18-year-old drawing comparisons to Francis

Eric Staal is the top-rated North American skater because of his playmaking abilities and strong two-way play.

Updated: June 19, 2003, 2:33 PM ET
By By Jim Wilkie | NHL Insider
Eric Staal is a can't-miss prospect, whether he's drafted first or not.

In what's considered the deepest NHL entry draft in years, Staal is the top-rated North American skater by the NHL's Central Scouting Service because of his playmaking abilities and strong two-way play.

"I guess I try to model my game around a player like Mike Modano," Staal told The Tennessean. "He's good at both ends of the rink, offensively and he's put out there in defensive situations."

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