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Central Scouting pleased with Top 10

Monday, 04.02.2012 / 9:00 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer / Prospecting with Central Scouting

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Prospecting with Central Scouting
Central Scouting pleased with Top 10
I caught up with most of the scouts prior to calling it a day on Sunday and they all agree that the top 10 of the 2012 rankings of North American skaters is as solid as it can get at this stage in the season.

"Right now you have to be pleased," Central Scouting's Peter Sullivan told NHL.com. "We'll go back and hum and haw. It's never finished until it's finished [on Wednesday] and we have that luxury to go back, but we're pleased overall."

Sullivan and B.J. MacDonald are the lead scouts of the Western Hockey League, which is stocked with many talented defensemen this year. Making the decisions are never easy, but they both feel confident in the placement of players.

"We all have our individual lists and after the area groups are put in order [read here], we have to have respect for our part-time guys who do a lot of work for us," Sullivan said. "If my player isn't where I want him, I have to respect the rest of the group. If they've seen them as much as I have, and if they feel a player is better than my own personal player, so be it. We are here as a team, and that's the way we operate."

Keep in mind that Nail Yakupov of the Sarnia Sting, Mikhail Grigorenko of the Quebec Remparts, Ryan Murray of the Everett Silvertips, Radek Faksa of the Kitchener Rangers and Morgan Rielly of the Moose Jaw Warriors entered Central Scouting's final meetings this week as the top five North American prospects on the board. Here is the midterm list of North American skaters.

Were changes made? You'll find out April 9.

   Morgan Rielly, Moose Jaw Warriors
MacDonald told NHL.com that it is sometimes hard to differentiate between such talented defensemen. Keep in mind that seven of the top 10 North American skaters ranked at January's midterm were blue liners.

"They're all so good, but it's sometimes hard to differentiate because they're all playing the same position," he told NHL.com. "You've got five or six defensemen so comparing similar talents moving forward in a D is tough when basing on skills alone.

"The only thing that varies in them is their size but."

And will teams take that into consideration?

"Yes, I think teams look at that," he said. "The old adage, 'A good big boxer is going to beat a good little boxer' fits here. In today's NHL, with the wear and tear, I think the size of the players matters because many players will break down, more or less. That could be a deciding factor for some teams … I think. But there are some smaller guys at this year's draft who might offset that with their great vision and creativity."

The biggest defenseman among the top 10 at the midterm ranking was No. 8 Griffin Reinhart of the Edmonton Oil Kings at 6-foot-3 3/4, 207 pounds. The smallest was Portland's Derrick Pouliot (5-11 1/4, 186), who was rated 10th.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
2012 NHL Draft