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SLEEPER CITY
published 06/04/13 8:23am
A versatile winger with good upside, Marko Dano is one of several youngsters that may surprise at the NHL Draft.
Photo: Keith Hamilton / Icon SMI
Multiple player rankings for the NHL Draft are available through various services every year, and while they do give a good idea of how the selections may go, it's no guarantee. Especially since NHL teams have their own amateur scouting outfits. That said, by the time the June 30 NHL Draft rolls around, there are a few talented draft-eligible players that will surpise and end up being drafted earlier than most will have predicted. We check out a handful of potential candidates:

1. Nicolas Petan, C, Portland (WHL)

Is a supremely gifted playmaker with plenty of creativity and setup skills. His intelligence goes a long way in all three zones. Competes very intensely, even against much bigger opponents… Is quite small and thin, so he must get bigger and stronger in order to maximize his scoring output at the highest level. Is only an average skater, too, so he may struggle to produce as a pro… Creative, yet diminutive playmaking center with upside.

2. Anthony Mantha, RW/LW, Val-d'Or (QMJHL)

Is a natural goal-scoring talent with great size and instincts for putting the biscuit in the basket. For a big winger, he skates very well, too. Displays great hand/eye coordination. Can play either wing position… Needs to work on his play at the defensive end of the rink and also his game-to-game consistency. Must fill out his big frame in order to maximize his scoring potential at the highest level… Big goal-scoring winger with good upside.

3. Artturi Lehkonen, RW/LW, KalPa (SM-Liiga)

Is at his best with the puck on his blade, as he is an excellent puckhandler and boasts very good hockey sense. Can score goals or set up his linemates with equal aplomb… Lacks ideal size for the National Hockey League game, and already has dealt with concussion issues. Isn't a great skater, either, so he needs to prove he can score in North America… Talented scoring winger with upside.

4. Marko Dano, C/RW, Slovan Bratislava (KHL)

Owns a great shot, elusive skating ability and a lot of creativity on offense. Is versatile enough to play either center or wing, and he's especially good when shooting from his off-wing (right)… Doesn't have a big frame (5-11), so he needs to get stronger in order to play an effective game in North America. Also lacks offensive consistency, while the rest of his game is only average (at best)… Versatile scoring forward with upside.

5. Anton Slepyshev, LW, Salavat Yulaev Ufa (KHL)

A dynamic winger with great hands and slick moves, he also has a very projectable 6-2 frame for the National Hockey League game. Is also capable of playing a complementary role… Needs to work on on his play without the puck and improve his defensive-zone coverage. Must also learn to use his big body more. Also, is he interested in playing in North America?... Slick winger with upside.

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