Although the NHL is currently locked out, youngsters in Juniors, the NCAA and Europe will be playing for NHL spots this season.
These youngsters are some of hockey's top prospects, and many of them will be eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft.
Some players are so talented that they are already slated to be top picks in the 2015 NHL Draft.
Depending on what scout you asked, there are at least four or five players who could be drafted first during the 2013 draft, so here are the top 50 undrafted prospects in hockey right now.
*There is no order to this list because it is not a power ranking.
Hunter Shinkaruk spent his 2011-12 season with the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL, where he appeared in 66 games, scored 49 goals and added 42 assists for 91 points.
The offensive forward narrowly missed out on eligibility for the 2012 draft, and he projects to be a first-round pick in 2013. He will be one of the top forwards in what is expected to be a forward-heavy first round.
Kerby Rychel is a member of the Windsor Spitfires, and he is a player who is a solid goal scorer. During the 2011-12 season, Rychel lit the lamp 41 times and he added 33 assists for a whopping 74 points.
He also racked up 54 penalty minutes for assorted fights and other physical play. He is a solid hybrid between a grinder and a skilled scorer, and his size of 6'0" allows him to hit with speed.
This Windsor Spitfire forward should go in the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft.
Adam Erne is currently a member of the Quebec Remparts and he is off to a great start in the 2012-13 season.
Last year, Erne scored 28 goals and he added 27 assists for 55 points, and so far he has five points in three games for the Remparts.
This highlight package does a great job illustrating all the tools that Erne has, including his clutch play in big games.
This forward is a surefire first-rounder for the 2013 draft.
Valeri Nichushkin is a Russian forward who currently plays for Belie Medvedi Chelyabinsk of the MHL. Nichushkin is a talented offensive forward who was a top player for Russia during the WJC-18 tournament in 2012.
He is a prospect who could go early in the first round, and this upcoming season will be crucial for his development as a pro player.
He has also been compared to Evgeni Malkin, and that makes Nichushkin a player to keep an eye on during the 2012-13 season.
Elias Lindholm, no relation to 2012 first-rounder Hampus Lindholm, is one of Europe's top prospects and he is already being touted as the next Peter Forsberg.
According to Goran Stubb, the European Director of NHL Central Scouting, Lindholm is a multi-tool player who resembles Forsberg.
"He's a complete package," Stubb told NHL.com. "He could very well be the next Peter Forsberg. He's an excellent skater and great competitor who gives it 110 percent on every shift. He can skate, score and pass and is physically strong even though he is a finesse-type of player."
Last season, Lindholm had 14 goals and 35 assists for 49 points with Brynas of the Swedish junior league, and he has a good chance of making more of an impact for Brynas during the upcoming 2012-13 season.
Rasmus Ristolainen is an offensive-minded defenseman for TPS of the SM-liiga, and he has a lot of skills. Ristolainen is a smooth puck-mover with amazing speed as an offensive defenseman.
He is a player who will continue to develop his craft this season, so don't be surprised if his stock rises during Central Scouting's midseason rankings.
Tyler Hill is a USHL project prospect, but his impressive size of 6'6" and 220 pounds make him worth the hype.
You can't teach size, and Hill will have enough time to develop his all-around skills to be an effective prospect.
Hill has the size to be a dominating power forward who crashes the net with speed and skill. During the upcoming season, Hill will skate for the Muskegon Lumberjackets.
Nick Sorensen is a prospect who could fly under the radar in a similar fashion to how Alex Galchenyuk did in 2012.
Sorensen suffered a season-ending injury and was limited to eight games last season for the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL.
During the games he played, Sorensen was a factor by scoring five goals and adding four assists for nine points.
The 2012-13 season will be an important one for the Danish forward because he will look to bounce back and prove that he is 100 percent healthy.
Jacob de la Rose is a nifty forward with good puck-handling skills, and a solid all-around two-way game.
The Swedish forward was described by the European Director of NHL Central Scouting as a "speedy two-way player who can pass and shoot at top speed."
This is an apt description as de la Rose uses his speed to create offense, but he is always able to get back into a sound defensive position.
Artturi Lehkonen, a forward who stands 5"11 and weighs 163 pounds, is another top European prospect from SM-liiga in Finland.
The Finnish forward changed teams over the summer, and he will be on an older team this season. Lehkonen scored 28 goals and added 26 assists for a total of 54 points last year for TPS.
This year, Lehkonen will suit up for Kalpa of the SM-liiga, and it should be a beneficial year for him as he prepares to increase his stock for the NHL Draft.
Anthony Duclair is a prospect from the QMJHL's Quebec Remparts, and he is also the former linemate of current Buffalo Sabres prospect Mikhail Grigorenko.
The 5"11', 160-pound forward has a well-rounded skill set, and he should have no problem building upon his success from last year when he scored 31 goals and added 35 assists for 66 points.
It would be great if Duclair could put on a little more muscle, but this skilled forward has enough time to develop his game before he even sets foot on NHL ice.
Ryan Pulock is a defenseman that could be drafted in the top 10 during the 2013 NHL Draft. Pulock is a speedy defenseman with great offensive instincts and a booming shot.
Last season, Pulock scored 19 goals and added 41 assists for a total of 60 points.
Thus far for the Brandon Wheat Kings, Pulock has scored two goals and he has assisted on seven others for nine points in five games.
This player has a lot of tools, and he could be a top-end power-play quarterback at the NHL level.
Curtis Lazar is a 6' 0", 190-pound center who currently represents the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL.
The Oil Kings' pivot managed to score 20 goals and assist on 11 others for 31 points during the regular season. During the postseason, Lazar was hot as he recorded 20 points in 19 games.
Lazar is off to a hot start so far in the WHL as he has already scored four goals in four games. If he can bulk up a little more, he is the type of player that Brian Burke would love to draft for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
As the video points out, his coach called Lazar an "intense Sidney Crosby" and Lazar may just live up to that comparison in due time.
Max Domi is the son of former NHLer and famed pugilist Tie Domi, but the younger Domi is a player who is more of a scorer than a scrapper.
Last season for the London Knights, Domi tallied 21 goals and 28 assists for 49 points. Although Domi is on the small side, he has a big heart and played a vital role for his Knights as a rookie last season.
After Domi puts another OHL season under his belt, he should be in a good position to get get drafted early in 2013.
Robert Haag is a Swedish defenseman with a lot of promise and upside.
After starting last season as a member of the U16 for MODO, he ended up on the MODO J20 team in the Super Elit league. Once there, Haag contributed four goals and 13 assists for 17 points in only 44 games.
This year, Haag started for the MODO's J20 team and already has six points in five games. This defender is really starting to take his game to the next level, and he should go early in the 2013 draft.
JT Compher is a forward from the USDP of the USHL and he had an average 2011-12 season. In 32 games, Compher scored 13 goals and had 14 assists for 27 points.
Compher is a two-way forward and had a respectable plus-11 rating last year for Team USA.
He is committed to the University of Michigan for the upcoming season, so how he reacts to NCAA hockey will affect how high, or how low, he is drafted in 2013.
Josh Morrissey is a defender for the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL. During the 2011-12 season, the rough and tough defender racked up 60 PIMS and also showed off his offensive side.
Morrissey has a solid point shot, and he was able to score 10 goals while adding 28 assists for 38 points. With so many solid forwards eligible for the 2013 draft, Morrissey could find himself dropping to the late teens or early 20s in the first round.
Jonathan Drouin is a member of the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL and he will be a teammate of Nathan MacKinnon. Drounin is a very intelligent hockey player with a great hockey IQ.
He reads the game well and is able to make plays by finding open men with the smallest amount of space. This year will be interesting for Drouin as there will be tons of scouts in the stands eyeing his aforementioned teammate.
Drouin should use this to his advantage to showcase his own talents and propel his own draft stock.
Andre Burakovsky is a very talented young Swedish forward with average size—6'0", 179 pounds—and he projects to be a late first-round pick.
Here is what TSN's Craig Button had to say about the dynamic forward.
Andre is explosive and powerful. His skating is excellent and he has the ability to challenge defenders, put them on their heels and make them vulnerable very quickly. He is the type of player who makes defencemen nervous because he is not only fast, but determined as and he will not back down from the competitive areas and is very difficult to deter.
He can come at you from anywhere on the ice and combined with excellent sense, he knows how to use it to gain those advantages. Good puck skills and can make plays at high speed and he is capable of beating you with a drive to the net or with a pass given the opportunity. He is a game-breaking type of player who plays when it matters and makes teams better.
Last season, Burakovsky scored 17 goals and added 25 assists for 42 points in 42 games with the Malmö J20 of the SuperElit league.
This was after Burakovsky was promoted from the J18 team where he scored 14 points in nine games. Burakovsky is a fast skater with a solid shot, and he could be a steal in the 2013 draft akin to Teuvo Terravainen.
Darnell Nurse is a player who is full of intensity. He is the exact type of player who a team like the Philadelphia Flyers or Vancouver Canucks would target because they are always looking for size and intensity.
Interestingly enough, Nurse has drawn comparisons to Flyers' captain Chris Pronger. In a THN report published in 2010, Nurse was already receiving praise and hype for his type of play.
He’s No. 25 on the Flyers, he’s a big blueliner who can skate and lord help you if you get near his goaltender. Chris Pronger? Not quite. Not yet, at least.
But defenseman Darnell Nurse of the Don Mills Flyers does study Philly’s Nastiest whenever he can. At nearly 6-foot-4 and 176 pounds, Nurse isn’t quite Pronger’s size, but give the kid some time: he’s only 15.
“He’s a pretty imposing guy, with his size and the way he moves on the ice,” said Don Mills coach Bob Marshall.
Nurse will skate for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL, and he is a player who could go late in the first round.
Taylor Cammarata is a forward who is coming off a rookie-of-the-year season in the USHL as a member of the Waterloo Blackhawks. Cammarata appeared in 60 games, scored 27 goals and recorded 42 assists for a total of 69 points as a 16-year-old.
This young forward has shown a lot of potential and skill so far, and it will be interesting to see what he can do this season as a 17-year-old.
Cammarata should be a surefire first-round pick in 2013 if he can keep up his progress from last season.
Nikita Zadorov is a sizable defender—6'5" and 229 pounds—who skates for the London Knights of the OHL. Zadorov is a feisty player who will drop the gloves on occasion, and he just made the transition from Russia.
This will be his first season in North America, so there is a lot to watch out for this season. If Zadorov can add some offense to his game, he will become a complete defender, but he still has a lot of upside and promise.
Zach Fucale is the starting goaltender for the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL, and he is one of hockey's top goaltending prospects. Last season, Fucale went 32-18-6 for Hallifax and he registered two shutouts.
This year, all eyes will be on Hallifax and their top star Nathan MacKinnon, but the extra eyes and scouts in the audience should give Fucale some ammunition to step up his game.
Hudson Fasching is a forward currently in the USHL honing his craft. Fasching is a solid two-way forward who can contribute offensively. Last season, Fasching scored seven goals and added 14 assists for 21 points.
He is a physical forward who plays in the dirtier areas of the ice, but he needs to round himself out more in order to rise up the draft board.
He is a a prospect that will really look to use this upcoming season to his advantage, but at the very least, Fasching could develop into a solid second or third line forward.
Ryan Kujawinski is a forward with a ton of promise, and he is on a team where he can fully develop to his potential. Kujawinski was a member of the Kingston Frontenacs, a team headed up by former Toronto Maple Leafs Todd Gill and Doug Gilmour, before he was traded to the Sarnia Sting.
Kujawinski is a very talented forward, and Coach Gill saw a lot of potential for the 17-year-old forward. He had this to say about the future 2013 draftee
"He's an unbelievable skater, he's a big man, he's at least 6-1, 190 pounds at 16 years of age, he gets around the ice very, very well, he's a great passer and has a bomb of a shot," is how Gill describes Kujawinski, who hails from Iroquois Falls, Ont., a 4 1/2-hour drive north of Sudbury.
"He has it all. When he matures into that body, he's going to be a scary individual to watch on the ice. I see him as a future star, not only in this league, but in the NHL.
When a 17-year-old has earned the the praise of former NHL-ers like Gill and Gilmour, you can tell that he has tons of potential and promise. Sarnia will provide the forward with some solid opportunities like the club did for Steven Stamkos and Nail Yakupov.
Madison Bowey already projects to be one of the top defenders selected in the 2013 NHL Draft, and it is because Bowey is a defender who has the complete package.
Bowey is a member of the Kelowna Rockets and he had a solid 2011-12 season. Bowey scored eight goals and added 13 assists for 21 points as a 17-year-old. He is an amazing skater, he has a good hockey sense and he has a booming shot and solid offensive skills.
This upcoming season should be a good test for the young defender as he prepares for the 2013 draft.
Learn this name now and tell your friends because once his stock rises, everyone will be on the Pavel Buchnevich bandwagon. The Russian forward had a very impressive year in the MSL as a member of Almaz Cherepovets.
The 16-year-old forward scored 15 goals and added 29 assists for 44 points in 45 games against competition up to two years older than him.
Right now, Buchnevich may be counted out because he is on the small side, but come June of 2013, he will prove the doubters wrong as he emerges as an early favorite for the 2014 NHL Draft.
Bo Horvat is another member of the London Knights to make the top 50 list, and he is a prospect looking to build off his success from 2011-12. The Knights forward scored 11 goals and had 19 assists for a respectable 30 points during his rookie OHL season.
This year, Horvat will look to make the next step as he prepares for the upcoming 2013 draft. He stands at an even 6'0" and weighs 200 pounds, allowing him to use his size when driving to the net.
This center really has the skills to make an impact at the NHL level, and he could be a successful two-way scorer.
If Eric Roy was old enough, he would have been good enough to be drafted in 2012, but the young defense will take advantage of the extra year he is spending with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL.
Roy is an offensive-minded defenseman with a booming shot, and that comes in handy when he quarterbacks the Wheat Kings' top power-play unit.
Last season, Roy scored 11 goals and added 42 assists for 53 points, and it is expected that this offensive defenseman will exceed his production during the 2012-13 season.
Will Butcher is a defenseman on the smallish side at 5'11" and 175 pounds, but he has time to grow into his frame.
Butcher represents the USDP in the USHL, and he is a player who projects to be a solid offensive defenseman and power-play quarterback.
Butcher possesses a decent shot, but his ability to dish out passes that thread the needle make him a very exciting prospect.
Bogdan Yakimov is a sizable prospect—6'4" and 201 pounds—and he has the potential to be a decent power forward center. Yakimov spend the 2011-12 season as a member of Reaktor Nizhnekamsk of the MHL and had a respectable season.
The Russian forward contributed 15 goals and added 10 assists for 25 points in 46 games. He also impressed at the 2012 WJC-18 tournament where he tallied seven points in six games.
Yakimov is a project prospect who will take some time to develop, but his size and offensive instincts make him worth the investment.
Seth Jones has already been named the best eligible defenseman for the 2013 NHL Draft, and has also been named as one of the most likely players to be selected first overall.
The Portland Winterhawks' defender has done a solid job of increasing his draft stock over the past few seasons, and it will finally pay off for him in June of 2013.
As a member of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program of the USHL, Jones had medaled multiple times in international play.
Jones is a well-sized defender at 6"3' and he only weighs 207 pounds, which enables him to fully use his speed to his advantage.
This defender has the whole package, and it will be interesting to see if teams target him very early in the draft.
Alex Forsberg is a center who plays for the Prince George Cougars of the WHL and a prospect who could rise up the draft board between now and the 2013 draft.
Forsberg was a first-round draft pick in the WHL draft back in 2010, and this youngster has been an impressive player for quite sometime.
Last year, the 5'10", 170-pound center scored 15 goals and added 25 assists for 40 points in 2011-12. He is a player who has tons of speed, and his scoring touch will help him at the NHL level.
Shea Theodore is a defenseman for the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL. He is average-sized, standing at 6'0" and only 170 pounds. Although he is a bit undersized, he is still young enough that he has time to grow into his body.
Theodore is an offensive-minded defender and a skilled passer. During the 2011-12 campaign, Theodore scored four goals and added 31 assists for 35 points.
This "A" skater is an impressive defender and should be a top pick in the 2013 draft.
Frederik Gauthier is a forward for Rimouski Océanic of the QMJHL. Gauthier was named as an "A-level" skater by the NHL's Central Scouting and has a lot of potential.
Gauthier scored 25 goals and assisted on 26 others for 51 points for Collège Esther-Blondin Phénix of the QMAAA last year. He is in his rookie season for Rimouski.
The young forward has solid size at 6'3" and 197 pounds, so he has the potential to be an impressive NHL forward because he is a solid passer and goal scorer.
Ian McCoshen is a defender for the Waterloo Blackhawks and he also made the NHL's Central Scouting A-list.
McCoshen is an underrated defender who has great size, speed and ability. He is listed at 6'3" and 207 pounds, and the Blackhawks defender has a great shot, which allowed him to contribute eight goals and 12 assists in the USHL last season.
McCoshen has the potential to rise up the draft board, but at the very least, he will be a late first- or early second-round draft pick.
Justin Bailey is a player who will skate for an impressive Kitchner Rangers squad during the 2012-13 OHL season. Bailey was named an A skater by NHL's Central Scouting and he will have a lot of expectations to live up to during the 2012-13 season.
At 6'3" and 190 pounds, Bailey is a sizable forward and Kitchner Rangers' bench boss and GM Steve Spott thinks he has the complete package in Bailey.
“What was most attractive about Justin was the raw ability and upside,” said Kitchener coach-GM Steve Spott. “His size and skill made him our No. 1 recruit. He’s first on pucks, he takes it to the net and he has all the ingredients of a top-six forward
With all the elite talent in the 2013 draft, Bailey could slip to the second round, but he still would be a steal at that point.
Steve Santini is a big defenseman—6'3" and 205 pounds—who is a fluid skater and skilled puck mover.
Santini will play for the USDNP in the USHL in order to further his development. He is a player who projects to be a second-round pick, but that position could be improved if he has a booming offensive year.
Jason Dickinson is a center who has a lot of upside for the Guelph Storm of the OHL. Last season, Dickinson scored 13 goals and assisted on 22 others for 35 points. He was listed as an "A" skater by NHL Central Scouting, and that indicates that he could be in the top 30 as a first-round draft pick.
There is a lot of talent slated to enter the 2013 draft, so I think an early second-round selection could be more likely for the Guelph Storm pivot.
Stephen Harper was named as a B-prospect by NHL Central Scouting, so that means he is a player who could be drafted in the second or third round.
Harper is a left winger for the Erie Otters in the OHL, and last season Harper scored 24 goals and added 11 assists for 35 points in his rookie season.
If Harper can have an amazing sophomore season, his draft stock will rise and he will have a better chance of becoming a late first-round draft pick.
William Carrier is a member of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in the QMJHL and a top prospect eligible for the 2013 draft. As an "A" skater, Carrier projects to go within the first 30 picks of the draft.
That seems to be a reasonable expectation for the Screaming Eagles forward who scored 27 goals and added 43 assists for 70 points in 2011-12.
If Carrier continues to produce at a point-per-game pace, he will have no problem getting drafted in the first round.
Anthony Mantha is a prospect for Val-d'Or Foreurs of the QMJHL and he is an "A" skater. Mantha had a solid 2011-12 campaign in which he netted 22 goals and 29 assists for 51 points.
Mantha is 6'3" and a strong skater who likes to be an offensive contributor. Internationally, Mantha helped Canada win a bronze medal at the WJC-18 tournament.
Overall, Mantha is another prospect from a loaded QMJHL that is prepared to take the NHL by storm come June of 2013.
Aleksander Barkov is a very talented Finnish forward who plays the wing and center. He missed the cutoff for the 2012 draft by two weeks, so expect Barkov to play his heart out in 2012-13.
Barkov was one of the most impressive players for Finland at the World Juniors Championship and was also the youngest in team history.
This skilled forward possesses one of the most impressive skill sets in hockey today and should go early in the first round.
Mirco Muller is a Swiss prospect who recently made the jump to North America to play for the Everett Silvertips of the WHL.
Muller has gained a lot of experience representing his country in international competition, and the defender split time between Kloten's U20 and U17 team in 2011-12.
In the WHL, Muller will be able to develop defensively and will benefit from a coaching staff that helped mold the 2012 NHL Draft's No. 2 overall pick, Ryan Murray.
Luke Johnson is coming off an amazing season with the Lincoln Stars of the USHL. Johnson, a 5' 11" center, scored at a point-per-game average in 2011-12. He tallied 20 goals and added 35 assists for 55 points in 55 games.
Johnson was one of the few skaters from the USHL to earn an "A" rating from NHL Central Scouting, and this prospect has the skills to live up to that rating.
Another year in the USHL should allow him to bump up his draft stock, especially when you consider the amount of players that have been drafted from the league in the first and second round of the NHL draft.
Connor McDavid won't be eligible for the 2013 draft, but he is one of the hottest prospects in hockey now. Selected first in the 2012 OHL draft by the Erie Otters, McDavid is the first 15-year-old to play in the league since John Tavares.
He is a player who is already being anointed as the No.1 draft pick for the 2015 NHL draft. Even the media is in love with this kid as Sportsnet's Jeff Marek thinks McDavid will be a bona fide superstar.
@tomurtznyr superstar— Jeff Marek (@JeffMarek) October 1, 2012
Keep an eye on this kid now because in two years, he will take the NHL by storm. Marek would even take this youngster over this year's projected No. 1 pick Nathan MacKinnon to build a team around.
@tomurtznyr McDavid— Jeff Marek (@JeffMarek) October 1, 2012
Mike McCarron is a a power forward prospect who has the size to be successful in the NHL. Standing 6'5" and weighing 220 pounds, McCarron has the build of a prototypical power forward, but he needs to add some offense to his game.
As a member of the U-18 team for the USHL, McCarron scored three goals and added 14 assists for 17 points.
Teams love to draft big players like McCarron because offensive skills can be learned and developed in the minors. McCarron is a "B" skater, so he is expected to go in the top 60, an an accurate spot for the Macomb, Mich. native.
Sean Monahan is a prospect who has been touted for the past few years, and he will finally enter the NHL Draft in 2013. Monahan has been a dominant player at the OHL level, and his blend of size and speed has helped him to be an effective offensive player.
Monahan spent the 2011-12 season with the Ottawa 67's where he scored 33 goals and 45 assists for a total of 78 points in 62 games.
This young forward has a lot of star potential and is expected to go in the top three.
Eric Comrie was named as a "B" goaltending prospect by NHL Central Scouting, and the Tri-City Americans netminder is looking to build off a strong 2011-12 campaign.
The American born netminder is 6'0" and 175 pounds, which is a good size for the young player who is still filling out his frame.
Comrie posted a 19-6-2 record with a 2.67 GAA and three shutouts in 31 games for the Americans of the WHL last year, and he will look to build off that success in 2012-13.
Nathan MacKinnon is the heir apparent to the No. 1 selection in the 2013 draft because of his amazing skill set.
There is a lot of hype for MacKinnon because of the comparisons that have been made between him and Sidney Crosby. Both are Nova Scotian, both grew up in Cole Harbour and both played hockey at Shattuck-Saint Mary's in Midget AAA.
MacKinnon is considered to be the complete package, like Sidney Crosby, because of his offensive instincts and amazing overall play.
Last season with the Hallifax Mooseheads, MacKinnon scored 31 goals and tallied 47 assists for 78 points in only 58 games.
This year is going to be huge for MacKinnon because all eyes are going to be on the NHL's next potential superstar.