Our first official draft ranking of the year will release in late November, but before that, let’s take a look at a few interesting names on this year’s list. These are all players that could potentially find themselves in the thick of the first round come the end of the season.

Peter Holland – C – Guelph Storm (OHL) – 6’2 – 190lbs – Shoots L – Jan. 14, 1991

Holland didn’t get as much ice time as he could have in his rookie year with Guelph last season, but he’s steadily showing what he can do in an increased role. When it comes to ceilings, Holland has one of the highest in this class. He brings solid size to the table, and uses it effectively in the boards. His puck protection and physicality are advanced for his age. Holland can skate, has a moderate offensive skill set, and isn’t afraid to get dirty in the boards or mix it up after the whistle. His intensity is reminiscent of a really old school player. As his role with Guelph continues to increase, he’ll have the opportunity to show more creativity with the puck and he should to continue to put up good numbers on a nightly basis. By the time this is all said and done, Holland could be a top 20 pick.

2008 Guelph Storm Stats: 16GP – 9G – 10A – 19Pts – 14PIM

Tommi Kivisto – D – Red Deer Rebels (WHL) – 6’1 – 192lbs – Shoots L – June 7, 1991

Kivisto is a two-way threat at defense. He’s more than apt in his own zone, but also has the ability to skate the puck end to end, set up plays, and rifle the puck at the goal. Kivisto isn’t a prototypical two-way defenseman, he’s committed to playing defense, but his mobility puts him in a class of his own. He doesn’t force the issue offensively, and plays the game with an innate sense of calm and direction. Kivisto has yet to score a goal at the CHL level, but has exhibited a nightly consistency in his play. Many projected him to be a first-class power-play quarterback, but his lack of goals and hesitancy to shoot the puck, at least at this point, have dampened many of those claims. However, he just came to the CHL from Finland (6th overall in import draft), so a better judgment can be made after he continues to adjust to the North American game.

2008 Red Deer Stats: 17GP – 0G – 7A – 7Pts – 13PIM

Guillame Goulet – RW – Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL) – 5’9 – 161lbs – Shoots R – Oct. 16, 1990

Goulet is a prototypical skilled French-Canadian. The Laval native has an natural sense for scoring points and an extremely deep skill set. His size is an issue that will most likely push him to the late second round, but there’s no denying what he can do with the puck. He loves to shoot and create chances. He’s also not afraid to mix it up. Despite his small stature, Goulet will step down from no one. If he can continue to score goals for the Drakkar, he should move up in standing. Right now he’s still floating in the late second to early third round locale, but his skills and stats could move him up quickly.

2008 Baie-Comeau Stats: 16GP – 12G – 7A – 19Pts – 22PIM

Jimmy Bubnick – C – Kamloops Blazers (WHL) – 6’0 –180lbs – Shoots R – Jan. 19, 1991

Jimmy Bubnick is a great example of what makes a solid hockey player. This young center had a good rookie season for Kamloops last year and has broken out as a stellar commodity to start this season. Bubnick is a talented power-forward that can skate, shoot, hit and play good defense. The best part of Bubnick’s game, hands down, is his sniper-like shot. Bubnick can fire the puck from pretty much anywhere and create a scoring chance out of it. His vision and heads-up style of play allow him to drive to open areas and fire pucks on goal. Bubnick is another youngster in a transition to a bigger role. He has the natural aura of a leader and is a great presence on the ice. By the end of the year, he could find himself a top ten selection.

2008 Kamloops Stats: 17GP – 11G – 6A – 17Pts – 6PIM

Stay tuned for more teasers like this and our full draft ranking at the end of the month.