A year ago, Red Line Report was talking up German (Krefeld Penguins) winger Marcel Noebels as a late riser to the 2010 draft party after tearing it up at the World Under-18 B pool (Germany was relegated, but played their way back to the A group this year thanks in part to Noebels' efforts).
Even with the big production, the nice size and intriguing upside, not one of the NHL's 30 teams took a chance on him in 210 picks in Los Angeles.
Fast forward to nearly one year later, and Noebels is being talked about as a possible second-round selection. How does this happen?
To try and answer that, we'll jump in the wayback machine and share with you Red Line's scouting report on Noebels in the 2010 Draft Guide:
Noebels was listed at 103rd, had vitals of 6-3, 210 and had this one-liner: Big German tank with soft hands and touch.
Dominated the B-Pool World U-18s with 19 points in five games and was a prime force in Germany securing a spot in the A-Pool. Has excellent size/strength with a great frame to fill out but lacks leg strength right now. Needs to grow into his body and gain coordination but has soft hands for a big man. Shows nice 1-on-1 moves. Shields the puck well cutting to the net or cycling in corners but knocked off balance easily at times. Quick and agile for his size- can create separation in tight with quick turns and good foot speed. Creative passes displaying vision and passing touch. Works the boards well and likes physical contact- gets involved in the high traffic areas. Dogged determination on the forecheck. Shows good hockey sense in dropping back consistently to cover for wandering d-men. Has bad tendency to cut back across the grain with the puck just inside the offensive blue line and takes some big hits doing so. A true Red Line sleeper pick.
Projection: 3rd/4th liner with size/skills to help on PP.
Style compares to: Dave Moss
Bruins 2011 Draft Watch saw Noebels at the WJC in Buffalo and filed this report on him back in January:
Marcel Noebels, F 6-3, 210 Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)-- Nice size, with a wide-skating base. Offensively gifted-- has both a heavy shot and soft hands for making on-target saucer passes in his arsenal. Skating is rough-- slow first few steps and looks pretty awkward out there-- like a big man with the lumbering skating stride. Crashes the net and uses his size to gain position and leverage. Likes to fire the puck on net from the wing-- then drives in and grabs the rebounds. Surveys the ice well and has the ability to find his linemates. Will give and take the hit, but not a punishing physical player.
Overview: Not a bad performance from Noebels, and to be honest, I thought he showed enough that he would have been drafted last season. The skating is an issue, and perhaps he improved significantly from last year-- didn't see him to make the comparison, because Noebels was one of Germany's more effective and consistent forwards all tourney long. If I were on an NHL staff, I would have no problem using a late flyer on a player like Noebels because there is some upside there along with the size you can't teach. That said, you can teach the skating aspect, so get him signed on for power skating lessons, and he could get on track.
Now, here we are in May, and the Hockey News has him rated 53rd in their draft preview issue. That's right- projected second rounder. After no one stepped up to the plate a year ago.
We're hearing that because he's in North America and banging around in some pretty tough hockey rinks out West, Noebels erased concerns teams had about his dedication and willingness to come over and play hard/compete for an NHL job. He's also been pretty productive on a non-playoff team with 28 goals and 54 points this season with Seattle.
If ever there was a literal application to a scouting fishing story about a big one getting away, Noebels would be it.
He won't slip through the draft ignored again. Second round may be high, but you never know with his size and the flashes of his offensive ability. Third round seems like a no-brainer if he doesn't go top-60.