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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Take on Central Scouting Service Rankings

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, 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


  1. I believe Houser had a tryout with the Vancouver Canucks at the Prospects tournament in Pentiction as a Free Agent. I don't think CS is trying to sort out 92's not drafted at this early stage. They are trying to rank the kids that are eligible for the first time. The next rankings by CS includes all the US highschool kids as well. Just relax Dom. Things change a lot. Look how quickly Strome jumped just because he started the OHL season hot. He didn't even get an invite to the U18's or the Research Development Camp in August.

  2. Good stuff Dom, Keep it coming!!!
    Saxon Eric

  3. Actually, Houser is eligible for the draft this year therefore not a free agent. He was eligible for the draft last year, only making it by 2 days with his Sept 13 birthdate.

    He can only become a free agent when he is not eligible for the draft. This year '90 D.O.B are free agents and next year will be 91 D.O.B.

    As for only ranking the 92's, every statement issued by CS states they are ranking draft eligible players. And to be honest, i dont think any of the 92'a available would be ahead of the crop of 93's except Houser right now.

  4. Thanks SE. You know, your synopsis on HF Boards was pretty bang on. I have been on Murphys bandwagon for two years, but i think people take it out of context. I get asked every day, would ou take Murphy over so and so or so and so and i have never once said yes yet.

    The reason is that they are putting him up there with the the Larssons and RNH the Couturiers and even the Landeskogs.

    People have to get realistic about this. Yes i believe he is a top 10 pick, but as of yet he is not a top 4. Has he made improvements? Yes. But he has to keep improving on it. He's 20 games in and will have to show it for 40+ more games, the Play Offs and the Memorial Cup.

    Now, when people ask me if i would draft him before the Musil's and the Hamiltons of the world, then we can talk seriously.

  5. Sorry Dom but no where did I say that Houser couldn't be in the draft this year. He tried out as a free agent. Yes he can be drafted this year as he wasn't signed by Vancouver. I did say relax because there is a lot of time between this initial ranking and draft day. Murphy still may end up in the #1 spot with all your hype. He may not be playing for Boston though!