1985 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 Wendel Clark - Forward - Edmonton Oil Kings
If you need a play maker, Clark will not likely be your top pick.  But if you want someone who scores and hits and fights, well you can't do much better than him.  Clark led everyone in his draft class with 32 goals last season, which was also 5th best in the entire league, and his 116 hits were far and away more than any other player, forward or defenseman.  He did play on a strong Oil Kings team, which certainly helped his +17 rating, but he is still strong in his own end thanks to his aggressive pursuit of the puck.  He works well on the power play, again using his strength and intensity to get the puck in front of the net, but he still needs to shoot more.  He has a bullet shot and it is deadly accurate.  If he had 30-40 more shots last season, much along the lines of the top point getters, he would have won the goal scoring title.
2 Brent Gilchrist - Forward - Kamloops Blazers
  The draft class' top point getter, Gilchrist was also one of just 3 players to hit the 30-goal plateau last season.  While Clark and Craig Simpson are more or less pure shooters, Gilchrist has shown much more in the way or puck distribution skills as he was the only one of the trio to have more assists than goals.  He was especially dangerous on the power play, scoring more than half of his goals there and setting up many others.  He's not overly physical, playing a lot on the perimeter, but he skates well enough to get in and out of the dangerous areas.  Defensively, he is adequate, but his positional play is still developing.  He may not be as flashy as others in this draft, but he does the little things that teams need to win.
3 Craig Simpson - Forward - Ottawa 67's
Simpson is the purest sniper in the draft with the potential to be a top goal scorer in the NFHL.  Part of it is because he simply loves to shoot.  He had almost 200 shots as a 16-year old and should easily eclipse 200 shots as he gets more first line minutes and time on the power play.  Simpson is not physical, but he goes to the tough areas and isn't afraid to get hit.  He operates well in front of the net, scoring 16 times on the power play, but odesn't create plays, he finishes them.  While he isn't the greatest skater, he knows how to get down the ice and anticpates the play as good as anyone.  He has shown a great ability to play defense and can be trusted in all situations.  
4 Sean Burke - Goalie - Medicine Hat Tigers
  1985 looks like it will be the year of the goalie.  There are several franchise-caliber goalies available with Sean Burke showing the most promise at this time.  Burke was one of six underager goalies to play at least 59 out of 60 games for their club and led all of them with 37 wins.   His .891 save percentage was easily the best of the group and his 3.23 GAA was only 2 points behind the leader.  This all while playing the 2nd most minutes of any of the other goalies.    Burke uses his big frame to cover a lot of territory, but also has tremendous reflexes.  He needs to work on his net movement, but he has all the skills necessary to work into being a #1 goalie in the NFHL in the not too distant future.
5 Curtis Joseph - Goalie - Kamloops Blazers
There is not a lot to choose from between Burke and Joseph.  While Burke has the size, Joseph makes up for it in his scrambling ability.  He is very quick around the net and handles rebounds well.  He also won the Memorial Cup this past year, something many put a lot of weight on.  He played in all 60 games for the Blazers and finished with a 3.21 GAA, tied for the best among his draft class comparators.  His .883 save percentage was second to Burke's, as were his 35 wins, though he did play more than 130 minutes more than Burke, the equivalent of more than 2 games.  Joseph looks to be a very solid consolation prize to any team looking for a potential starter but misses out on Burke.  And there are even more consolation prizes behind Joseph.
6 Mike Richter - Goalie - Sudbury Wolves
  Richter and Joseph had virtually identical statistics.  Each had a 3.21 GAA to lead the draft class and his identical .883 save percentage was second.  Of the six top goalies, Richter allowed the fewest goals, though only two, Burke and Joseph, played more minutes than Richter.  In those minutes, he picked up 2 fewer wins than Joseph and 4 fewer than Burke.  Richter did manage to take his Wolves right to the Memorial Cup before bowing out to the Joseph-led Blazers.  There are doubters to how high his ceiling is, though there is no doubt he has the capabilities and mental fortitude to be a quality starter at the next level.
7 Frederik Olausson - Defense - Ottawa 67's
The young Swede has the ability to control the game at both ends of the ice.  He doesn't play a very physicaly game, his 62 hits are a bit misleading, but he plays smart positionally and is a strong skater.  He also has great vision, which allows him to make smart plays and get the puck up to his forwards.  Not only out of trouble, but to counter attack quickly.  Olausson led all blue liners in the draft class with 51 points this year and his 40 assists were second for any position, doing that in just 54 games.  That was 5th among all defensemen.  His 11 goals was second and he showed a great aptitude on the power play where his vision and sharp, low shot were effective.  He doesn't project to be a high-scoring defenseman at the NFHL level, but he should be counted on to produce offensively and be effective in his own end.  Look for him to be a borderline top pairing defenseman, but he probably fits more as a 3/4 defenseman on a good team. 
8 Randy Burridge - Forward - Medicine Hat Tigers
  Burridge established himself as a great set-up man, leading the draft class with 43 assists, while collecting another 21 goals for 64 points, second to Brent Gilchrist's 66 points.  The knock on Burridge is his reluctance to get involved physically.   Granted hits can't be the sole predictor of a player's willingness to compete, the fact Burridge only registered 47 hits in 58 games is still a red flag.  However, Burridge is still able to produce in any situation.  He was the only forward to score at least one power play, one short handed, one game winning, and one game tying goal. 
9 Calle Johansson - Defense - Shawinigan Cataractes
Sweden has another defensive representative and one who looks like another potential top pairing partner.  Johanssen plays a very similar game to Olausson, though may have a slightly more offensive bent to his game.  Johansson likes to play the puck more than Olausson and especially likes to join the rush.  His defensive game can suffer as a result, though his +8 rating on the worst team in the league does paint a different picture.  It may be that his non-aggressive nature and the fact he works harder on offense than defense leads pundits to put down his defensive play.  However, despite how good he is offensively, and he is good, his defensive play may keep him on the second pairing rather than the top pairing.  Though no scout or GM is going to complain if they can draft a 2nd pairing defenseman who will contribute offensively for the next 15 years.
10 Bill Ranford - Goalie - Edmonton Oil Kings
  Ranford winds up the four goalies in the top ten and, while still projected as a starter in the NFHL, his high end skills are a slight step down from the top three.  In the exact same number of minutes as Richter, Ranford had a slightly higher GAA at 3.29 and his save percentage of .878 was 5 points lower.  However, he did have 34 wins and led his Oil Kings past the top ranked Tigers into the second round of the playoffs before losing to the eventual champion Blazers.  He may just be the type of goalie who plays better in the pressure situation of the playoffs than in the regular season.  Which may then catapult him up a few spots in the draft.
11 Joe Nieuwendyck - Forward - London Knights
Many scouts have him ranked highly in the top ten, but injury concerns have Central Scouting just outside the top ten.  His .43 goals per game and point per game were both 4th best among forwards.  Big guy who needs to work on skating, but is hard to move from in front of the net.
12 Sylvain Lefebvre - Defense - Sudbury Wolves
Lefebvre has a big, heavy shot that he uses frequently.  He is a deadly force on the power play, scoring 7 of his 11 goals with the man advantage.  He moves the puck well enough to quarterback the power play, but has proven to be able to play in almost any situation.  
13 Benoit Hogue - Forward - Kamloops Blazers
May be no more of a polarizing figure in the first round as some scouts are in love with his top notch offensive talents that saw him produce more than a point per game.  However, injuries and lazy, undisciplined play prevent others from putting him too high on their list.  Too much talent not to be a first rounder, but where in the round he ends up will depend on how he does this season.
14 Robert Kron - Forward - Kamloops Blazers
The third highest point getter in the draft class, Kron uses his speed to create opportunities and can be hard to contain hen he is streaking down the side.  However, he can be knocked off the puck easily and won't go into the tough areas.  
15 Mike Keane - Forward - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Keane has all the intangibles that Kron lacks, though he doesn't have the offensive skills.  That being said, he did pop in 20 goals and was almost a point per game player in his 55 games.  He is tenacious on defense, though he doesn't get physical.  He just hounds and hounds the opposition until he, more often than not, comes away with the puck.  He doesn't project to be a top line forward, but could make a career as a 3rd liner with some punch.
16 Ulf Dahlen - Forward - Kamloops Blazers
Dahlen has a great shot, though he needs to use it more.  Without his shot and his overall offensive capabilities, Dahlen doesn't offer enough.  He is weak on the back check and is too easy to knock off the puck.  However, with the puck, he is dangerous on every shift, especially on the power play, where his 12 power play goals ranked him just outside the top ten of all players last season.  Another big season like that may move him into the top ten despite his deficiencies.
17 Max Middendorf - Forwards - Shawinigan Cataractes
Despite missing 10 games, Middendorf managed 19 goals and just missed scoring a point per game.  He did take more than 300 minutes in penalties, though, and his 5 on 5 play is suspect.  However, his speed is a weapon while shorthanded.
18 Kay Whitmore - Goalie - London Knights
The fifth of the 6 underage goalies to play all games for their respective teams, Whitmore recorded a GAA of just over 4.00, but did manage to win more than he lost.  However, he was also in net for the Knights' first round sweep at the hands of the Blazers.  There is enough to suggest that Whitmore will make it to the NFHL in some capacity at some point, but it will be a long wait.
19 Craig Wolanin - Defense - Edmonton Oil Kings
A bigger defenseman with some pop.  He did miss 14 games this past season, so this year will be a true test as to whether he is a first rounder or not.  However, he had a +24 rating, good for 6th best in the NJFHL last season, while playing a relatively disciplined game.  He doesn't shoot a lot, but he can place it well, as his 9 goals testify.  He could really up his goals total, and make him that much more valuable if he shot as much as the true offensive defensemen in the league.
20 Nelson Emerson - Forward - Medicine Hat Tigers
The diminutive Emerson moves around the ice fast and can distribute the puck well.  He isn't big enough to get physically involved so spends a lot of time on the perimeter.  He does have a good shot, but, of the top 15 scoring forwards, he had the fewest shots on net.  He could score 20 this year, though that doesn't necessarily translate to the same production at the NFHL level.
21 Dana Murzyn - Defense - Ottawa 67's
Murzyn uses his size and intensity to play a steady, defensive game.  He did manage 8 goals and 39 points this year, respectable numbers to be sure, but that is not where his strength is or how he will make it to the next level.  His -2 rating is a bit concerning, but his 103 hits were tops among blue liners.  
22 Craig Duncanson - Forward - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
The final forward to eclipse the 20-goal plateau, Duncanson was one of the few bright spots on a poor Greyhounds team.  Duncanson finished with 22 goals and 46 points while playing in all 60 games.  However, no player may play more of a perimeter game than Duncanson as he had just 11 hits recorded all season.  That is a major red flag for most scouts and his +/- rating doesn't provide any sort of relief to the skeptics. Another big year will probably be needed to ensure he is a first round player.
23 Jim Sandlak - Forward - Kamloops Blazers
24 Jeff Finley - Defense - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
25 Kelly Buchberger - Forward - Ottawa 67's
26 Danton Cole - Forward - London Knights
27 Derek King - Forward - Medicine Hat Tigers
28 Daniel Berthiaume - Goalie - Saskatoon Blades
29 Gord Murphy - Defense - Kamloops Blazers
30 Rudy Poeschek - Defense - Chicoutimi Saguineens
31 Randy McKay - Forward - Edmonton Oil Kings
32 Tommy Sjodin - Defense - London Knights
33 Steve Chiasson - Defense - Ottawa 67's
34 Jeff Sharples - Defense - Saskatoon Blades
35 Bill Houlder - Defense - Kamloops Blazers
36 Dave Williams - Defense - Peterborough Petes
37 Dave Manson - Defense - Hull Olympiques
38 Petr Praisler - Defense - Chicoutimi Saguineens
39 Brad Dalgarno - Forward - Saskatoon Blades
40 Tom Chorske - Forward - Edmonton Oil Kings
41 Dave Thomlinson - Forward - Ottawa 67's
42 Bobby Reynolds - Forward - Chicoutimi Saguineens
43 Mike Berger - Defense - Sudbury Wolves
44 Eric Weinrich - Defense - Hull Olympiques
45 Paul Stanton - Defense - Edmonton Oil Kings
46 Jason Lafreniere - Forward - Kamloops Blazers
47 Shane Churla - Forward - Shawinigan Cataractes
48 Glen Seabrooke - Forward - Chicoutimi Saguineens
49 Rob Murray - Forward - London Knights
50 Yvon Corriveau - Forward - London Knights
51 Jiri Latal - Defense - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
52 Kelly Chase - Forward - Sudbury Wolves
53 Brad Lauer - Forward - London Knights
54 Jim Paek - Defense - Hull Olympiques
55 Jamie Huscroft - Defense - Peterborough Petes
56 Ken Priestlay - Forward - Saskatoon Blades
57 Lee Griffin - Forward - Peterborough Petes
58 Warren Rychel - Forward - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
59 John Druce - Forward - Edmonton Oil Kings
60 Herb Raglan - Forward - London Knights
61 Ken Baumgartner - Forward - Kamloops Blazers
62 Brian McReynolds - Forward - Shawinigan Cataractes
63 Dan Vincelette - Forward - Medicine Hat Tigers
64 Tim Sweeney - Forward - Saskaton Blades
65 Roger Johansson - Defense - Sudbury Wolves
66 Bob Beers - Defense - Hull Olympiques
67 Gord Hynes - Defense - Hull Olympiques
68 Dallas Eakins - Defense - Peterborough Petes
69 Chris Luongo - Defense - Shawinigan Cataractes
70 Hank Lammens - Defense - Medicine Hat Tigers
71 Donald Dufresne - Defense - Ottawa 67's
72 John Bryce - Forward - Chicoutimi Saguineens
73 Scott Metcalfe - Forward - Medicine Hat Tigers
74 Robert Burakovsky - Forward - Chicoutimi Saguineens
75 Guy Larose - Forward - Saskatoon Blades
76 Myles O'Connor - Defense - Ottawa 67's
77 Steve Gottaas - Forward - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
78 Jose Charbonneau - Forward - Saskatoon Blades
79 Todd Richards - Defense - Kamloops Blazers
80 Anssi Melametsa - Forward - Hull Olympiques
81 Dave Latta - Forward - London Knights
82 Jeff Serowik - Defense - Sudbury Wolves
83 Tom Draper - Goalie - Saskatoon Blades
84 Troy Gamble - Goalie - Edmonton Oil Kings
85 Alain Cote - Defense - Shawinigan Cataractes
86 Pat Jablonski - Goalie - Ottawa 67's
87 Tony Horacek - Forward - Edmonton Oil Kings
88 Bruce Racine - Goalie - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds