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Posted On Friday, 04.05.2013 / 4:41 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Prospecting with Central Scouting

NHL Central Scouting final meetings- Day 1

3:30 pm -- The most robust debate of opening day of the Central Scouting final meetings was the discussion of the prospects in the Ontario Hockey League. The scouts had high praise for several players listed high on the midterm ranking, including Sean Monahan, Darnell Nurse, Bo Horvat, Kerby Rychel, Chris Bigras, Ryan Hartman and Nikita Zadorov.

The scouts have been going at it pretty good today. It's amazing how much each scout can remember on each player, even during their cross-over viewings.

Some comments:

On Monahan: "Never quits; gave it 110 percent and played as well as he could on a bad Ottawa team. Eric Staal-like."

On Nurse: "What a season he had. Can play strong at both ends and plays with a great edge. Is also a great guy off the ice."

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Posted On Friday, 04.05.2013 / 9:10 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Prospecting with Central Scouting

NHL Central Scouting ready to roll

So the scouts are in place and we're ready to roll here at the board offices in Toronto. The final meeting to determine the top 2013 draft-eligible prospects is under way.

Scouts in attendance are director Dan Marr, along with Chris Edwards (OHL), Greg Rajanen (U.S.), Al Jensen (U.S./Canada), B.J. MacDonald (WHL), Peter Sullivan (WHL), Chris Bordeleau (QMJHL) and David Gregory (U.S./Canada). Jensen is also responsible for ranking the top North American goaltenders.

Rajanen was hired this season by NHL Central Scouting to cover the mid-Western region of the United States, including the United States Hockey League, Minnesota high schools and colleges. To learn more about the "New Scout on the block," click here.

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Posted On Friday, 04.05.2013 / 9:00 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Prospecting with Central Scouting

Back to business

NHL Central Scouting goes back to the drawing board this weekend when the top draft-eligible North American skaters will be ranked one final time prior to the 2013 NHL Draft on June 30 at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Headed by Central Scouting director Dan Marr, the 10 full-time scouts in attendance at the Toronto board offices will don their thinking caps for one final time to establish their final list of the top 210 North American skaters and 30 goalies. The five-day selection process begins Friday. From a separate location, the Director of European Scouting, Goran Stubb, will also offer his recommendations to Marr on the top 120-plus European skaters and 10 goalies.

The final rankings release will be made official later this month.

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.03.2013 / 11:37 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Top prospect Drouin dominates QMJHL awards

Halifax Mooseheads wing and top 2013 NHL Draft prospect Jonathan Drouin was named most valuable player, top pro prospect, personality of the year, and a first-team all-star Wednesday during the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Golden Puck Awards ceremony in Montreal.

Drouin had 41 goals, 105 points and a plus-48 rating in 49 contests for the Mooseheads in 2012-13.

In two seasons, he's produced 48 goals, 134 points and a plus-43 rating in 82 games. The 5-foot-10.75, 185-pound player had a 29-game point streak from Nov. 30, 2012, to March 15, 2013, collecting 26 goals and 65 points over that span.

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.02.2013 / 9:00 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Prospecting with Central Scouting

Remembering 'Life as a Scout'

In November, 2011, NHL.com had an opportunity to join NHL Central Scouting's Chris Edwards on a trip through Western Canada not only to view a few of the top prospects eligible for the 2012 Draft but gain exclusive access to "Life as a Scout."

"We're getting paid to watch hockey. Does it get any better?" Edwards told NHL.com.

In a span of 72 hours, and beginning in Regina, Sask., NHL.com accompanied Edwards to gain an exclusive first-hand look at the process of scouting and what it entails.

Edwards will be one of several full-time scouts attending the final scouting meetings this weekend in Toronto, offering his assessment of those players he has witnessed over the course of the 2012-13 season.

The 42-year-old veteran scout started as a hockey official in the Canadian Tier 2 leagues before moving on to the Ontario Hockey League. His experience eventually landed him a job in the officiating department for the NHL 22 years ago. There, he began shooting videos of prospects and amateur referees before having a sit-down with veteran officials John D'Amico and Wally Harris, using the video as a training tool.


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Posted On Monday, 04.01.2013 / 1:40 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Islanders sign Lee to entry-level contract

NEWARK, N.J. -- New York Islanders center Anders Lee has experienced the lowest of lows and the highest of highs in a span of three days.

On Saturday, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound junior at the University of Notre Dame experienced the disappointment of elimination from the NCAA Midwest Regional semifinals by fourth-seeded St. Cloud State. That ended any hope top-seeded Notre Dame had at reaching the Frozen Four.

Two days later, however, he signed a two-year, entry-level deal with the team that drafted him in sixth round (No. 152) of the 2009 Draft.

While Lee will not play for the Islanders against the New Jersey Devils on Monday at Prudential Center, he did join his teammates for their morning practice.


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Posted On Monday, 04.01.2013 / 1:30 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Bailey back from Saturday injury, in Isles' lineup

NEWARK, N.J. -- New York Islanders forward Josh Bailey, who suffered a neck injury on Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, will be in the lineup on Monday when his team faces the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.

Bailey was forced to exit Saturday's 2-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the 16:23 mark of the second period after taking a hard hit behind his own net from left wing Chris Kunitz.

"I feel good," Bailey told NHL.com. "I was a little nervous at first, and had to kind of gather my thoughts. I felt it in the neck right away and anytime you feel it in the neck, you get a little nervous."


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Posted On Monday, 04.01.2013 / 11:08 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Zubrus to return to Devils' lineup Monday

NEWARK, N.J. -- Left wing Dainius Zubrus will make his anticipated return to the lineup on Monday when the New Jersey Devils play host to the New York Islanders at Prudential Center (7 p.m. ET, MSG PLUS 2, MSG PLUS).

Zubrus, who underwent surgery to repair ligament damage in his left wrist on Feb. 14, has missed the past 26 games. He's been skating on his own since mid-March and practiced with the team on Monday for the first time since he last played on Feb. 5 against the New York Rangers at Prudential Center.

"I feel good, it's been a while," Zubrus told reporters after practice. "I think I have [my stamina] back. After about 10 days after my surgery I was able to work out, so I feel like I'm in pretty good shape. I know getting back in a game situation is a little different since you battle guys and push guys, so that adds a lot more work, but it's not going to be the first time I've ever done this, so I think I'll be OK."


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Posted On Thursday, 03.28.2013 / 11:38 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Shoulder injury sidelines Barkov

The top draft-eligible prospect from Europe on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list, center Aleksander Barkov of Tappara in Finland, will be sidelined indefinitely with a shoulder injury.

NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb told NHL.com that Barkov sustained a shoulder injury on the first shift of his team's playoff game against IFK Helsinki on Wednesday. Tappara earned a 3-1 victory to take the best-of-7 series, 4-1.

"He will probably miss rest of the season," Stubb told NHL.com. "The injury will not affect his [high] draft status."

Barkov finished the regular season with 21 goals, 48 points and a plus-18 rating in 53 games for Tappara. He produced four assists and a plus-3 rating in five playoff matches.

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Posted On Saturday, 03.23.2013 / 1:22 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Panthers search for season-long win streak

NEWARK, N.J. -- The Florida Panthers have an opportunity to win three consecutive games for the first time this season when they visit the New Jersey Devils on Saturday at Prudential Center.

The only other time the Panthers entered a contest having won the two previous matches was Feb. 5 when they dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to the Winnipeg Jets. Florida has defeated the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers in the opening two games of this five-game road swing.

"We're looking at the first period and everything is short-term snapshots," Florida coach Kevin Dineen said. "It's been nice to have a couple days off where we can sit on a victory; it makes a tremendous difference. Rest comes easier when your mind is at ease."

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