It was announced this morning that the first edition of the NHL Central Scouting Rankings for the 2011 NHL Draft that will be taking place in Minnesota next summer, and as expected Colin Jacobs was expected to be among the top players, but I think he even surprised himself when he cracked the top 10 in the entire Western Hockey League as he is one of the fastest rising players in the WHL Right now.
Thanks to a very strong road trip out East that just wrapped up with him getting a 3 point night against the Prince Albert Raiders and a 2 goal game against the Regina Pats where he almost got his first WHL Hat trick.
In all he has become a point-a-game player as he scored 18 points in 19 games so far this season and at 6'1" 205 pounds, he's beginning to get more comfortable throwing his weight around and becoming more physical around the boards, also looking to time his shots as he is starting to get more chances to impress on the Power Play as he plays the point to get the puck to the net.
Earlier this week, Colin Jacobs was featured on the NHL Website as he is looking to be the first ever 1st Round Draft Pick from Texas. And be among the first group of players from the Southwest to play in the National Hockey League, as well as continue to prove that Texas can be a strong state to produce hockey talent like California has in recent years when Beau Bennett and Emerson Etem were selected in the first Round last year.
In addition to Jacobs being ranked #10 in the WHL, he has a chance to move up even more with his great play. Also if he can do well in the post-season plus be able to make events like the IIHF U18 World Championships, which is one of the biggest tournaments for NHL Draft Eligible players.
This will help him out even more when spring time comes out and when the Final Draft Rankings come out in April. Keep in mind that the Major Junior Playoffs start in Mid-March and will lead up to the Memorial Cup which will be in Late May in Mississauga, Ontario this season.
As for the U18 World Championship, this year's tournament will be from April 14-24 in Germany as the Americans will look to win Gold for the 3rd straight year at this age level.
This season is already a big improvement to last season as the Thunderbirds won just 19 games last season and finished 9th only ahead of the Prince George Cougars who was easily the worst team in the WHL and one of the was compared to teams like Halifax for worst overall in the entire Canadian Hockey Leagues.
Jacobs wasn't the only Thunderbird either to make the WHL Top 25 so far, two of his teammates in Wingers Luke Lockhart who's at #12 and Marcel Noebels at #13 in the Western Hockey League also made the first list of the season.
At this point, who knows where Jacobs will go. But if the Stars have a chance to grab him in the draft and they feel it's a good fit. They should go for it, not only because he's a high quality player, but a chance to add a 2nd strong Local Prospect along with Austin Smith that could play for his hometown Stars in the near future, and a chance for him to make a big name for himself here in the DFW Area.
The next big question for Jacobs is how will he handle the pressure of being looked by scouts from all over the National Hockey League for the rest of the season.
Can he get in a position to possibly play for Team USA at the U18's this spring, what about a big WHL Playoff Run or some great eye grabbing moments that can make highlight reels and make scouts pay attention, well see how he does the rest of the season.
So far one of the best moments of the season for Jacobs came on November 2 when he had his great backhand goal against the Red Deer Rebels to help the Thunderbirds help beat the Rebels 4-1 which includes the top WHL'er in this year's draft class is Ryan-Nugent Hopkins which has easily topped the WHL List as many experts are expecting him to battle with Sean Courtier of the Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL) and Swedish Prospect Adam Larsson who plays for Skelleftea in the Swedish Elite League.
Click Here to see the Jacobs Backhand Goal against Red Deer on 11/2.
If your looking for the top players in the different leagues and European Rankings which are ranked by country. Here's the top's from the top 4 Junior Leagues in North America (OHL, WHL, QMJHL & USHL).
As for the top European Players, it is based from country, but I'm going to feature the top players from Sweden, Finland, Russia, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Switzerland. Theirs also a handful of players on here from places like Denmark and Norway as well.
Even these rankings will give us an idea of what to expect next summer in Minnesota. Theirs still a long way to go. Players can still get hurt, get traded or possibly come out of no where to rocket up their way to the charts.
A good example was Swiss Forward Nino Niederretier who had his coming out party at the World Juniors last season and rapidly climbed the charts to be a top 5 overall pick, and even got to play a handful of games with the New York Islanders before getting sent back to the Portland Winterhawks (WHL) to continue his development.
Because he plays in the WHL, he's not allowed to go to the AHL because of rules banning Junior Aged players not allowing them to play in the AHL until his Junior Years are up at age 20. If he were in the NCAA for instance, then he would be allowed to be at least in the AHL right now.
Want to read more on the NHL Central Scouting Rankings. Read the The Pipe Up Blog as the Pipeline Show's Guy Fleming discusses his Top 5 Suprises in the Rankings. Also don't forget to listen to the Pipeline Show tonight at 8-10 PM CST on The Pipeline Show as Guy Fleming and Dean Millard will talk more about the rankings.
Here's the top Players, click on the Players Name to see their Player Profiles
North American Leaders
Click here to see the full North American Rankings
Ontario Hockey League: http://www.ontariohockeyleague.com/
Top Skater: Gabriel Landeskog (Kitchener Rangers)
Top Goaltender: Jordan Binnington (Owen Sound Attack)
Western Hockey League: http://www.whl.ca/
Top Skater: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Red Deer Rebels)
Top Goaltender: Liam Liston (Brandon Wheat Kings)
Colin Jacobs Ranked #10 in the WHL
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League: http://www.lhjmq.qc.ca/
Top Skater: Sean Couturier (Drummondville Voltigeurs)
Top Goaltender: Christopher Gibson (Chicoutimi Sagueneens)
United States Hockey League: http://www.ushl.com/
Top Skater: Tyler Biggs (USNTDP)
Top Goaltender: John Gibson (USNTDP)
Click Here to see the Full European Rankings
Top Skater: Dmitri Jaskin (Slavia Prague JRS.)
Top Skater: Joel Armia (HC Assat Pori Oy)
Top Skater: Stephan Kronthaler (Landshut JRS)
Top Skater: Maxim Shalunov (Chelyabinsk 2)
Top Skater: Peter Ceresnak (Slovakia Nat U20 Team)
Top Skater: Adam Larsson (Skelleftea)
Top Skater: Dean Kukan (GCK Zurich)
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