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NHL Central Scouting final meetings- Day 1

Friday, 04.05.2013 / 4:41 PM | Mike G. Morreale  - NHL.com Staff Writer

3:30 pm -- The most robust debate of opening day of the Central Scouting final meetings was the discussion of the prospects in the Ontario Hockey League. The scouts had high praise for several players listed high on the midterm ranking, including Sean Monahan, Darnell Nurse, Bo Horvat, Kerby Rychel, Chris Bigras, Ryan Hartman and Nikita Zadorov.

The scouts have been going at it pretty good today. It's amazing how much each scout can remember on each player, even during their cross-over viewings.

Some comments:

On Monahan: "Never quits; gave it 110 percent and played as well as he could on a bad Ottawa team. Eric Staal-like."

On Nurse: "What a season he had. Can play strong at both ends and plays with a great edge. Is also a great guy off the ice."

On Hartman: "This kid has succeeded wherever he's played this year; winning a gold for Team USA at the World Juniors where he played a big role. So much heart and desire."

On Zach Nastasiuk: "Might not skate as well as Jordan Staal, but he has those types of qualities."

On Max Domi: "I think he could be compared to Montreal rookie Brendan Gallagher in some ways."

2:15 p.m. -- More often than not, the scouts always spend extra time discussing those mid- to late-round players that aren't as highly touted as some of the big names on the board. When the Central Scouting staffers began talking about center Tyrell Goulbourne of the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL, they were doing just that.

The 5-11, 195-pound Goulbourne had just 14 goals and 27 points in 64 games, but all the scouts were in agreement that he can slug it out when given an opportunity. He totaled 19 fights during 2012-13 regular season and racked up 135 penalty minutes. However, he also had a plus-7 rating, meaning he was more than just a one-dimensional player.

1:30 p.m. -- Following a break for lunch, the scouts moved on to the Western Hockey League. Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks opened the discussion. Jones, of course, is projected by many to be the first player chosen in the 2013 NHL Draft.

An interesting debate then started between center Hunter Shinkaruk of the Medicine Hat Tigers, defenseman Ryan Pulock of Brandon Wheat Kings and defenseman Shea Theodore of the Seattle Thunderbirds. Edmonton Oil Kings forward Curtis Lazar and defenseman Mirco Mueller of the Everett Silvertips also received high praise.

Said one scout: "Lazar played center for most of the year in Edmonton, but he's a better winger."

11:15 a.m. -- The scouts are moving on to high school and college players in the U.S. East. Players getting some attention here are defenseman Brett Pesce at the University of New Hampshire, center Ryan Fitzgerald of the EJHL's Valley Junior Warriors, left wing Zachary Sanford of the Islanders Hockey Club and defenseman Anthony Florentino of South Kent School in Connecticut. Those players were ranked among the top five on Central's midterm rankings.

Jason Salvaggio, who played center and left wing at South Kent School, also fostered some debate early on. Salvaggio impressed this season with 49 goals and 85 points in 54 games. He's headed to the University of Connecticut.

10:30 a.m. -- The scouts still are involved with the talented prospects in the mid-Western region. One player that most of the scouts took some time to discuss was right wing Brendan Harms of the Fargo Force in the United States Hockey League. Harms was rated No. 113 on Central Scouting's midterm list and finished the 2012-13 season with 23 goals and 63 points in 60 games.

Said one scout: "Heck, this kid has good size (5-foot-11, 185 pounds) and has averaged better than a point-per-game. He's done some good things, good competiveness."

10 a.m. -- Some interesting discussion on Minnetonka (Minn.) High School defenseman Thomas Vanelli. One scout told the group that during his weigh-in for Central Scouting, the teenager asked him: "What do I need to do to get drafted into the first round?"

No question about it, players are thinking about draft day, no matter what they might say publicly. It's only natural since it involves, for the most part, the next 20-plus years of their life.

9:40 a.m. -- The scouts opened discussion on United States West players with some healthy debate on players from the United States National Team Development Program under-18 team. There was some movement since the midterm rankings that had J.T. Compher (No. 20), Michael McCarron (No. 31), Hudson Fasching (No. 42), Steve Santini (No. 47) and Keaton Thompson (No. 51) among the top five.

Some comments from the scouts included:

Santini: "Boy, he can really shoot the puck"

John Hayden (No. 59): "He has gotten better every single time I've seen him"

McCarron: "He's a big guy with soft hands"

9:30 a.m. -- The scouts have opened the final meetings with a discussion on Canadian juniors and midgets. Among the players who were regarded highly in the midterm rankings and have been discussed after follow-up viewings are Adam Tambellini of Surrey, Luke Ripley of Powell River and David Pope of West Kelowna.

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