The NHL created the Central Scouting Service to aid teams in the draft process. With all the scouts NHL teams have all over the world under their own employ, and the fact that they have gone against what CSS ranks the past few years, one has to ask the question "have they outlived their usefulness?"
Over the past few years, more and more independent scouting services have been more accurate than Central Scouting. Even the rankings that have come out over the past few days, you have the independent services pretty much in line with each other while Central Scouting seems to be out in left field with some of their rankings.
Something in particular I'm looking at is the goaltending rankings from the OHL. Michael Houser of the London Knights isn't even in the top 8. When it became clear that Igor Bobkov (Ducks) was going to be joining the Knights, it was almost a given that Houser would once again play the back up role. But he got the start at the beginning of the season and stole the number one position and ran with it.
Many of nights he kept his team in a game when they were having trouble scoring, thus giving his team a chance. Isn't that all you can ask from a goalie? Especially on a team that, at times, was having a hard time scoring goals?
Houser was eligible for the 2010 NHL draft, and i said back then that he probably wouldn't get drafted because he didn't have enough OHL starts. If i recall, it was somewhere around 30 starts. Enter Michael Morrisson of the Kitchener Rangers, who will be in the same boat playing behind Brendon Maxwell for the 2011 entry draft. Yet he is ranked number 4.Morrison hasn't been directly responsible for a win on a team that almost seems to score at will on the pp in Kitchener. Yet i can think of at least 3 occasions where Michael Houser won games for the Knights they had no business winning.
Looking over at the WHL, i was shocked to see David Musil ranked at number 4. Coming into the season, he was almost the consensus number 4 pick overall. The number 4 ranking in the WHL puts him out of the top 10 overall, and quite possibly out of the top 15. Why? Because he hasn't shown improvement over last season. When you look at Musil, Scott Harrington and Dougie Hamilton, the three of them had the same question marks and what they would have to improve on this year.
In my opinion and in the eyes of many more, none of the three have shown the improvement needed from last year. All three have talent. All three have potential, with Musil having a little more than Hamilton, and Hamilton having a little more than Harrington. All three are capable of improving, but none has done it over last year. So why has Musil dropped as much as he did, while Harrington is pretty much in the same position and Hamilton sky rocketed?
I guess we will find out in the next few days as E. J. McGuire does interview after interview. In the meantime, the list is being dissected over and over in the media, by agents, players and bloggers all over, while independent scouting services are left scratching their heads at Tuesdays rankings.
One thing is for certain, the list will change and change a few times before June 2011. But if i was living in Las Vegas and was a betting man, I'd be looking more closely at some of the independent services lists like hockeyprospect.com, Red Line Report and ISS who, over the last few years, have been much more accurate than the NHL Central Scouting Service.
I guess that Central Scouting is placing all their eggs in one basket and trying to base it all on potential in some cases and ignoring the fact that some players just haven't shown the progression they need to show from one season to another. One need look no further than their own ranking guidelines and rating system.
To View Central Scouting's rating cards for defensemen, click here
For forwards, click here
For goaltenders, click here