Scouting the top Saint John prospects

Updated: March 17, 2011, 1:07 PM ET
By Gare Joyce

The Saint John Sea Dogs occupy the top slot in the Canadian Hockey League rankings and it will be an upset if they don't make it to the Memorial Cup out of the Quebec league. Many of their players will also factor into the plans of NHL scouts through the end of the season.

The Sea Dogs are like a draft box store. No matter where your team is going to pick in June, Saint John will have a player of interest for you. I caught the Sea Dogs in Rimouski on Thursday, a 3-2 shootout victory for the visitors. It was a pretty competitive contest, possibly because at this point of the spring, players have nothing much to play for other than draft-stock and pride (you'd think that would be enough, but, then again, Saint John doesn't want to empty its tank having already clinched first place in the Q. The key to a long run in the spring will be having all their top talents healthy and fresh and in form.).

The fact that there are four potential first-rounders in this draft class in the Saint John's lineup is pretty exceptional. The Portland Winter Hawks have three (Sven Baertschi, Ty Rattie and Joe Morrow) and were well-represented last year (Ryan Johansen and Nino Niederreiter went comfortably in the top 10). Still, one scout in Rimouski quipped: "It makes you wonder if the other teams were drafting."