Canada cuts a pair of promising prospects
Barring unforeseen events, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will be one of the first five picks and likely one of the first three in the 2011 draft. But he went away from the Canadian U-20 team's tryouts disappointed, cut in the final round.
RN-H wasn't the only one '93-birthday draft-eligible kid at the camp who was sent packing -- Kitchener's Ryan Murphy was sent home, but Murphy always seemed like a longshot to make the team. The conventional wisdom in the Hockey Canada braintrust: Murphy is too young, too small to compete with the best 19-year-olds, and too much of an offensive freelancer to contribute to the U-20 squad.
Those are something like the knocks on RN-H, but scouts thought he would have a decent shot at making the squad as the 13th forward -- an occasional injection of offensive creativity for a team that looks like it will struggle to score. And, in fact, having Murphy around for spot duty would make sense in the same way -- he wouldn't be your first choice to be on the ice defending a one-goal lead but you'd want him ahead of a few Ds who made the cut if you were down a goal.
Scouts are all about self-interest and they would have liked to see RN-H, Murphy and Sean Couturier playing in Buffalo. As it stands they'll only see Couturier, a late '92 birthday. We'll leave Couturier's evaluations for tournament time in Buffalo and just go with what the critics said about the two sent back to their junior clubs.
To read more about scouts' notes and Gare Joyce's stock watch of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Ryan Murphy, you must be an ESPN Insider.