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Friday, May 20, 2011

50 in 30: B2011DW's Honorable Mentions

Our honorable mentions made the first post lengthy, so we're going back to post the HMs so we can give them some love and have the labels to get them listed so this post doesn't fall through the cracks.

In the meantime, enjoy.

We'll have 40-31 for you soon, along with some Memorial Cup analysis as soon as we can break down the Saint John-Mississauga film.

Honorable Mention

Lucas Lessio, C Oshawa (OHL)- This kid is big and skilled. There is no questioning his size, speed and offensive prowess when on his game. But B2011DW watched him in a game in January and absolutely despised his compete level and general attitude in that particular contest. On one play, he was tripped, fell to the ice and then chirped at the referee all the way up the ice while his team took off on a 2-on-1. Had he hustled, it would have been a 3-on-1 and might have resulted in a goal. We have no doubt that this kid will appeal to some team because of his myriad hockey tools, but Bruins fans would be wise to cross him off their wish list- we don't see it happening. Even so, he's near the top-50 because of his potential upside and will likely be a second-rounder, maybe even a late-first. But if this draft is pick your flavor, B2011DW chooses to pass on him.

Shane McColgan, LW Kelowna (WHL) 01/01/1993
Undersized winger (5-8, 168- don't believe his listed 5-11 height on Hockey DB) from SoCal was seen as a potential top-10 coming into the season, but got off to a terrible start and never recovered in the court of public opinion. Will NHL scouts view him differently. One such talent evaluator expressed concern at McColgan's small frame and the fact that the kid likely has little to no room to grow. Tremendous skating and hands; erupts into overdrive in just a few strides and carves the ice with his edges like a maestro. Plays bigger than his size and has an edge to him even if often physically overmatched. The bad news for McColgan is that his production didn't take off after posting 25 goals and 69 points last year as a rookie. Illness started him slowly and though he recovered and heated up down the stretch with fellow mighty mite Zach Franko, it may not be enough for him to recoup a top-60 selection.

Adam Lowry, LW Swift Current (WHL) 6-4, 185 03/29/1993
Upside and bloodlines- that's the name of the game with the Swifty winger and son of former NHLer Dave Lowry. Hit a seismic growth spurt recently, so the coordination isn't there for this rough, knock-kneed skater. However, if scouts think he's going to improve the stride and footwork when he grows into his giant frame better, look out. Has good hands and works hard in the corners, throwing his weight around. His dad was a respected energy guy for the Canucks, Blues, Panthers, Sharks, and Flames- he played 1,084 games, so that's a legitimate competitor given that he never scored more than 19 goals in a single season (and went to the Stanley Cup finals twice with Florida in '96 and Calgary '04). The younger Lowry has the potential to be a better scorer than his old man if he can get faster. Keep an eye on this kid- he could be a good one.

Michael Mersch, LW University of Wisconsin (WCHA) 6-2, 200 10/02/1992
Not a great skater, which is what is keeping this honest, industrious and smart winger from having more buzz around him. One scout described him as being a premier guy above the waist...it's the legs that are holding him back. Tenacious and opportunistic; he only scored eight goals and 19 points for the Badgers this season, but his playing style reminds of Mike Knuble. Ugly stride, but goes to the net, fights off defenders for position and can make things happen. He hasn't been as productive as Knuble was at the same stage, but Mersch is the kind of guy you win with.

Kale Kessy LW Medicine Hat (WHL) 6-3, 190 12/04/1992
We keep hearing the phrase "poor man's Milan Lucic" with Kessy and we don't disagree, but does he have the skill level to bring the offense that Lucic has developed with the Bruins? He's certainly tough, but has been buried on a deep offensive for the Tigers. Also like Boston's power forward and leading goal scorer, Kessy was not picked in the WHL Bantam Draft, but just kept plugging away to grab Medicine Hat's attention and get listed/earn a shot. NHL teams love the big guys with legitimate toughness and upside...Kessy has it. As such, his draft position will likely reflect that kind of projection. Average skater, above average hands but very tenacious and tough- where will it land him? Our guess is top-60.

Scott Harrington, D London (OHL) 6-1, 200 03/10/1993
It was a very disappointing season for this defender who came into the year with hopes for a first-round draft grade by this time. Hasn't happened for him, but he's a good defensive defenseman with size and mobility. Just because he may lack the offensive vision and sense does not mean there isn't a place in the NHL for Harrington, but his stock will drop. Some we talk to still believe he has some potential, so we've got him hovering around the top-50. Probably higher than most, but too early to dismiss him altogether.

Gregory Hofmann, C Ambri-Piotta (SUI) 6-0, 170 11/13/1992
On pure talent and potential alone, Hofmann is closer to 50 than many. However, his body type is an issue- rail thin, and even more concerning for NHL teams is the lack of a desire to show a commitment by playing junior hockey. Creative, skilled player is your high-end finesse pivot who plays with a lot of determination and poise. But teams want to know that if they're going to draft a player he brings that same kind of determination when it comes to committing to the organization and showing a willingness to ride the buses. The NHL is so much more physical than anything Hofmann is used to, so he's going to slide.

Marek Tvrdon, RW Vancouver (WHL) 6-2, 190 01/31/1993
Remember this guy? He was one of the better-looking Slovak players in the draft discussion and was one of the first prospects we featured in our ever popular "A Guy You Should Know" series way back in September. Unfortunately, he seriously injured his shoulder, which shelved him for the season just about 10 games in and threw Vancouver's plans into disarray. He looked like a guy who was on the verge of vaulting up draft lists, so it will come down to the teams who saw him enough last year (at the U18 and other tourneys) and in the early going. He's a skater who can score and bang if he could just up the intensity and consistency. We believe that had Tvrdon stayed healthy, he would be firmly in the top-50 discussion across the board. He's got potential for a Curtis Hamilton-like pick this time around.

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