By Kenny Lindberg
OHL Draft Eligible Update With the World Junior Championships over, and the NHL getting all of the excitement, let’s not forget about the junior ranks which currently contain many of the NHL’s future stars that should hear their names called at the Prudential Center in New Jersey in June.
The Central Scouting Service released their Midterm Rankings this afternoon, which makes this a great time to evaluate the 2013 draft class. While normally I would somewhat project teams to draft slots, with the season beginning on Saturday that would be nearly impossible to pull off so looking at Pittsburgh’s potential this season I will be previewing late 1st rounder possibilities that could even potentially slip to Pittsburgh’s second pick.
The next two players are more physical players similar to a Chris Kunitz type mold.
First is Justin Bailey from the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League. Bailey is an American product out of the Buffalo area has seen advanced progress in his skill set due to growing up in the Williamsville neighborhood usually populated with members of the Buffalo Sabres due to its higher end living, including former Penguin Matthew Barnaby, who was spotted talking with him following Kitchener’s latest trip to Erie. He comes right from the Barnaby mold as well being a force in the corners, yet also has a very sneaky scoring touch. Bailey was ranked at 37th in the midterm rankings, and could be higher if not for suffering a concussion early in the season. While the injury could leave question marks especially with all that Pens fans had to deal with concerning Sidney Crosby, that seems to be completely in the past as he looked very good in the games that I have watched him which have all been post injury. If his stock does not see a boost with the remainder of the season, I could see him sliding to the mid to late second round potentially allowing for the Penguins to draft him at a steal of a pick, however if his stock builds like I expect, the Pens may have to reach for him a little bit in the late first, or trade to the top portion of the second round to have a chance on him. The talent level is definitely worthy of the first round, however the concussion will likely drop him to the second round.
In the next couple weeks there will be some higher end goaltending prospects that I will be watching, and then bringing some more insight to you on them, as well as updates on Penguins Prospects currently in the OHL.