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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 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 Friday, 03.15.2013 / 11:33 AM

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

Besse wins Minnesota's Mr. Hockey Award

 Grant Besse, Benilde-St. Margaret's

Senior right wing Grant Besse didn't conclude this year's state tournament in the same remarkable fashion he did in 2011-12, but he certainly did his share in the regular season to catch the eye of all those who watched him perform at Benilde-St. Margaret's High School in Minnesota.

The 5-foot-8.5, 177-pound Besse, No. 124 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top 2013 draft-eligible North American skaters, was awarded the Mr. Hockey Award on March 10 during the 29th ceremony in St. Paul.

The Mr. Hockey Award is given to the outstanding senior high school hockey player in the state of Minnesota and is selected by a panel of National Hockey League Scouts, Division I coaches and selected media members from around the state.

"[Besse] isn't real big, but he's very strong on his skates and with how he moves," Central Scouting's David Gregory told NHL.com. "He just looks so comfortable getting around the ice. He does everything with such ease, like move puck to teammate, shoot on the fly or move laterally to get around somebody.

"He doesn't have to slow down, stop or look. He's always constantly moving and when you combine that with one of the best wrist shots and releases in the draft, you understand why he almost put up 50 goals this season."

Besse was No. 187 on Central Scouting's final ranking prior to the 2012 Draft in Pittsburgh, but wasn't chosen.


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POSTED ON Thursday, 03.14.2013 / 9:45 AM

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

MacKinnon stars in return

Halifax Mooseheads forward Nathan MacKinnon clearly wasn't interested in easing his way back into the lineup after missing over a month due to injury.

On Wednesday, in his first game since Feb. 8, when he tweaked his knee and spent the next 14 games out of action, MacKinnon had two goals and two assists to lead the Mooseheads to a 6-2 victory against the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles at Centre 200 in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

MacKinnon wasted little time, scoring just 35 seconds into the first period.

"We wanted to wait until he was 100 percent before he came back so he was really ready to go," Halifax coach Dominique Ducharme told The Chronicle Herald. "He was excited to be coming back. He played with energy and it was great to see how he handled it."

MacKinnon, No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of North American skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft, has a point in 11 straight games, dating to Jan. 12, and has totaled eight goals and 21 points in that span. In addition to his offensive output Wednesday, MacKinnon also generated a team-high six shots on goal, delivered one hit and won 10 of 18 faceoffs.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 1:48 PM

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

Central Scouting upgrades four players

          Laurent Dauphin, Chicoutimi, QMJHL

NHL Central Scouting has advised all NHL personnel to keep an eye on four 2013 draft-eligible players shooting up the ranks for the month of March.

In addition to profiling many of the top prospects on the radar, it's always interesting to learn of those performers improving to the point of getting special attention, as is the case each month when Central Scouting provides team scouts and GMs a cheat sheet of such performers.

This month, Central Scouting has targeted right wing Zach Nastasiuk of the Owen Sound Attack in the Ontario Hockey League, center Laurent Dauphin of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and center Nicolas Petan of the Portland Winterhawks and defenseman Dillon Heatherington of the Swift Current Broncos in the Western Hockey League.

Nastasiuk, Dauphin and Heatherington, who were regarded as 'B skaters' in February, were upgraded to 'A skaters' this month. Petan jumped from a 'C' rating to 'A'.


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POSTED ON Monday, 03.11.2013 / 3:52 PM

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

Drouin back for Halifax; MacKinnon close

The Halifax Mooseheads will have one of their top 2013 draft-eligible forwards returning to the lineup on Monday when they play host to Acadie-Bathurst Titan at the Halifax Metro Centre (6 p.m. ET).

Halifax general manager Cam Russell informed NHL.com that Jonathan Drouin, who has missed the past three games with a lower-body injury sustained on March 2, will make his anticipated return. Nathan MacKinnon, who has missed the past 13 games after sustaining a lower-body injury on Feb. 8, remains out. According to Russell, "[MacKinnon] is close."

Drouin, No. 3 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top draft-eligible North American skaters, still leads the team with 98 points on 39 goals and 59 assists in 45 games. Despite playing in 20 fewer games, the 5-foot-10.75, 185-pound Drouin is three points from the overall scoring lead in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Josh Currie and Ben Duffy of the P.E.I. Rocket have 101 points apiece.

It's possible MacKinnon, Central Scouting's No. 2-ranked skater on the midterm report, could return Wednesday on the road against the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. MacKinnon has 28 goals, 69 points and a plus-37 rating in 41 games this season for the Mooseheads (54-6-4).

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mikemorrealeNHL

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POSTED ON Monday, 03.11.2013 / 12:50 PM

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

Tambellini honored by BCHL

The coaches of the British Columbia Hockey League recently revealed their league all-star team selections for the 2012-13 season.

Among those listed were two skaters on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft -- forward Adam Tambellini of the Surrey Eagles was named a Second-Team All-Star, and defenseman Dane Birks of the Merritt Centennials was named to the league's All-Rookie Team.

Tambellini, son of Edmonton Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini, was listed as a 'B' prospect at the start of the season for the Vernon Vipers before his trade to Surrey on Jan. 10. Tambellini, who is committed to the University of North Dakota for the 2013-14 season, had 36 goals and 65 points in 52 games for Vernon and Surrey. In 16 games with Surrey, he's totaled 14 goals and 26 points.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 03.06.2013 / 2:49 PM

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

MacKinnon, Drouin ruled out for Halifax

The Halifax Mooseheads will be without top 2013 NHL Draft prospects Jonathan Drouin and Nathan MacKinnon on Wednesday when they face the Acadie-Bathurst Titan at K.C. Irving Regional Centre in Bathhurst, New Brunswick.

Mooseheads general manager Cam Russell confirmed to NHL.com via e-mail that both forwards have been ruled out for the game. The Mooseheads are riding a 10-game winning streak.

There was a slight chance MacKinnon, No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of the top draft-eligible North American skaters, would return to the lineup for the first time since Feb. 8. The 6-foot, 182-pound center has missed the past 10 games with a lower-body injury.
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POSTED ON Tuesday, 02.26.2013 / 12:55 PM

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

Is Jonathan Drouin closing in on No. 1?

In the initial mock drafts by NHL.com staffers on Monday, defenseman Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks and Nathan MacKinnon of the Halifax Mooseheads were unanimous picks to go first and second at the 2013 NHL Draft in Newark, N.J.

 

Choosing Jones No. 1 and MacKinnon No. 2 wasn't too much of a shock considering that's the same order the players are rated in NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking report. After the first two picks, however, the staffers began going in a few different directions.

Staffers Steven Hoffner and Mike Morreale believe MacKinnon's teammate in Halifax, Jonathan Drouin, will be the third choice. Adam Kimelman thinks the No. 1-ranked skater on Central Scouting's European list, center Aleksander Barkov of Tappara in Finland, will go No. 3.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 02.19.2013 / 3:03 PM

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

Euro goalie Saros gaining attention

Goalie Juuse Saros is quietly gaining momentum and opening plenty of eyes with HPK Jr. in the Finnish junior league this season.

At the start of the season, NHL Director of European Scouting, Goran Stubb, had the 5-10.25, 178-pound keeper listed as a "C Watch" player, indicating he could very well be drafted in the fourth round at the 2013 NHL Draft in June.

On Feb. 15, Stubb upgraded his ranking to an "A Watch," meaning Saros has suddenly become a potential first-round candidate.

"He is the main reason why his HPK team is in the clear lead in the Finnish junior league," Stubb told NHL.com. "He is playing a great, great season. He has extremely quick reactions, and reads the game very well.

"He's the No. 1 goalie prospect in Europe. He was good last year but has been sensational this season."

In 39 games this season, Saros has a 1.85 goals-against average and .932 save percentage. He's represented Finland at the Under-18 level nine times and could very well serve as backup on HPK's senior team next season as an 18-year-old.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mikemorrealeNHL

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