• PROSPECT-UPDATE ARCHIVE
The NHL Central Scouting Midterm Rankings for 2018 draft prospects were released on Monday -- an otherwise quiet day in the draft-eligible world, since there were very few games and no players qualified for this top-performances list.
There will be plenty of references to the Midterm Rankings here in the days and weeks to come. Historically, these rankings look very different from the final order released prior to the draft. Going through the North American list, a couple of things are evident. First, size still matters. Undersized players didn't do very well in these rankings, while bigger guys show up quite a bit.
The second thing to notice is the room for players passed over in previous drafts. Older prospects were once the exception, but now scouts realize that careers are longer and these players are much better options at age 19 than they were at 18.
Given Monday's lack of top-performances, it's time for an HDC spotlight. This week's player, Blake McLaughlin, is ranked No. 25 on the new North American list, but he might deserve to be top 20 based on his recent play. McLaughlin has sparked the Chicago Steel in January with three multi-goal games, including his first USHL hat trick.
The video below includes all of those goals and more. Notice how McLaughlin plays in all situations and is lethal on the power play, where he works from the left point. Above all, he is a great finisher with outstanding hockey sense. He has been fortunate to play on a very strong line with the Steel, but check out this video to see how much he creates on his own.