Each week, International Scouting Services (ISS), Sports Management Worldwide (SMWW), Hockey Now, and The Pipeline Show recognize the Top Draft Eligible player from each of the WHL, OHL, QMJHL, & USHL leagues for the upcoming 2009 NHL Entry Draft based on their play over the course of the week. Players are nominated and the selected by graduates of the SMWW Hockey GM & Scouting with each of the winners receiving a gift acknowledging their selection.
In the OHL it's Nazem Kadri of the London Knights. The 6.01, 170 pound centreman is ranked 8th in the October scouting report from ISS. Kadri notched 3 goals and added 4 helpers for London in just 3 games last week. He's currently riding a 10 game point streak and has put up 17 points in the Knights first 12 games. Kadri was picked up from Kitchener (seen with Rangers celebrating a goal from last year's playoffs ) as part of the Steve Mason trade last year, but didn't join London until this season, giving him valuable Memorial Cup experience, something the Knights are hoping will come in handy as they make a run for their 2nd Canadian Junior Hockey championship since 2004.
In the QMJHL, defenceman Gabriel Lemieux of the Shawinigan Cataractes gets the nod after 2 goals and 2 assists in his last 4 outings. Aside from the point per game performance, Lemieux was plus 6, and has amassed 13 points in 15 games, which is only 3 shy of his totals from last year. Lemieux makes a good first pass and has above average vision, which has made him the 17th ranked Q league player by ISS for the upcoming draft.
In the Western Hockey League, while the Red Deer Rebels may be struggling with just 4 wins on the season, their top draft eligible player is having a terrific start to the season. Centerman Landon Ferraro scored 3 times, set up another in 4 games last week and was plus 2 for Jesse Wallin's Rebels. The 2nd overall pick from 2006 Bantam draft has a wicked shot and has used it to light the lamp 8 times this year while adding 6 assists in Red Deers first 13 games. The son of former NHLer and current TSN analyst Ray Ferraro, Landon may earn an invite to Canada's World Junior camp in December, and is projected to be a late first round pick in this June's draft.
In the USHL, it's a Canadian kid playing junior hockey in the states. Louis Leblanc of Kirland, Quebec could have stayed home and played with Val d'Or of the QMJHL, but seems to be leaning towards the college route and is suiting up with Omaha of the USHL right now. The move seems to be agreeing with the 17 year old. He sniped 4 times and added 3 assists in the Lancers 3 games last week, while compiling a plus 4 rating. Known as a strong skating, hard working centerman, Leblanc will have to bulk up his 5.11 170 pound frame before his next step in hockey, but the former midget hockey scoring (pictured with the Lac St. Louis Lions) star has still attracted plenty of attention from NHL scouts, and is currently ranked 27th by ISS for next June's draft in Montreal.
By the way, one of last week's award recipients, Brett Chartier of the Lincoln Stars will join Guy and I Tuesday night to discuss his season thus far. Chartier is ranked 16th among those playing in the States for the upcoming draft. The Pipeline Show can be heard Tuesday nights from 7-9 PM Mountain time on the TEAM 1260 in Edmonton, or online at www.thepipelineshow.com.