Breaking down CHL's top prospects

Jones, Zadorov among most impressive performers

Updated: January 22, 2013, 2:46 PM ET
By Grant Sonier | ESPN Insider

Seth JonesBruce Bennett/Getty ImagesSeth Jones, a contender for the No. 1 overall pick, shined at the CHL Top Prospects Game.

As the CHL's top prospects gathered for the annual top NHL prospects game, there was little doubt who the hometown Halifax crowd was cheering for. The QMJHL's Halifax Mooseheads had three of their young stars performing for Team Cherry as it took on Team Orr in a contest between the best of the NHL draft-eligible players in front of hundreds of scouts and excited fans.

The potential top three overall picks -- Nathan MacKinnon, Seth Jones and Jonathan Drouin -- were on the ice proving why they are elite. On this occasion it was Team Orr, Jones' team, who won 3-0 over the favorites, Team Cherry, who dressed the local talent of MacKinnon, Orr and goaltender Zachary Fucale.

While the game might have been overshadowed by the delayed start of the NHL season, it was not overlooked by the league's talent evaluators. Here is a look at the game's top performers based on my in-person observations from the event. Keep in mind that although it's been promoted the right way and players were fully aware of the NHL brass watching, my experience of coming to this event tells me not to be too hard on those who did not play up to par.

Seth Jones, D, Portland (WHL)
The 6-foot-4 defenseman has not missed a beat coming off his gold medal with Team USA at the recent World Junior Championships (WJC) in Ufa, Russia. His dimensional skating and overall skill, along with a very good head for the game, leave him in the argument for the first overall pick this June. His transitional passing and skating with the puck away from pressure were two of his most notable assets in this game.
Draft projection: Top 2


To see the rest of Grant Sonier's CHL Top Prospects Game breakdown, plus Insider's complete NHL coverage, sign up for ESPN Insider.