NHL Central Scouting is ready to roll in Toronto this weekend to determine its final rankings of the top draft-eligible players on the board this June at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.
On Saturday, the pro scouts will have a go at it to determine this year's final list of the top 210 draft-eligible skaters and 30 goalies from North America for the 2012 Entry Draft.
NHL.com will also be present for the opening three days of the meetings, providing exclusive coverage. The scouts will no doubt be in heated debate, unveiling the pros and cons of every player from all the major junior leagues throughout North America.
Discussions will heat up almost immediately on Saturday morning as the scouts debate over who should receive the No. 1 overall placement among North American skaters. The top four candidates expected to vie for that position will be Sarnia's Nail Yakupov, Quebec's Mikhail Grigorenko, Everett's Ryan Murray and Sarnia's Alex Galchenyuk, who just recently returned to the lineup after undergoing knee surgery in October.
Back in 2008, the late E.J. McGuire told NHL.com: "First-round picks underachieve, late round picks can only overachieve -- because of expectations. We (Central Scouting) hope we're helping the NHL teams, who are selling the fact that their first round pick is someone who, in three short years, could be scoring two goals in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final before a full house on a team that was up for sale only a few years earlier (2006) … Yes, I'm referring to Sidney Crosby. Can it be significant? Just turn on your TV to find out."
Keep checking the "Prospecting with Central Scouting" blog, which will be updated every few hours, beginning Saturday and concluding Monday, for up-to-the-minute developments as they happen.
In the meantime, here are a few stories to hold you over while we await the big get together this weekend:
Scout show their choices for first round of Draft - Read here
Martin Frk on verge of pursuing NHL dream - Read here
Advice for top prospects eligible for 2012 Draft - Read here
Road to the 2012 NHL Draft blog - Read here
Follow Mike Morreale at the final Central Scouting meetings on Twitter at: @mike_morreale