The 2006 Draft had a pair of very talented college forwards go in the top five. Jonathan Toews, the current captain in Chicago, went third overall while Phil Kessel went fifth to Boston. The current draft isn't quite as rich, but Jordan Schroeder is a dynamic offensive player - and one whose numbers are rather similar to Kessel's during Kessel's draft year. Both played for the University of Minnesota.
The sixth part of my draft preview series looks at the handful of top forwardprospects playing U.S. college hockey.
- Jordan Schroeder: 30G – 75A – 105PTS (5th NA)
- Mike Connolly: 25G – 48A – 73PTS (206th NA)
- Jared Festler: 23G – 33A – 56PTS (112th NA)
- Jordan Murray: 14G – 11A – 25PTS (176th NA)
- Justin Florek: 20G – 12A – 32PTS (81st NA)
Jordan Schroeder is an incredible talent, a player whose only real weakness is the fact that he stands 5'9". He's a dynamic offensive producer, but he's also reasonably competent in his own end, playing on the penalty kill. He can shoot or pass and his shot is generally described as "underrated" because he tends to be a pass-first player. Hockey's Future did a great profile of Schroeder. Even though he's small, THN quoted a scout who said it affects him less than it does other players because he's so strong physically. Schroeder's a dark horse to go in the top ten, and should certainly be gone by the time the 15th pick rolls around. A very good player with a bright future.
The Rest of The Group
It's a steep dropoff after Jordan Schroeder, but a few players could still be late round picks:
- Justin Florek brings size and a shooter's mentality, but his game still has significant holes.
- Jared Festler's small and didn't exactly light the world on fire this season, but he's been a legitimate scorer for three years now and might be worth a late round pick.
- Mike Connolly's ranked lower despite his fine offensive totals because he's an overage player (born in July of 1989) but he's had a fine transition from the AJHL to NCAA hockey. I don't think he'll get drafted, but even if he doesn't I would be very surprised if he doesn't show up at some team's summer camp.
- Jordan Murray's another small player, but unlike others on this list he isn't one who has put up strong scoring numbers, and I'd be quite surprised to see him drafted.