National Hockey League

NHL - With the season progressing further and further, the 2015 NHL Entry Draft is approaching rapidly. In the Zone will take a look at it and highlights this year’s most promising prospects in a series of six articles.

Photo Swiss Hockey News

Until the NHL Entry Draft, the following six articles will be published on

1) Midterm Draft Rankings
2) Final Draft Rankings
3) A-Level prospect: Timo Meier (June)
4) B-Level prospects: Denis Malgin & Jonas Siegenthaler (June)
5) Mid-to-late rounders: Fora, Suter & more (June)
6) 2015 NHL Entry Draft - McEichel and beyond (June)

This year's NHL Entry Draft will be held on June 26-27 at BB&T in Sunrise, FL. Players born between January 1, 1995 and September 15, 1997 will be eligible for selection in this year’s draft. Undrafted, non-American players born in 1994 and unsigned players drafted in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft will round out the draft class.

While there has been little movement at the top, Halifax winger Timo Meier has jumped up another two places and now is a top-10 prospect among North American skaters. He had a strong finish to his second QMJHL campaign and scored 44 goals (5th in the league) and 46 assists for 90 points (11th in the league) in just 61 games, followed by seven goals (3rd in the league) and five helpers in nine post-season games to date. While those stats may be inflated by line mate Nikolaj Ehlers (37g-63a-100pts in 51gp in the regular season, 6g-16a-22pts in 9gp in the play-offs), it’s still an impressive stats line all-around and shows how much he has progressed in the past eight months. At this point, he’s a sure-fire first round pick and will most probably go off the board in the top-15.

While Jonas Siegenthaler and Denis Malgin both keep their rating as “B”-prospects, both of them improved their ranking in the past months. Jonas Siegenthaler ends his first full pro season with three assists in 41 regular season games and two helpers in 18 post-season appearances. His strengths are his impressive size and good skating. He looks unbelievably calm and rarely loses a fight for the puck in the corner. Despite his impressive defensive game, he is only listed as a B-rated player due to his lack of offensive output. Even as a defensive-minded defenseman, his shot could be harder and more powerful. He has overtaken one defensive prospect (Sebastian Aho) and is now the fourth-best defenseman prospect behind Gabriel Carlsson, Jacob Larsson and Oliver Kylington (all playing in Sweden) on 12th place on the list of European skaters.

Denis Malgin climbs three spots (from 23 to 20) compared to the Midterm Ranking and now just cracks the top-20 among European skaters. He has convinced scouts that, while lacking size, he still can win battles along the boards and has an edge over opponents thanks to his superb puck handling and great hockey IQ. He split his season between the GCK Lions in the NLB (6g-6a-12pts in 24gp) and the ZSC Lions in the NLA (2g-6a-8pts in 23 regular season games, 4g-2a-6pts in 18 playoff appearances) and put up some impressive performances, while going completely unnoticed in other games.

Pius Suter enjoyed a good run at the end of the season and finished strong. In the end, his stats stand at 43 goals and 29 assists for 72 points in 61 games with the Guelph Storm. He is sixth in the OHL and scored just one fewer goal than Connor McDavid, Dylan Strome or Mitchell Marner (three top-5 prospects). He made a significant jump from 116 to 74.

Michael Fora (Kamloops Blazers) meanwhile had an unconvincing end to his season in the WHL and dropped 91 spots to rank 205 among North American skaters.

Other Swiss prospects (ranks among European skaters) include Roger Karrer (GCK Lions) at 75 (down 37 spots), Dominik Diem (GCK Lions) at 76 (down 9), Auguste Impose (Geneva Jr.) at 79 (down 6), Colin Fontana (Lugano Jr.) at 88 (no movement), Fabian Haberstich (Langnau Jr.) at 92 (down 13), Timo Haussener (Rapperswil Jr.) at 94 (down 20), Luca Hischier (EHC Visp) at 95 (down 15), Dario Meyer (Bern Jr.) at 99 (down 4), Yannik Burren (Bern Jr.) at 101 (down 10) and finally Calvin Thürkauf (Zug Jr.) at 118 (down 31).