1984 Draft Preseason 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.
Pre-Season Rank Player
1 Mario Lemieux - Shawinigan Cataractes
At just 16, this man-child finished 3rd in league scoring, finishing just a handful of points behind the two players who went #1 and #2 in this year's draft.  Lemieux finished with 82 points in 57 games and, barring injury, he should shatter those numbers this year.  He is easily the top rated prospect for the 1984 draft and is the first player scouts believe could come close, if not break, Wayne Gretzky's NJFHL record of 117 points.  Lemieux is the total package.  Big, can skate, a nasty shot, can get physical, and can make the best passes since....Gretzky.  With all respect to previous first overall picks, Lemieux is the first real franchise builder since Gretzky.  It is no wonder there is a glut of teams willing to tank this year to have a chance at a generational type player.  
2 Luc Robitaille - Hull Olympiques
  Robitaille may be the best pure sniper in the draft.  He tied for the draft class lead with 35 goals, shooting at a better than 20% rate.   He is more of a trigger man, especially deadly on the power play, but he can certainly set up others, too.  He isn't a natural passer, but he can do the job because he often has to as he draws a lot of defensive attention.  And despite all the attention to his offensive propensity, Robitaille also plays a strong defensive game and isn't afraid to get involved in the game physically.  In fact, his 148 hits was tops in the draft class.  In any other year, Robitaille would be the #1 pick.  This year, he will be a very good consolation prize.
3 Patrick Roy - Ottawa 67's
Patrick Roy is the best goalie prospect to ever come out of the NJFHL.  Roy was Goalie of the Year last year in the NJFHL as an under ager.  And it was his 2nd in a row?  He is easily the odds-on favourite to make it a three-peat and will become the highest drafted goalie in history, eclipsing Don Edwards going 4th in 1975 and Mike Liut also going 4th in 1976.  Most wouldn't be surprised to see him go #2 even.  Roy is the ultimate competitor.  He simply hates losing and puts in as much effort as he can into everything he does.  He has excellent rebound control and can move, some say flop, around the net like no one we have ever seen.  He just won't quit trying to stop the puck, no matter what he has to do.  It is unlikely Roy will be able to make the jump right to the NFHL out of junior.  Pro snipers are simply on another level to those he faced in junior.  However, whatever team gets him will have, in a matter of a couple seasons, a goalie who will anchor the position for 2 decades.
4 Steve Leach - Saskatoon Blades
  With the likes of Mario Lemieux and Luc Robitaille putting up big numbers, it was the unheralded Steve Leach who was actually the most deadly sniper of this draft class last year.  He matched the aforementioned duo with 35 goals on the year, but did it in 5 fewer games.  Leach was especially dangerous on special teams, scoring a devastating 21 power play goals, tops in the draft class, and 2 shorthanded markers among his 35 goals.  There is some concern with his dicipline ad he racked up 150+ PIMs, but doesn't use his body much, as shown by just 34 recorded hits.  He's a little too free with his stick, though that also means he likes to shoot.  And when you can do it as well as he can, teams are willing to work on or overlook that aspect of his game.  
5 John Morris - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Only Lemieux and Todd Elik recorded more assists than Morris' 40 last season.  Most were collected as he led the Greyhonds' power play, even collecting 20 of his 31 goals with the man advantage.  Morris has shown a willingness to use his body when required, but his defensive game needs work, as does his skating.  Morris came out of no where last season to finish in the top ten of league scoring, so he will be watched closely as the junior season starts to see if he can keep up that pace.
6 Kirk McLean - Shawinigan Cataractes
  The 1984 draft class is incredibly weak in terms of goaltender depth, but it does have a couple high end prospects.  Roy is obviously the cream of the crop, but Kirk McLean also looks like he could be a keeper.  He had 35 wins, 2 shut outs included, but his save percentage does raise some eye brows.  McLean faced more than 130 fewer shots than Roy but allowed almost 20 more goals.  Yes, he is being compared to the best goalie in the league, but it does show you the disparity between the top two goaltender prospects.  While Roy will be in the NFHL within a couple seasons, McLean is certainly a long-term project, but he still has the raw skills that will make him a very good back up goalie in the future, if not a starter.  #6 may be a bit high for McLean, but for a team that has the option to allow a goalie to grow on the farm, he could be a very solid pick. 
7 Todd Elik - Saskatoon Blades
The diminutive forward is slick with the puck, but his play away from the puck and in his own end has some scouts doubting he is a top ten player.  However, when you can put up 41 assists in 60 games, second only to Lemieux, there is some talent there that needs to be carefully watched.  Elik doesn't get much time on the power play, but can use his speed to drive defenses back and open up lanes.  However, his small stature also means he has some trouble handling the bigger forwards in his own end. 
8 Stephane Richer - Chicoutimi Saguineens
  Richer has the hardest shot in this draft class.  And he likes to unload it.  However, he just isn't very accurate with it.  Of the 15 forwards in the draft class with at least 20 goals, only 4 had a lower shooting percentage than Richer.  If he can get that aspect of his arsenal up a bit, he could be a very complete player.  He has shown he can move the puck well and he already has a good grasp of the defensive side of the game.  With a more deadly shot, he would even get more power play time, which would increase his PP goals total.  Richer is a smart, disciplined player and, if he can become a bit more consistent in his effort, he has the talent to be a top offensive player and a potential steal.
9 Paul Cavallini - Medicine Hat Tigers
While there isn't a lot of top end talent among the blue liners, there is a lot of depth.  Exactly the opposite of the goaltenders.  With all that depth, it is hard to select the top blue liner, but Paul Cavallini gets the nod after a solid offensive season last year.  He doesn't have the physical aspect in his game, but he has a good shot and can move the puck well.  He was tied for the lead in assists with 38 and was one of just 7 blue liners in his class to hit double digits in goals.  The first part of this season will really judge how good Cavallini is.  With a bad start, he could plummet down the rankings with how close so many of these defensemen are.  But a good start could really cement him in a top ten position.
10 Mark Tinordi - Shawinigan Cataractes
  If there is a defenseman who can pass Cavallini as the top ranked defenseman, Mark Tinordi has as good a chance as anyone.  Part of that is based on his style of play.  While he has a booming shot that he uses often, leading all defensemen in shots, he doesn't move the puck nearly as well as Cavallini.  But he adds a physical aspect to the game.  His 109 hits was 3rd among blue liners but, considering that, he was relatively well-disciplined with under 200 PIMs. 
11 Brad Jones - London Knights
Fantastic offensive year with 33 goals, 15 on the power play.  Finished better than a point per game but has defensive issues and tends to avoid going to the heavy areas.  Discipline a big issue.
12 Kevin Hatcher - Medicine Hat Tigers
Beast man on the back end has a cannon and likes to play rough.  Lacks a little mobility, but can get up the ice quickly when needed.  Needs to reign in aggressiveness a little.  Can be more effective when he is on the ice rather than in the box.
13 Cliff Ronning - Medicine Hat Tigers
A tiny pest, but the type of player every team likes to have.  Size is certainly an issue, but not to  him.  One of just 4 forwards with 100+ hits, while only taking 35 PIMs.  Scored almost 30 goals, half coming on the special teams.  Stock could rise if he learns to use his teammates better this season.
14 Michal Pivonka - Sudbury Wolves
Solid, but unspectacular point per game player.  Not physical, but a dependable player in any situation.  Probably won't be a top line player, but a very good second line player.
15 Kevin Miller - Edmonton Oil Kings
A slick play maker, Miller is a dangerous player with the man advantage.  Only Lemieux had more assists and more than half of his 20 goals came with the man advantage.  However, with a better shot, Miller would be in the conversation for a top ten pick.  His 10.8 shooting percentage was 3rd worst among any forward with at least 10 goals.  Considering he took more shots than any other forward, even a slight improvement could have a drastic effect on his numbers.
16 J.J. Daigneault - Kamloops Blazers
Not the biggest defenseman out there, Daigneault plays a lot bigger than his size.  He was second in hits, but played fairly cleanly with just over 100 PIMs.  He also has a little offense in his arsenal with the capability to play on a team's power play.  Not projected to be a top pairing blue liner, but a solid top four.
17 Petr Svoboda - Ottawa 67's
Cut in a similar mold to Daigneault, Svoboda plays bigger than he is, but has a little bit better offensive game.  Has a deceptive shot and is quick to release it.  Like most defensemen in this draft class, he projects to be a solid pro, but not a top pairing guy. 
18 David Volek - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Injuries stole 20% of his season, but Volek would have finished in the top ten in scoring.  This season will determine where he really sits.  But he has shown in 48 games last year that he can do it all offensively, while still playing a terrific defensive game.  He was devastating shorthanded, scoring 4 goals while down a man, and also showed a great talent for clutch scoring with 6 game winners.  Both led his draft class.
19 Mikael Andersson - London Knights
Defensive deficiencies have scouts very concerned.  Offensively sound, with a good shot and very good instincts.  Won't take penalties, but could be due to never really being in position or not trying hard enough.  Both are red flags for a player who scored almost 30 goals.  Could be a top ten selection, but could slip into the second round as well.
20 Sylvain Cote - Sudbury Wolves
All around defenseman that coaches can put in any position and know the job will get done.  Moves the puck well and has an underrated shot.  Won't get too physical, but plays a good positional game.  Smart player with high hockey IQ.
21 Ray Sheppard - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Like Volek, injuries took a toll on Sheppard's season.  His projected numbers over a full season, though, would have most scouts raving.  He scored better than a goal every second game over his 40 games and was well over a point per game player.  Skating is a huge issue, as is his play away from the puck.  But he is very good within 5 feet of the net, especially dangerous when on the power play.  
22 Doug Bodger - Saskatoon Blades
Scouts taking a real flyer on Bodger.  Played in just 38 games, but recorded 33 points and 73 hits.  Projected over a full season, Bodger would have led all blue liners in assists, points, and hits.  As dangerous at even strength as he is with the man advantage, the only real question with Bodger is if he can hold up for an entire season.  If he can, all of a sudden this draft class may have an elite level blue liner.  If not, he falls into the 2nd round.
23 Jeff Norton - Peterborough Petes
24 Brian Benning - Chicoutimi Saguineens
25 Brett Hull - Saskatoon Blades
26 Tony Hrkac - Edmonton Oil Kings
27 Gary Roberts - Ottawa 67's
28 Trent Yawney - Saskatoon Blades
29 Luciano Borsato - Chicoutimi Saguineens
30 Ed Olczyck - Edmonton Oil Kings
31 Bob Joyce - Edmonton Oil Kings
32 Mikhail Tatarinov - Edmonton Oil Kings
33 Philippe Bozon - London Knights
34 Scott Mellanby - Kamloops Blazers
35 Alan May - Shawinigan Cataractes
36 Kirk Muller - Peterborough Petes
37 Doug Houda - Peterborough Petes
38 Gary Suter - Kamloops Blazers
39 Marc Fortier - Chicoutimi Saguineens
40 Kris King - Chicoutimi Saguineens
41 Al Iafrate - London Knights
42 Paul Broten - Chicoutimi Saguineens
43 Marc Bureau - Edmonton Oil Kings
44 Steven Finn - London Knights
45 Craig Redmond - Sudbury Wolves
46 Robert Dirk - Kamloops Blazers
47 Jeff Brown - Edmonton Oil Kings
48 Todd Gill - Hull Olympiques
49 Bob Halkidis - Edmonton Oil Kings
50 Paul Ranheim - Kamloops Blazers
51 Todd Ewen - Edmonton Oil Kings
52 Nick Kypreos - Medicine Hat Tigers
53 Shayne Corson - London Knights
54 Ken Hodge - Edmonton Oil Kings
55 Paul Ysebaert - Medicine Hat Tigers
56 Steve Tuttle - Saskatoon Blades
57 Mike Peluso - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
58 Mike Stapleton - Sudbury Wolves
59 Mike Tomlak - Kamloops Blazers
60 Brian Wilkes - Chicoutimi Saguineens
61 Mark Kachowski - Edmonton Oil Kings
62 Shawn Burr - Ottawa 67's
63 David Mackey - Peterborough Petes
64 Alan Stewart - Shawinigan Cataractes
65 Jeff Chychrun - Saskatoon Blades
66 Terry Carkner - Edmonton Oil Kings
67 Tom Tilley - Shawinigan Cataractes
68 Jeff Jackson - Hull Olympiques
69 Mick Vukota - Shawinigan Cataractes
70 Brian Dobbin - Hull Olympiques
71 Emanuel Viveiros - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
72 Don Sweeney - Shawinigan Cataractes
73 Greg Smyth - London Knights
74 Brent Severyn - Medicine Hat Tigers
75 Peter Douris - Hull Olympiques
76 Al Conroy - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
77 Mike Millar - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
78 Larry DePalma - Hull Olympiques
79 Jim Agnew - Peterborough Petes
80 Mark Ferner - Saskatoon Blades
81 Ken Hammond - Medicine Hat Tigers
82 Dale Henry - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
83 Dave Saunders - Sudbury Wolves
84 John Stevens - Sudbury Wolves
85 Jim Thompson - Kamloops Blazers
86 Jeff Reese - Sudbury Wolves
87 Darcy Wakaluk - Medicine Hat Tigers
88 Dave Pasin - Sudbury Wolves