NHL Central Scouting released its preliminary players to watch list for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft on Monday (Sept. 23). Included were 28 players from the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game who are projected to be chosen in the first three rounds of the draft.
• CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game Players on Central Scouting List
NHL scouts provided comments on a number of players:
Forward Dylan Larkin
"Larkin skates well and has great closing speed, uses his body well," Central Scouting's David Gregory told NHL.com. "He has skill to make plays but is not afraid of using his body and getting physical in an attempt to gain puck possession. He's got good vision and playmaking ability."
Forward Sonny Milano
"Milano is a dynamic skater with good skill set; very good with the puck in traffic and can make a defenseman look silly," Central Scouting's Gregory said.
Forward Nick Schmaltz
"Schmaltz has such quick hands; he can skate with it at full speed and then pull it away from you," said Central Scouting's Gregory. "He's very smart. If you're playing with him, get ready for a pass; he makes passes others aren't seeing. He skates very well laterally and has a good defensive game."
Forward Ryan Donato
"Donato has unreal hockey sense and is really good with the puck," Central Scouting's Gregory said. "He plays in all situations and is one of those skilled offensive guys with good size. He can play physical in traffic and not be dominated."
Goaltender Thatcher Demko
"Demko’s a huge, strong goalie with excellent net coverage; he has that NHL presence in the net," Central Scouting's Al Jensen told NHL.com. "He is more of a positional-style goalie, relying on his angles and size. He plays big in his stance and when he drops in the butterfly, gets his body in front of a lot of shots. He's smart at reading the play and gets set quickly."
Goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic
"He's another very quick and athletic goalie; I like his drive and determination," Central Scouting's 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."
Goaltender Ed Minney
"Minney plays big in all situations, is so relaxed, calm and poised out there," Central Scouting's Jensen said. "He has excellent body control and balance when moving throughout the crease and making saves, has an excellent butterfly and great low net coverage, with his extended butterfly covering the lower portion of the net. His recovery and lateral ability is excellent."
Goaltender Blake Weyrick
"Weyrick relies heavily on his quickness and athleticism, which is excellent," Central Scouting's Jensen said. "He could turn out to be one of the quicker goalies for this year's draft. He has great lateral quickness, which gives him a good chance to make the huge save for his team, and has a very quick recovery. He's very determined, has a great work ethic and will only continue to get better. He'll be another very good prospect to follow this year."