No better time to fire up the 2011 Entry Draft blog than right after Central Scouting's initial 'Players to Watch' release for high schools, Canadian provincials and international skaters.
It's the first step in attempting to pinpoint the crème de la crème among draft eligible prospects for 2011. While it's certainly no easy process, it's something the NHL's Central Scouting Service takes great pride in. So with eight months to go before draft day, in St. Paul, Minn., it's time to get informed.
here are the high school and Canadian provincial players to keep an eye on.
Here are the international players to watch. Of course, Adam Larsson, a defenseman from Sweden, is being touted as the next Victor Hedman (or better).
NHL.com has already featured several future stars, including a few players from the United States Hockey League in Scott Mayfield of Youngstown and Seth Ambroz of Omaha and two from the Western Hockey League in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Red Deer) and Shane McColgan (Kelowna). Adam Kimelman has written reports on goalie prospect Christopher Gibson of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Adam Clendening of Boston University.
In case you missed it, NHL.com's list of the top draft-eligible prospects from the USHL also hit the front page of the web site. Get it here!
Four players have also offered to provide NHL.com with a monthly blog that will chronicle their season, start to finish. You can check out a new blog each Wednesday every month leading up the Entry Draft at Xcel Energy Center in June.
Scott Mayfield's blog
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins' blog
Shane McColgan's blog
Seth Ambroz's blog
The Draft blog will be updated as often as possible with player updates and information as it becomes available, so check back often.