In the mid-term draft rankings NHL Central Scouting has forward Patrick Kane (London Knights) fourth among North American skaters. Hard to figure. The rumbles in the scouts' room in Kitchener last night where the Knights played the Rangers: Kane's the best draft-eligible player out there.I couldn't agree more. Kane was terrific at the world juniors last month, and has put up a ridiculous 53 goals and 123 points in 50 games in his first major junior season with the London Knights.
It stands to reason that CSB has him low. CSB has James Van Riemsdyk (the US u-18 program) ranked No.2 but he didn't get on the ice at the world juniors, while Kane played on the first line and didn't look out of place. Fact is, he and Kyle Okposo (U Minn and NYI 2006 draft) were easily the most impressive forwards on the US side.
If anything, my guess is that it's his size holding him back from the top spot, but you have to wonder if that old-school bias will still hold true given all of the success smallish players have been having in the NHL recently.
As for where he'll go, well, the Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, Columbus Blue Jackets, Chicago Blackhawks, Phoenix Coyotes and Washington Capitals are all going to be in the lottery territory. Here's a kid who can stop in and play this fall as an 18-year-old, and a few of the aforementioned teams already have quite a few of these young phenoms among their ranks. (Speaking of which, if I'm among that 25-29 grouping, it's time to tank the rest of the season and grab a better seeding for what is not a very deep draft.)
It all makes you wonder: Are there any future Pittsburgh Penguins scenarios brewing? And what, exactly, would it take for the Flyers to make a dramatic turnaround next season?
What I do know is that the Buffalo Sabres would love to get their hands on Kane, one of the few hockey prospects to have ever come from the much-maligned city.