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POSTED ON Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 3:53 PM

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

Cammarata receives multiple USHL accolades

Forward Taylor Cammarata of the Waterloo Black Hawks in the United States Hockey League on Wednesday was named USHL Forward of the Year and Player of the Year as determined by league coaches and general managers.

The 5-foot-7, 156-pound left-handed shot, who is No. 193 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top 2013 draft-eligible North American players, led the USHL with 93 points (38 goals, 55 assists) in 59 regular-season games.

"His smarts and creativity make him a good prospect," Central Scouting's David Gregory told NHL.com.

Cammarata's point total was the second-highest in the USHL Tier 1 era (2002-present), following the 104 points (54 goals) produced by Kevin Roy of the Lincoln Stars in 2011-12.


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POSTED ON Tuesday, 05.14.2013 / 12:56 PM

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

Nurse, Barkov to sit out fitness portion of Combine

Barkov
Nurse

Injuries late in the season and subsequent surgery for prospects Aleksander Barkov of Tappara in Finland and Darnell Nurse of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League will keep both players from participating in the fitness portion of the 2013 NHL Scouting Combine, scheduled May 31 and June 1 at Toronto International Centre.

Both players currently are rehabilitating from postseason surgeries and will attend the Combine to interview with NHL scouts and general managers during the six-day event that begins May 27. While both players will undergo medical examinations, they will forego any physical fitness testing.

Barkov, a center, sustained an upper-body injury on the first shift of his team's playoff game against IFK Helsinki on March 27 and was sidelined the remainder of the postseason. He had 21 goals, 48 points and a plus-18 rating in 53 regular-season games for Tappara. NHL Central Scouting's No. 1-ranked European skater had four assists and a plus-3 rating in five playoff games.


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POSTED ON Tuesday, 05.14.2013 / 10:43 AM

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

Elite 2013 draft prospects highlight Memorial Cup

Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones is anticipating one heck of a tournament this weekend when he heads an impressive group of top 2013 NHL Draft-eligible prospects at the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup.

Seth Jones, Jonathan Drouin, Nathan MacKinnon, NHL Draft (Getty Images / Halifax Mooseheads)

The event, hosted by the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League, will have the WHL champion Winterhawks, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Halifax Mooseheads and Ontario Hockey League titlist London Knights joining the Blades for a chance at winning the Canadian Hockey League's ultimate crown. The quartet of teams will play May 17-26 at Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

The tournament opens Friday when the Knights face the host Blades. Last year, the Knights lost the Memorial Cup final in overtime 2-1 to Shawinigan.

The Knights completed the four-team field Monday in dramatic fashion when center Bo Horvat, No. 15 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top draft-eligible North American skaters, scored with 0.1 seconds left in the third period to give his team a 3-2 victory against the Barrie Colts in Game 7 of the OHL championship series.

"You dream as a kid about scoring a goal like that in a Game 7," Horvat told Canadian Press. "I knew I had to get to the net and look for a rebound."

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 05.08.2013 / 10:51 AM

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

Drouin OK to play Game 4 of QMJHL final

Halifax Mooseheads general manager Cam Russell confirmed to NHL.com on Wednesday that top prospect Jonathan Drouin will be in the lineup Wednesday night when his team faces the Baie-Comeau Drakkar in Game 4 of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League championship series at Henry Leonard Centre in Baie-Comeau, Quebec.

The Mooseheads received a bit of a scare Tuesday when Drouin was involved in a knee-on-knee collision with Drakkar forward Alexandre Ranger six minutes into the second period. According to Willy Palov of The (Halifax) Chronicle Herald, Drouin grabbed his right leg in pain and left for the Halifax dressing room after the collision. No penalty was called on the play.

While Drouin, No. 3 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft, did not return for the remainder of the second, he did play in the third of an eventual 3-1 loss, Halifax's first of the postseason. The Mooseheads lead the series 2-1.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 05.07.2013 / 12:10 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Jones profile part of ESPN show

Seth Jones rapidly is becoming a cross-over star.

ESPN has a feature planned on Jones, NHL Central Scouting's top-rated North American skater in its final rankings, planned Tuesday on its "E:60" show.

The 6-foot-3.5, 205-pound defenseman, in his first season with the Portland Winterhawks of Western Hockey League, has five goals, eight assists and a plus-11 rating in 17 games as he's helped Portland reach the WHL finals, with a shot at a spot in the Memorial Cup a possibility. This comes after he had 56 points and a plus-46 rating in 61 regular-season games, and helped the United States win the gold medal at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Jones also has a famous father -- Popeye Jones was an NBA power forward for 11 seasons and currently works as an assistant coach for the Brooklyn Nets.

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POSTED ON Friday, 05.03.2013 / 3:33 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Top draft prospects leading teams in to CHL finals

Six teams are fighting for three spots at the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup, hosted this year by the Saskatoon Blades.

Leading those teams is a number of top 2013 NHL Draft prospects.

As NHL Network analyst Craig Button breaks down some of the top stars, among them defenseman Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks, NHL Central Scouting's top-rated North American skater, whose team will face Curtis Lazar and the Edmonton Oil Kings in the Western Hockey League final. The series begins Friday in Portland.

In the Ontario Hockey League, the London Knights will have forwards Max Domi and Bo Horvat and defenseman Nikita Zadorov leading them against the Barrie Colts. That series begins Friday in London.

And in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League final, the Halifax Mooseheads boast an incredible array of talent, led by forwards Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin, as well as Central Scouting's top-rated North American goaltender, Zachary Fucale. Their opponent in the league final, the Baie-Comeau Drakkar is led by forward Valentin Zykov. The series begins Friday in Halifax.

The Memorial Cup runs May 17-26, with the three league champions joining Saskatoon in the round-robin tournament to crown Canada's top junior team.

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POSTED ON Monday, 04.29.2013 / 1:51 PM

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

Lamoriello: Devils keeping 2013 first-round pick

New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello told reporters Monday the organization has decided to retain its first-round pick for the 2013 NHL Draft, which the Devils are hosting at Prudential Center on June 30.

In September 2010, the NHL fined the Devils $3 million and took away two high draft picks over the next four years for signing Ilya Kovalchuk to a 17-year, $102 million contract two months earlier that circumvented the League's salary cap.

The Devils forfeited a 2011 third-round pick and were told they needed to forfeit a first-rounder at some point over the next four years following the penalty.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 04.17.2013 / 4:18 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Prospects help CHL teams reach conference finals

With the Memorial Cup starting one month from Wednesday, the three leagues that make up the Canadian Hockey League -- the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the Ontario Hockey League and Western Hockey League -- have all reached their conference finals. And a number of 2013 NHL Draft prospects have helped their respective teams get to this point.

The conference finals in the WHL start first, with a junior-hockey version of the Battle of Alberta when the Eastern Conference Finals open April 18 with top-seeded Edmonton Oil Kings facing the Calgary Hitmen.

Aiding in Edmonton's effort to this point has been forward Curtis Lazar, No. 26 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of North American skaters eligible for the 2013 draft. A 5-foot-11.75, 193-pound center/right wing is fifth on the team with four goals in nine games. Lazar already has proven himself as a quality postseason player -- Lazar led all first-year WHL players with eight goals and 19 points in 20 playoff games last season to help Edmonton reach the Memorial Cup.

Helping Calgary's case has been forward Gregory Chase, No. 94 on Central Scouting's list. The 6-foot, 195-pound right wing/center is fourth on the Hitmen with seven points in 10 games.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 04.17.2013 / 12:37 PM

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

Hartman hoping to return sooner than expected

The pictures shared by numerous Twitter account holders of the ugly laceration on the right forearm of Plymouth Whalers forward Ryan Hartman led one to believe he would be sidelined the remainder of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs.

Hartman, the No. 25-ranked skater on NHL Central Scouting's midterm release of the top draft-eligible North American prospects, has other intentions.

Hartman informed NHL.com on Wednesday that his doctor told him earlier in the day there was no sign of infection. That means with continued healing, he could return to the lineup as early as next week.

"It looks good … I got half the stitches out [Wednesday]," Hartman told NHL.com.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 04.17.2013 / 12:19 PM

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

Invite numbers set for NHL Scouting Combine

Once NHL Central Scouting finalizes the rankings for the top draft-eligible North American prospects, the scouting staff will begin making preparations for the NHL Scouting Combine in Toronto from May 27 through June 1.

Central Scouting is anticipating 86 North American players, including the top seven ranked goalies, and the top 15 European prospects, including the No. 1-ranked goalie, to join in all the excitement and sweat that is associated with the Combine.

The fitness testing portion of the Combine will be held May 31 and June 1 at Toronto International Centre and will be headed by Dr. Norman Gledhill and his staff at York University.

Central Scouting is expected to make public its final ranking of the top draft-eligible players during the last week in April.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mikemorrealeNHL

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