1989 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 Mats Sundin - Forward - Ottawa 67's
  The lanky Swede is the class of the class.  He isn't the swiftest of skaters, but he has a a big body and can protect the puck well.  But give him a little space and he will make you pay.  He can see the ice better than anyone in this draft.  He is a gifted distributor of the puck, almost registering an assist per game during his 16 year old season.  But he has a terrific shot, too.  He scored 29 goals last season, just 3 off the lead for this draft class, but he may still have more to give.  Sundin is a franchise player and going into this season, he is the clear cut number one draft pick.
2 Mike Craig - Forward - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
  Mike Craig had a terrific 16-year old season, leading the draft class with 32 goals, a full half of them coming on the power play, where he also led the class.  Craig is not a flashy player by any measure, but he knows the game and is able to be in the position where pucks will go.  More of a peropheral player, Craig relies on his ability to make himself almost disappear on the ice before appearing in scoring position.  He does need to get stronger to be able to play with men, but that is normal with any teen.  Craig didn't have a lot of talk about him before this season, so another strong performance in his draft year will certainly help quiet his detractors.
3 Niklas Lidstrom - Defense - Medicine Hat Tigers
  Realistically, it could be a 1-2 Swedish draft as Lidstrom presents a tantalizing opportunity for a team to build from the blue line.  Lidstrom is as smooth as they come.  He isn't big, but he has a high hockey IQ and is able to use his body and stick effectively to knock players off the puck.  He is always in the right position.  Offensively, he led all defensemen in this draft class with 33 assists and 43 points, and was one of just 3 blue liners with double digits in goals.  He controls the play, regardless of which part of the ice he is on.  He may need a coule seasons of conditioning to get ready to play against men, but there is no reason Lidstrom can't come to the NFHL and impact it for the next decade and more.  This is the type of blue liner you build a franchise around.
4 Wes Walz - Forward - Medicine Hat Tigers
  Walz was a beneficiary of many gifts from Lidstrom, but you still have to have the skill to do something with the puck once you get it.  And Walz showed scouts that he had that skill last year.  He doesn't project to be a prolific goal scorer, but he did manage 24 goals in 60 games playing against 17 and 18 year olds.  Walz shows a keen eye for the net and the ability to almost disappear and reappear where the puck is.  Of his 24 goals, a full half were on special teams, 11 on the power play where he was often found sneaking in the back side.  That being said, he is better with the puck on his stick, where he dished out 47 assists, just 3 back of Sundin.  He is tenacious and throws his body around almost carelessly, but still manages to play disciplined.  Walz looks to be a good complementary player.  One who can play with top players, though maybe doesn't drive the play.  Is he a top 5 player?  This season will really be the test.
5 Greg Johnson - Forward - Chicoutimi Saguineens
  When you lead your draft class in goals, you are going to get noticed.  When you score more than 30 of them before your draft year, you are getting noticed.  Johnson had 31 goals to lead his class, with 11 coming on the power play.  And that is why he comes in at #5 in the rankings.  Otherwise, Johnson plays a game that may not draw a lot of attention.  He isn't big.  He isn't fast.  He doesn't drive the play or play spectacular defense.  But he shoots the puck well and that is something valuable to have in the NFHL.  He has a lot of work to do to be a regular top line player, but he will always be given a chance if he continues to fill the net.
6 Stu Barnes - Forward - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
  No one questions Barnes' compete level.  Barnes is a blood hound with the puck in a similar vein to Walz.  He will simply not stop during his shift.  He will skate you into the ground and hit you whenever he can, just to get the puck.  And when he has the puck, he has decent skill.  He potted 24 goals and finished with 66 points, better than a point per game.  And even in the NJFHL, that isn't something you can look past.  However, there are 2 areas of concern.  First, his defensive play isn't up to par with Walz or other top forwards.  And then there is his size.  He isn't short, but he is slight and the way he flings his body around gets scouts concerned about his long-term durability.  He won't be a top line player, either, though he could quite easily slip into a top 6 role or at the very worst as a 3rd liner with some offensive pop.
7 Derek Plante - Forward - Ottawa 67's
  Plante plays a similar game to Barnes and has similar issues.  He is a smaller player, but finds ways to get involved in the play.  He managed 26 goals and 40 assists last year, which puts him tied for 3rd in scoring in this draft class.  The one thing that separates him from Barnes is his physical play.  Plante is much more of a perimeter player, not one to really get physically involved in the play.  However, where he lacks in physical play, he almost makes up for with much more solid play away from the puck.  He has a deft stick and is able to use his speed on the back check to break up plays.  He is especially dangerous while short handed where his 3 goals while killing a penalty was tops in the draft class.  As with Barnes and even Walz, there is doubt as to the high end ability of Plante.  He looks to be a solid top six forward, but his draft year production will confirm, or deny, that.
8 Niklas Andersson - Forward - Kamloops Blazers
  Yet another Swedish entry into the top ten, Andersson looks to be a sniper in the making. In most drafts, Andersson likely wouldn't be in the top ten, but in a fairly weak draft, a shooter of his calibre should go relatively high.   His 28 goals is 4th in the class, though his 18 even strength goals puts him 3rd.  Andersson has shown the ability to play well  in any situation.  He had 8 power play goal and 2 shorties.  As with most Swedish players, he isn't a physical type player, preferrign to use his skating, stick, and smarts.  Again, not a high-end prospect, but if he can score close to, or exceed, 30 goals again in his draft season, he will go in the top ten and have a productive career in the NFHL.
9 Pavel Bure - Forward - Shawinigan Cataractes
  There is no player in this draft faster than Bure.  He is pure speed and puts defenses on their heels, and in a state of chaos, each time he enters the offensive zone with any sort of speed.  He can make blue liners look like pylons.  And goalies, too.  Because he has the hands to go along with that speed.  In fact, the only thing that can really stop the young Russian may be himself.  He may simply go too fast for his body and his durability, as a result, has suffered.  This past season, he missed 11 games.  If he had played those games, he would certainly be in the top five, and likely in the top 3 in this class.  His 27 goals was 5th in this class, but no one scored at a higher rate.  Of any player, Bure could see the biggest swing in his draft ranking.  A good first half of the season could see him fly to the top, while another injury-plagued season could see him fall out of the top ten.
10 Travis Green - Forward - Hull Olympiques
  Another gamble, Green plays and almost opposite game to Bure, but shares the inability to stay healthy.  Green also like to have the puck on his stick, but whereas Bure is a get up and go type player, Green is more cerebral and like to take his time to set up his teammates.  Green registered 33 assists last season, which already puts him in 8th in this class.  But he also missed 15 games, a rate that would have put him in the top 3 or 4 in assists and points.  Green has also shown tremendous promise as a checker, meaning he could be a pretty valuable player that could play and down any team's lineup.  The question is if he can stay healthy, though.  As with Bure, this first half of the season will tell a lot about Green's future.
11 Kris Draper - Forward - London Knights
Draper is a hard worker and has shown a lot of promise as a set-up man.  He was one of just 5 players with at least 40 assists last season, but otherwise his offense is limited.  Looks to be more of a bottom six centre without some offensive improvement.  Defensive acumen is top notch. 
12 Scott Thornton - Forward - Shawinigan Cataractes
Thornton had almost a point per game in 52 games and combines it with a very aggressive game.  It can also be too aggressive as he takes more than his fair share of penalties.  But when he is on the ice, he is constantly in the face of the opposition.  Not a lot of offense to be had, though he does have some soft hands.  Similar to Draper, looks to be a bottom six forward but with a little pop.
13 Adam Foote - Defense - Peterborough Petes
With offense starting to take over the NFHL, more and more teams are going to start looking for big, tough, blue liners to help stem the tide.  Foote is that type of blue liners.  Not a lot of offense, though capable enough, his real strength is his….strength.  Smart and mean.  Could surprise and jump into the top ten if there are some disappointing results from those above.
14 Danny Felsner - Forward - Sudbury Wolves
It is hard to really predict much about Felsner as he hasn't shown any real strength or weakness to his game.  Which isn't necessarily bad, it just makes scouting difficult.  Felsner managed 21 goals, but most were with the man advantage, second in the draft class with 15 power play goals.  So, OK, one strength.  Otherwise, Felsner could end up being a top six or a bottom six.  Maybe he doesn't even make the show.  He will be carefully watched during his draft season.
15 Jason Woolley - Defense - Ottawa 67's
Woolley plays like a lighter version of Foote, but perhaps also with a little more offense to his game.  Woolley isn't shy on the ice and is willing to lay the body, or his stick, on anyone getting close to his net.  He has a decent shot, but he tends to default to the pass.  If he can develop his shot and add somore power play time, his value will only go up.
16 Patrick Juhlin - Forward - London Knights
Juhlin is a a bit of an enigma and we at Central Scouting will certainly be watching his draft year closely.  You can't ignore his 23 goals, though.  There is some talent there, but he plays such a perimeter game that there are certainly questions whether he can really play with men.  He has some good chemistry with Draper, though, so if he can put up close to 30 goals, he should go in the first round.
17 Bobby Holik - Forward - Sudbury Wolves
Holik plays a hard game and seems to love going into the corners and banging bodies or causing havoc in front of the crease.  He isn't just a banger, though, he is a solid offensive prospect.  He had 21 goals this past season, but we think he has more in him.  He is ranked to go in the second half of the first round, but he has the ability to produce more and a good first half of this draft season could see him leap into the top ten. 
18 Patrick Lebeau - Forward - Medicine Hat Tigers
NFHL Scouting has an affinity for players who will give it their all, injury be damned, to make a play.  Regardless of actual skill, work ethic is king to us and Lebeau has that in spades.  No one laid the body out more than Lebeau and his 112 hits.  But he still has enough pop in him to be useful.  He had 20 goals, including 2 while short handed.  He's a big body who can play and there is going to be a team happy to take him in the first round.
19 Robert Reichel - Forward - Peterborough Petes
Reichel may have the most natural talent outside the top ten, but there are enough deficiencies in his game that prevent him from being ranked much higher at this point.  Defensively, he is lacking in almost all aspects of the game.  Despite his talent, he does tend to go invisible for shift after shift and even game after game.  Like Holik, a solid start to his draft season could change his ranking drastically, but without some more consistency and improvements on defense, he remains a question mark.  
20 Mike Sillinger - Forward - Kamloops Blazers
Sillinger has shown the ability to be a one-shot threat, especially deadly on the power play.   He scored 10 of his 19 goals with the man advantage.  He isn't afraid to mix it up, but plays a very clean game, registering just 10 penalty minutes last season.  We aren't sure if Sillinger has enough of anything else to be much more than a power play specialist, though.  He is trending to be a solid 3rd liner who can help with the man advantage and move up the line up when required.
21 Aaron Miller - Defense - Chicoutimi Saguineens
Miller is a bit of a leap for the first round, but there is something to be said for a tough, stay at home defenseman.  Miller proved to be one of the best last season, finishing at +12, best rating among all draft eligible blue liners, and 86 hits, which was 4th best among blue liners.  Miller, though, has no offense, which is why he is down this far in the rankings. 60 games and he did not score a single goal.  Only 5 other blue liners failed to score a goal and none were regulars.  Could be a big red flag to teams unless he can do something about it in his draft season.
22 Bill Guerin - Forward - Chicoutimi Saguineens
Guerin is an intriguing prospect. He hasn't put up big numbers, failing to even crack 20 goals last season, but he has so much tantalizing potential.  He has decent size, a good shot, and very good speed.  He has played and scored on the man advantage and short handed, and likes to throw his weight around.  Really, his numbers should be better with these skills.  But some team is still going to take a flyer in him based on potential only.
23 Stephane Morin - Forward - Peterborough Petes
The only other player to hit the 20-goal plateau last season who isn't yet in the rankings, Morin will have to repear, if not improve, on his performance during his draft year to maintain his status as a potential 1st round selection.  Morin plaus an undisciplined game and doesn't offer much to off set his discipline issues outside of his shot.  But still, scoring 20 goals as an underager can't be ignored, even in this bad draft year.
24 James Black - Defense - London Knights
o Lidstrom.  Black rounds out the first round.  He is a no-nonsense defender, which means he plays a solid, unspectacular game.  To his credit, he does have a good shot and he manages to get it through crowds fairly well.  And he shoots a lot, blastign 139 of them last season, second only to Lidstrom among blue liners.  There is some chaos in his defensive game, though, which may hurt his draft ranking if he can't maintain his offense in his draft season.
25 Rob Pearson - Forward - Edmonton Oil Kings
26 Peter Kasowski - Forward - Saskatoon Blades
27 Jamie Heward - Defense - Shawinigan Cataractes
28 Mike Needham - Forward - London Knights
29 Rob Zamuner - Forward - Shawinigan Cataractes
30 Greg Andrusak - Defense - Peterborough Petes
31 Dan Lambert - Defense - Saskatoon Blades
32 Igor Korolev - Forward - Saskatoon Blades
33 Blair Atcheynum - Forward - Peterborough Petes
34 Jim McKenzie - Forward - Sudbury Wolves
35 Steve Larouche - Forward - Saskatoon Blades
36 Janne Laukkanen - Defense - Saskatoon Blades
37 Alexander Karpovtsev - Defense - Saskatoon Blades
38 Dan Bylsma - Forward - Hull Olympiques
39 Pat Murray - Forward - Ottawa 67's
40 Josef Beranek - Forward - Shawinigan Cataractes
41 Shawn Antoski - Forward - Chicoutimi Saguineens
42 Craig Fisher - Forward - London Knights
43 Jeff Marshall - Defense - Kamloops Blazers
44 Doug Zmolek - Forward - Hull Olympiques
45 Scott Pellerin - Forward - Medicine Hat Tigers
46 Trent Klatt - Forward - Hull Olympiques
47 Scott Daniels - Forward - Edmonton Oil Kings
48 Jeff Robinson - Defense - Chicoutimi Saguineens
49 Mike Rosati - Goalie - Peterborough Petes
50 Peter White - Forward - Sudbury Wolves
51 Kevin Haller - Defense - Hull Olympiques
52 Patrice Brisebois - Defense - Edmonton Oil Kings
53 Pat MacLeod - Defense - Kamloops Blazers
54 Tomas Forslund - Forward - Saskatoon Blades
55 Michel Picard - Forwards - Kamloops Blazers
56 Phil Von Stefenelli - Defense - Kamloops Blazers
57 Mark Astley - Defense - Shawinigan Cataractes
58 Claudio Scremin - Defense - Ottawa 67's
59 Kent Manderville - Forward - Chicoutimi Saguineens
60 David Emma - Forwards - Edmonton Oil Kings
61 Brent Thompson - Defense - Chicoutimi Saguineens
62 Brad Schlegel - Defense - Kamloops Blazers
63 Brett Harkins - Forwards - Shawinigan Cataractes
64 Ted Drury - Forward - Kamloops Blazers
65 Reid Simpson - Forward - Peterborough Petes
66 Sandy Moger - Forward - Saskatoon Blades
67 David Sacco - Forward - Medicine Hat Tigers
68 Daniel Dore - Forward - Shawinigan Cataractes
69 David Roberts - Forward - Edmonton Oil Kings
70 Dave Chyzowski - Forward - Ottawa 67's
71 Matt Martin - Defense - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
72 Bob Boughner - Defense - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds