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Posted On Monday, 10.29.2012 / 10:31 AM

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

Medicine Hat's Shinkaruk filled the nets all weekend

Medicine Hat Tigers center Hunter Shinkaruk is used to piling up the points. Last season, the 5-foot-10, 166-pound forward was second on the team with 49 goals and 91 points.

With a number of top performers graduating from that team this season, some scouts expected Shinkaruk's numbers to drop a bit. But they knew how much talent he still had, which is why he received an A rating from NHL Central Scouting in its preliminary rankings of players to watch for the 2013 NHL Draft.

Shinkaruk had been living up to that billing, with 14 points in his first 14 games. Over the weekend, though, he lit up the scoreboards with nine points in two games.

On Friday, he had a goal and four assists in a 10-1 win at the Calgary Hitmen. Shinkaruk had the primary assist on all four goals scored by teammate and fellow 2013 draft hopeful Curtis Valk. He followed that Saturday with two goals and two assists in a 5-4 win against the Regina Pats.

Now with 23 points, Shinkaruk is tied for fifth in the Western Hockey League scoring race.

Shinkaruk wasn't the only WHL draft prospect to have a big weekend. Here are a few others:

* Kamloops Blazers forward JC Lipon continued to pile up the points. The WHL's leading scorer had three assists Friday in an 8-1 defeat of the Brandon Wheat Kings, two more assists Saturday in a 5-2 defeat of the Victoria Royals and a pair of goals in a 4-3 overtime win at the Seattle Thunderbirds that pushed the Blazers' win streak to 13. Promoted to a C-list skater by Central Scouting, Lipon leads the league with 15 goals and 39 points, and his 24 assists are second.

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Posted On Monday, 10.29.2012 / 10:04 AM

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

Draft hopefuls powering Halifax

Why have the Halifax Mooseheads dominated the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this season? Much of it has to do with their 2013 NHL Draft-eligible stars earning all the accolades scouts are pouring on them.

Nathan MacKinnon, a candidate to be the first player picked in June, had another big weekend as the Mooseheads ran their win streak to 13 games. He had a goal and an assist in a 6-2 defeat of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens on Saturday, and added an assist in a 7-3 defeat of the PEI Rocket on Sunday. The 6-foot, 182-pound center, who received an A rating from NHL Central Scouting in its preliminary rankings of players to watch for this year's draft, leads the QMJHL with 18 goals and is tied for third with 29 points.

Linemate Jonathan Drouin, another A-rated performer, had a hat trick in Saturday's win, an assist and Sunday and now has 23 points in just 10 games.

It wasn't just their A-listers stepping up over the weekend. Sunday's win was led by center Matthew Boudreau, who had a pair of goals; left wing Luca Ciampini with three assists and right wing Darcy Ashley with a pair of assists.

Draft prospects from other teams in the league had solid weekends as well:

* Quebec Remparts left wing Adam Erne scored four goals and added an assist Friday in a 7-0 defeat of the Sherbrooke Phoenix. Teammate Zachary Fortin stopped all 19 Sherbrooke shots for the shutout.

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Posted On Monday, 10.29.2012 / 9:39 AM

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

Nurse big part of Greyhounds' rise

The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds missed the Ontario Hockey League playoffs last season, but with some help from defenseman Darnell Nurse, they enter this week atop the West Division.

The Greyhounds have won two in a row, including Friday's come-from-behind 6-5 shootout win at the Erie Otters.

Nurse, who earned an A rating from NHL Central Scouting in its preliminary ranking of players to watch for the 2013 NHL Draft, scored a pair of goals. His first, 4:13 into the second period, began SSM's rally from a 3-0 deficit. His second, with 6:05 left, tied the game and forced overtime.

Nurse, who had 10 points in 53 games last season, now has four goals and nine assists in 16 games, and his 13 points are tied for sixth among OHL defensemen.

Here's a look at how other top draft prospects fared this weekend:

* Ottawa 67s center Sean Monahan, another A-rated skater, had a goal and three assists in an 8-6 win at the Kingston Frontenacs on Friday.

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Posted On Sunday, 10.28.2012 / 11:24 PM

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

Lipon line powers Kamloops' to 13th straight win

It took a few extra seconds, but the Kamloops Blazers made it a baker's dozen Sunday -- 13 straight wins with a 4-3 overtime victory at the Seattle Thunderbirds.

The win streak matches a franchise record set during the 1986-87 season and matched by the 1989-90 team.

Sunday's game saw the Blazers trail 2-0 2:22 into the second period after Seattle scored twice in a 70-second span.

JC Lipon

In a recent interview with NHL.com, Kamloops coach Guy Charron said he has yet to see his team panic and they stayed in that form Sunday, getting back in the game with goals 1:13 apart midway through the period. JC Lipon, the WHL's top offensive star, scored on the power play at 8:19 of the second for his 14th goal of the season. Just over a minute later, defenseman Sam Grist's shot from the blue line went through traffic and into the net at 9:32.

Seattle re-claimed the lead just 58 seconds later on a goal by defenseman Shea Theodore, an A-rated skater on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary rankings of players to watch for the 2013 NHL Draft. Theodore went end-to-end to score his fourth of the season.

But Lipon, who was elevated to a C-ranked skater due to his fast start, scored his league-best 15th of the season at 13:32 to tie the game 3-3.

After a scoreless third period, it took just 25 seconds for Tim Bozon to spot a streaking Colin Smith in the slot, and Smith scored his 13th of the season.

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Posted On Sunday, 10.28.2012 / 10:47 AM

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

USNTDP's Fasching out with upper-body injury

U.S. National Team Development Program forward Hudson Fasching will play at the University of Minnesota next season, but his future teammates left a rough impression on him Friday night.

Fasching will be out about a week with an upper-body injury after sustaining a hard hit at center ice late in the second period against the Gophers.

Fasching, a 6-foot-1.75, 213-pound right wing, received an A rating in NHL Central Scouting's preliminary rankings of players to watch for the 2013 NHL Draft. NHL scouts that have seen them have been intrigued by the burgeoning power forward. In 12 games this season, he's third on the team in scoring with eight points, and first with 21 penalty minutes. Two of his three goals have come on the power play.

"I think he's got some real promise," an NHL scout from an Eastern Conference team told NHL.com. "He's one of those typical guys who's a man-child, and his skills have to evolve to catch up to his physical tools."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Saturday, 10.27.2012 / 10:46 PM

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

Drouin, MacKinnon lead Halifax to 12th straight win

Thanks to their two top 2013 NHL Draft prospects, the Halifax Mooseheads remained the hottest team in junior hockey.

Jonathan Drouin had a hat trick and linemate Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist as Halifax beat the visiting Chicoutimi Sagueneens 6-2 on Saturday for their 12th straight victory (the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League beat the Victoria Royals later Saturday to win its 12th straight game).

Jonathan Drouin

At 28 points, Halifax leads Blainville-Boisbriand by four points in the standings. Their 78 goals are eight more than any team has scored, and they've allowed just 38 goals, third-fewest in the league.

On Saturday Chicoutimi took a 2-0 lead after one period, but Halifax scored six straight to close the game.

Drouin, in just his second game back from missing time with an upper-body injury, started the scoring run with his eighth goal of the season 1:09 into the second period.

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Posted On Saturday, 10.27.2012 / 12:12 AM

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

Medicine Hat's Valk, Shinkaruk have six-point nights

Quebec Remparts forward Adam Erne wasn't the only top 2013 NHL Draft prospect to have an offensively explosive night Friday.

Medicine Hat teammates Hunter Shinkaruk and Curtis Valk each had five-point games in the Tigers' 10-1 rout of the host Calgary Hitmen.

Valk scored four goals and added an assist, while Shinkaruk had a goal and four assists -- all primary assists on Valk's goals.

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Posted On Friday, 10.26.2012 / 10:46 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Erne paces Quebec with five-point night

Forward Adam Erne of the Quebec Remparts in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League continued his torrid scoring pace Friday night.

The 17-year-old American scored four goals and added an assist in a 7-0 victory against Shawinigan. Erne, who had 55 points (28 goals, 27 assists) in 64 games last season (his first in the QMJHL), now has 10 goals and 13 assists in 14 contests in 2012-13.

Erne, who will be eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft, ranks second behind only Mikhail Grigorenko for the team lead in scoring. Grigorenko was selected in the first round (No. 12) of this year's NHL Draft by the Buffalo Sabres.

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL

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Posted On Friday, 10.26.2012 / 2:51 PM

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

Shedding some light on top European prospects

While the battle for top honors at the 2013 NHL Draft will likely be between North American prospects Nathan MacKinnon of the Halifax Mooseheads and Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks, the distinction as top European prospect is just as intriguing.

              Alexander Barkov, Tappara (FINLAND)

Make no mistake, the battle for European prominence appears to be between center Elias Lindholm of Brynas in Sweden and center Alexander Barkov of Tappara in the Finnish Elite League.

Lindholm has four goals and 10 points in 16 games this season for Brynas while Barkov has produced nine goals and 17 points in 15 games.

"Lindholm and Barkov are outstanding with their league teams and both could be top five at the [NHL] Draft," said Goran Stubb, European Director of NHL Central Scouting.

Lindholm had 14 goals, 49 points and a plus-24 rating in 36 games with Brynas in Sweden's junior league last year.

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Posted On Thursday, 10.25.2012 / 2:48 PM

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

Central Scouting upgrades players to watch list

NHL Central Scouting on Thursday upgraded four players to A status on its preliminary players to watch list of prospects for the 2013 NHL Draft.

In addition to the upgrades, Central Scouting identified several players who happen to be tracking higher and will receive considerable attention in anticipation of its preliminary rankings list, which will be released in November and rank the top 25 prospects in the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Western Hockey League and United States Hockey League, as well as various Europena nations.


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You don't see many. The [Drew] Doughtys, the [P.K.] Subbans, those are guys that create offense from the back and then on top of that ability, the size that he has. In the West you play against some pretty big players, and being able to clear the crease and contain the [Ryan] Getzlafs and the [Corey] Perrys and [Anze] Kopitars and players like that, we're excited about him going back there.

— Sharks general manager Doug Wilson on Brent Burns returning back to defense