which coaches will need to help him develop into better defensive awareness. His -3 rating on the year is a bit concerning considering he is in the top ten in scoring, but the talent to become a competent defensive player is certainly there. And it is clear the offensive talent is there. It would be hard to imagine Ridley not going in the first few picks.
4 6 Grant Fuhr - Ottawa 67's
Fuhr has played every game for the 67's this season. And that is the biggest reason why they are leading their conference by a healthy margin. He already has 20 wins, only 8 away from his total of a year ago and they are only half way done the season. He leads all starters with a 2.95 GAA, the only starter with a sub-3.00 average. His save percentage, 0.879, at first looks alarming, but for the run and gun NJFHL, it is actually 5th best and 3rd best among starters. Fuhr has established himself as the top goalie available in the draft. Ranked #4 here, he could go as high as #2 depending on the needs of the team picking.
5 13 Ron Francis - Kamloops Blazers
Francis is Adam Oates-lite. That may not be entirely fair, but they do play a very similar game. They are both top notch playmakers, but Francis has better success shooting. However, he also shoots half as much. While Oates is a more dominant offensive force, Francis is dominant defensively. He is tied for the league lead with a +17 rating through half a season, though he has yet to register a short handed goal. He had 2 last year. Francis has deceptive speed and uses his body well. It is unlikely Francis would unseat Oates, but any team missing out on Oates will be happy to have Francis.
6 30 Doug Smith - Sault Ste. Marie Greyounds
The 3rd member of the 'Hounds in the top ten, Smith represents the defensive awareness, but also the sniper, for the line. He has just one more goal than Dahlin or Ridley, 18 so far, but he is much more selective with his shot, registering a goal on almost 25% of his shots, the 2nd highest shooting percentage of any player with at least 10 goals. Like the rest of the line, it seems, Smith is proving that they can produce without Kurri. He needs just 2 more goals to tie last year's total. Smith is the only one of the trio with a rating on the positive side, sporting a terrific +12, while also playing in all situation and registering a short handed goal. Smith doesn't have the pure skill as his line mates and that may drive some managers away. Smith's stock could drop, but if his performance continues in the second half, look for him to go in the top ten.
7 83 Valeri Shiryaev - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Yet another Greyhound makes the list, and to say his name in the top ten is unexpected. Barely ranked in the pre-season, all Shiryaev has done is upstage the likes of pre-season favourite, and teammate, Chris Chelios, and lead all defensement with 38 points after 32 games. To put it into even more perspective, Shiryaev has 32 assists, the same number of points as the next highest scoring defenseman and enough to put him 6th in overall scoring by draft eligible players. His 38 points is 2nd best among draftees and 4th in the entire league. He will have detractors pointing out that it is easy to pile on points when you have the top forward line in the league. Yet, he is outscoring them all. He also boasts an impressive +16 rating and, while not overly aggressive, he certainly doesn't shy away from contact. But the question will remain, is Shiryaev the player who barely rated a second look last season, or a superstar in the making after the first half of the season?
8 5 Gerard Gallant - Kamloops Blazers
Who wants a beast on your top line who can score and hit and fight with equal ability and desire? Then Gallant is your man. He continues to put up impressive numbers dating back to last season. He is well on pace to be among the top hitters in the league once more and is on pace for another 25 goal season. Throw in 200+ penalty minutes, a heavy shot used often, and a wonderful +15 rating, and Gallant is a coach's dream. When you can put a guy who can intimidate a team, but then score the game winning goal, which he has already done 5 times, you are in a good situation. Some GMs will be put off by his penalty total, which could push his stock down. He is only down in the ratings on our list because of some exceptional performances. Gallant is a rock and rock steady. Easy top ten pick that will make one team very happy.
9 58 Corrado Micalef - Medicine Hat Tigers
Micalef has faced 160 shots more than Fuhr while also appearing in every game for his team. Only two goalies have faced more shots, though neither more than 31. Yet his .886 save percentage is 3rd best in the league and tops among starters. The sheer number of shots means he will allow more goals, hence his GAA is almost half a goal higher than Fuhr. But make no mistake, Micalef appears to be the real deal. His Tigers are firmly entrenched in a playoff spot and they have allowed just 103 goals, 3rd best in the league. (Fuhr's 67's have allowed 94 for 2nd best). Micalef is as fast as Fuhr but seems to have a little trouble getting around the net as easily. While he is performing better than Glenn Healy, ranked #10, there are some technical issues to his game that may see him drop below Healy and out of the top ten. In which case, some luck team with a low draft pick may see him fall into their lap.
10 10 Glenn Healy - Saskatoon Blades
Healy is in the top ten, despite the performance of his team. Saskatoon is 2 games under .500 and attribute that mostly to a poor offense. Healy hasn't been the reason, despite playing in every game so far. Healy has a respectable .873 save percentage and is 3rd among starting draft eligible goalies with a 3.58 GAA and it is 6th overall. Most impressively, he leads the league with 3 shut outs already. However, Healy still lacks the ability to take a team on his back. He is doing his best to keep them in games, but he is not winning them enough games. This is what may keep him from being a star in the NFHL. He should be a starter, though. He could be a great pick for a team that can allow him to mentor for a few years with an established starter. He is a top ten pick, though.
11 18 Geoff Courtnall - Ottawa 67's
Sataying healthy and proving that he is a 1st round pick. With 33 points in 31 games, Courtnall has established himself as a bonafide top 6 winger in the making. Throw in his excellent defensive play, a +17 rating so far, and very good speed, and Courtnall could actually slip into the top ten by year end.
12 49 Larry Trader - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Getting to be a bit dull putting another Greyhound near the top of the rankings, and yet another surprise. Trader is 2nd in scoring among defensemen and leads all with 8 goals. Great with the man advantage, but shies away from contact.
13 9 Gates Orlando - Edmonton Oil Kings
Orlando is following up a successful season with another solid campaign. He is once again solid with the man advantage, scoring 5 of his 13 goals on the power play. Improving his defensive play and getting a little more physical, though he remains disciplined. Solid finish to the season could see him back in the top ten.
14 33 Bruce Driver - Ottawa 67's
Driver has stayed healthy and, as predicted, he has jumped in the rankings. Third in defenseman scoring and mans the power play as well as anyone. Has scored more game winning goals than any other defenseman and still throws out at least a hit a game. Not great, but something to work on for your offensive defenseman.
15 11 Steve Thomas - Shawinigan Cataractes
Using his shot more, but needs to find a little more on it to be successful. That said, he is averaging more than a point per game, has a terrific +15 rating and plays with a little grit. He has 2nd line winger written all over him. GMs can't ignore that with a mid to late 1st round pick.
16 15 Al MacInnis - Kamloops Blazers
Still shooting a lot and still finding little success for his efforts. He does have 5 goals, but that only means his shooting percentage is a measly 6.7%, one of the lowest among defensemen. Only one of those a power play goal, too, a little surprising considering what he puts on his shot. However, a little work won't hurt and he is solid enough defensively (+10 and 60 hits) to ensure he is a 1st round pick.
17 8 Normand Leveille - Kamloops Blazers
Remains devastating on the power play, again notching half of his 12 goals with the man advantage. Has missed time due to injury, though, so his shot totals have suffered. Prorated, he would still be among the top shooters and his points per game average is second only to Oates. However, he drops in the rankings as his defensive play has suffered, even though he is playing on the top team in the league.
18 28 Jeff Larmer - Edmonton Oil Kings
Larmer has elevated his offensive game to the point that he should be a sure-fire first rounder. His 14 goals are 3rd best amongst draft eligible players and he ranks in the top ten in shots. He has all his goals at even strength, too, which will certainly help his stock rise.
19 7 Gaetan Duchesne - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Injuries have played a part in Duchesne's drop in the rankings. He has missed 5 games, but has still recorded better than a point per game average. Still loves to shoot, but has been eclipsed on the Greyhounds' depth chart and doesn't get as many offensive opportunities as he once did. Still solid defensively and that is where he may make his living in the NFHL.
20 NR Mark Kumpel - Kamloops Blazers
Literally not even ranked in the pre season, Kumpel has burst on the scene with 12 goals and 29 points in Kamloops' first 31 games. He has emerged as a clutch player, scoring 4 game winning goals already and is approaching 100 shots.
21 4 Dale Hawerchuk - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Taking a back seat to the other high-powered Greyhounds, Hawerchuk is becoming a huge power play threat, yet still plays respectable defense. Hasn't notched a shorthanded goal after scoring 4 last year, but his +10 rating 3rd best on team, 2nd best among forwards.
22 42 Paul Boutilier - London Knights
Has cut down on penalties and becoming much more effective. 25 points in 31 games, a plus player, and among the leaders in hits. He is quickly becoming a very valuable contributor in all areas of the game. Not going to be a superstar, but a solid, in the middle of the lineup blue liner.
23 3 Chris Chelios - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Few have fallen further than Chelios. Still tough as nails, but the penalties are piling up and can't always be overlooked. Though he is amongst the leaders in hits, the rest of his production has tailed off slight and, combined with others really stepping it up, has raised concerns about whether he is that franchise defenseman we predicted earlier. A sure-fire first rounder, but the 2nd half of the season will determine where he goes in the 1st round.
24 60 Greg Adams - Hull Olympiques
A potential top pick of the 2nd round, Adams has had a terrific first half and is on pace to score almost 30 goals. Loves to shoot and is showing to be especially effective on the power play. Not very aggressive, but at least stays disciplined.
25 14 Len Hachborn - Edmonton Oil Kings
Has added a little grit to his game and has actually improved his scoring to a point a game pace. Is playing in all situations. Drop in rankings more a sign that others have improved drastically more than him. Another solid half season could see him become a first round pick.
26 57 Mike Vernon - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
No one has benefitted as much as Vernon to the Greyhounds' veteran laden lineup. A 19-12 record with a 3.66 GAA would normally have a goalie ranked as a first round pick. However, Vernon's shocking .866 save percentage as many scouts a little wary. However, part of hte problem could be overuse as he has played more than any other draft eligible goalie.
27 54 Randy Wood - Edmonton Oil Kings
Ninth in overall scoring by draft eligible players, Wood has managed to scare off many observers due to a terrible shot. He is great with the puck, 3rd in assists to Oates and Shiryaev, but has just 7 goals. His shooting percentage of 9% is the lowest of any forward with at least 3 goals. Has still managed to score 3 of them with the man advantage, though.
28 23 Gilbert Delorme - Chicoutimi Saguineens
Delorme isn't putting up the numbers he did, but he is still an intriguing prospect. He has a good shot that he uses especially well on the power play. Combined with a bit of an edge, an edge he often crosses as his 83 PIMs can attest, Delorme offers a lot of potential. A borderline 1st round pick in the preseason, Delorme looks to be a top 2nd round pick.
29 70 Peter Sidorkiewicz - Peterborough Petes
The Petes aren't having a great season, but it is hard to imagine what their season would have been like if they didn't have Sidorkiewicz. While he isn't carrying them as a truly elite goalie would, Sidorkiewicz has one of the top save percentages for starters, higher than all but 1 of the goalies ranked higher than him, and is keeping his GAA well under 4.00.
30 74 Mitch Lamoureux - London Knights
Missed almost a quarter of the season, but when he plays, he makes himself noticed, positively and negatively. Offensively, he is producing a greater than a point per game and 4 of his 13 goals were with the man advantage. Prorated over a full season and Lamoureux would score more goals than all but one other draft eligible player. However, penalty troubles keep him from really jumping in the rankings and being a force. It could be an easy fix in the pros, if he actually wants to work on it.
31 31 Ilya Byakin - Sudbury Wolves
Has almost already reached his goal total this year and is proving to be a very good offensive weapon. Five of his 7 goals were on the power play and he is really throwing his body around, but in a disciplined way. However, his defensive zone coverage remains a big question mark as only 3 other defensemen had plus/minus ratings worse than Byakin.
32 44 Igor Stelnov - Edmonton Oil Kings
Keeps moving up the rankings thanks to his tough defensive play. He is 2nd in hits with 66 and sports a good +9 rating on an Oil Kings team out of the playoff picture. Won't be counted on to score goals, but can move the puck well enough with 17 assists in 27 games.
33 25 Ron Meighan - Peterborough Petes
Almost as opposite a defenseman from Stelnov as you can get, their draft positions will be determined by team needs. Meighan's strength lays in his shot, where he fired successfully at a greater than 10% clip, one of the higher rates among blue liners. Not physicaly, though, only 16 hits, though his -5 rating is more a reflection of his team than him.
34 27 Tony Tanti - Kamloops Blazers
Finally, healthy, Tanti has almost reached last year's totals in goals and points. He has a good shot, uses it well, and is one of the fastest guys on the ice. He has a stellar +14 rating, but still doesn't initiate the play much. With his skill-set, he could become a top 6 forward.
35 86 Evgeny Shtepa - Kamloops Blazers
From barely ranked to a mid-second rounder, Shtepa has been a revelation this season for the Blazers. With 12 goals and 11 assists in 31 games, there are others who are more prolific scorers behind him. However, Shtepa is a competitor. Of his 12 goals, 4 have been game winners, 2nd most in this class. Also has 3 power play goals.
36 21 Dave Donnelly - Medicine Hat Tigers
A bit of a one-trick pony, Donnelly has 14 goals on just 45 shots for a remarkable 31.1% shooting accuracy. He doesn't shoot a lot, but he's darn good at it. If he is going to make it in the NFHL, though, he has to develop in other areas. He has just 9 assists and well over 100 PIMs already. If he can develop some toughness without building up his penalty minutes, he could be pretty valuable. If not, he may fall into the 3rd round.
37 80 Hannu Virta - Medicine Hat Tigers
Injuries have hampered Virta's season, but he may be one of the top five defensemen in the draft. Despite missing 7 games already, Virta is tied for 3rd in goals with 6, half of them with the man advantage, and is one of only 4 defensemen in the class with a shorthanded goal as well. A full season would have him among the points leaders for defensemen.
38 NR Paul MacKinnon - London Knights
Another player bursting on the scene out of nowhere, MacKinnon was given a chance and he has grabbed it and isn't looking back. 4 goals and 17 assists for 21 points in 28 games is good production. Has a little bit of sandpaper, but plays it clean. However, some deficiencies in his defensive zone play as indicated by his -10 rating. Needs to shore up that part of his game if he doesn't want to find himself falling out of the picture again.
39 72 Joe Cirella - Sudbury Wolves
The last of the purely offensive blue liners in the draft, Cirella has 7 goals already, with 3 of them coming on the power play. That is only -1 on a bad Sudbury team is a bonus. He also has laid out his share of hits and likes to shoot. Not great with the puck, but he can launch them.
40 75 Scott Bjugstad - Edmonton Oil Kings
Having a solid year with 11 goals and 12 assists, but has played in just 25 games. Bjugstad has been a beast on the power play, notching 4 goals there and is one of the leaders in shots per game. Unfortunately, his injury will keep him out a lot longer, so his ranking will drop further. Decent talent, but durability will be questioned.
41 45 Gord Shervin - Hull Olympiques
27 points in 31 games should have a player rated higher, but there are some major questions about Shervin's commitment and drive to be a pro. His ability to handle the puck isn't one of the questions as he has 20 assists. However, he has just 7 goals, despite 60+ shots. More startlingly is that he barely has that many hits! He has 8 hits in 31 games. It is hard to ignore the points he is putting up, but if he doesn't show a little more drive to his game, he may drop well into the 3rd round. The 2nd half of the season will tell the story.
42 24 Bobby Carpenter - Kamloops Blazers
A little buzz saw, Carpenter flies around the ice seemingly shooting whenever he can. He is in the top ten in shots with 80, but certainly could use some work on his selection as he shoots with less than a 14% efficiency. His tremendous speed, though, keeps him a threat while killing penalties as he leads the way with 2 goals while down a man and also boasts a +8 rating. A little bit more offense than his 19 points and Carpenter would find himself in the upper reaches of the 2nd round.
43 22 Jamie Macoun - Saskatoon Blades
His 22 assists ranks him 3rd among blue liners and shows he can do things with the puck. However, his stock plummets because he has no goals, zero. He never had a good shot, but now isn't even trying it seems. Blades aren't lighting the world on fire but his -8 rating is certainly hurting his stock as well.
44 41 Jim Benning - Hull Olympiques
Continues to develop offensively. After 6 goals and 19 assists last year, he already has 5 goals and 15 assists midway through this year and that is with him missing 6 games. However, it is those missing games and a dreadful -15 rating that have scouts concerned. The second lowest plus/minus rating doesn't lend much confidence to GMs that you can be more than a specialist to waste a 2nd round pick on. If he can work on that in the 2nd half of the season, he should remain a solid 2nd rounder.
45 50 Greg Stefan - London Knights
46 56 Rick Zombo - Edmonton Oil Kings
47 29 James Patrick - Ottawa 67's
48 NR Pat Graham - Shawinigan Cataractes
49 71 Marty McSorley - Shawinigan Cataractes
50 51 Chris Valentine - Chicoutimi Saguineens
51 NR Perry Anderson - Peterborough Petes
52 NR Jay Miller - London Knights
53 40 Jan Erixon - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
54 NR Randy Boyd - London Knights
55 79 Mats Thelin - Peterborough Petes
56 17 John Vanbiesbrouck - Sudbury Wolves
57 73 Steve D. Smith - Ottawa 67's
58 NR Jean-Marc Lanthier - London Knights
59 32 Rich Chernomaz - Sudbury Wolves
60 52 Mark Hunter - Kamloops Blazers
61 34 Kevin Griffin - London Knights
62 43 Luc Dufour - Edmonton Oil Kings
63 NR Darrell May - Shawinigan Cataractes
64 47 Marc Habscheid - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
65 19 Grant Ledyard - Saskatoon Blades
66 NR Mike Blaisdell - Shawinigan Cataractes
67 NR John Newberry - Medicine Hat Tigers
68 65 Jiri Dudacek - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
69 38 Jan Ingman - London Knights
70 67 Steve S. Smith - Sudbury Wolves
71 20 Clint Malarchuk - Shawinigan Cataractes
72 NR Rick Laferriere - Edmonton Oil Kings
73 16 Norm Schmidt - Kamloops Blazers
74 63 Richard Zemlak - Sudbury Wolves
75 48 Miroslav Horava - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
76 12 Tom Kurvers - Kamloops Blazers
77 NR Mickey Volcan - Edmonton Oil Kings
78 NR Darren Eliot - Sudbury Wolves
79 NR Dan Bourbonnais - Shawinigan Cataractes
80 64 Moe Lemay - Chicoutimi Saguineens
81 NR Peter Sundstrom - Kamloops Blazers
82 53 Dave Hannan - Kamloops Blazers
83 82 Claude Loiselle - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
84 NR Paul Guay - Chicoutimi Saguineens
85 84 Robert Nordmark - Hull Olympiques
86 35 Tom Hirsch - Peterborough Petes
87 NR Dave Richter - Peterborough Petes
88 69 Dean Kennedy - Medicine Hat Tigers