As the preparation stages begin for the NHL Scouting Combine in Toronto, here's a look at some of the intriguing stories you may want to check out prior to NHL.com's wall-to-wall coverage of the six-day event at the Westin Bristol Place and the Toronto Congress Center.
* Just because Red Deer Rebels center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top North American skaters, it doesn't necessarily mean he'll have the highest average power output of any other player on the board upon completion of the anaerobic fitness exam. The proof will be in the pudding, as the old adage goes, when Nugent-Hopkins is among the top 102 draft-eligible players from North American and Europe to undergo rigorous testing and medical examinations at the NHL Scouting Combine from May 30 to June 4 in Toronto. Mike Morreale has the story.
* Red Deer Rebels center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is the top North American for the 2011 Entry Draft as determined by NHL Central Scouting. The Canadian Hockey League agreed with that decision Saturday, naming him as junior hockey's top draft prospect. Nugent-Hopkins, who led the Western Hockey league with 75 assists and tied for third with 106 points, beat out Kitchener Rangers left wing Gabriel Landeskog and Drummondville Voltigeurs center Sean Couturier. Bill Hoppe has all the details.
* Northeastern University defenseman Jamieson Oleksiak, the tallest draft-eligible player on the board for the 2011 Entry Draft at 6-foot-7, 244-pounds, was making the most of his time in the Boston area prior to heading out to the NHL Scouting Combine in Toronto. Oleksiak informed NHL.com that in addition to taking extra classes, he's hard at work preparing for the rigorous fitness testing he'll undergo at the Toronto Congress Center beginning June 3. Mike Morreale tells us how.
* The Scouting Combine gives NHL clubs a chance to evaluate those future stars of the League less than a month before the 2011 Entry Draft. The top 102 players as rated by NHL Central Scouting in April, including North American and European skaters and goaltenders, have been invited to participate in various team interviews and medical and physical tests. Unlike previous seasons, the Combine fitness testing will be held at the Toronto Congress Center on June 3-4. To help prepare for this year's Combine, NHL.com's Mike Morreale highlighted the top players at each position last week looking to make an impression. Make sure you're up to speed. Left wings | Right wings | Defensemen | Centers | Goalies
* Get the most recent NHL.com mock draft results right here.
* All season long, top prospects Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of Red Deer (WHL), Scott Mayfield of Youngstown (USHL) and Seth Ambroz of Omaha (USHL) have maintained monthly blogs on NHL.com. Each player provided a little insight into their preparation for the Scouting Combine this month. You can check them out here: Nugent-Hopkins | Mayfield | Ambroz