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Steve Stamkos rated No. 1 prospect for NHL draft by NHL Central Scouting

Thursday, 04.24.2008 / 2:30 PM / News

The Canadian Press

TORONTO - Sarnia Sting centre Steve Stamkos topped Central Scouting's final rankings for the 2008 entry draft, but defencemen dominated the top of the list of North American skaters.

Stamkos, a six-foot, 176-pound forward from Toronto, had 58 goals in 61 games to finish second in Ontario Hockey League.

He also helped Canada win gold at the world junior hockey championship at age 17.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have the No. 1 pick in the draft June 20-21 in Ottawa after winning the lottery held earlier this month. Los Angeles picks second with the Atlanta Thrashers having the third selection.

Four defencemen followed Stamkos in Central Scouting's rankings of North American players.

Peterborough Petes defenceman Zach Bogosian of Massena, N.Y., was No. 2 followed by Drew Doughty of the Guelph Storm at No. 3.

Doughty, from London, Ont. was selected the top defenceman at the world junior championship.

Two Kelowna Rockets blue-liners followed with Tyler Myers of Houston and Luke Schenn of Saskatoon at fourth and fifth respectively.

Niagara IceDogs defencemen Alex Pietrangelo was sixth.

Central Scouting picked the Storm's Thomas McCollum of Amherst, N.Y., as the best North American prospect in goal. His record was 25-17-3-3, his goals-against average was 2.50 and his save percentage was .914.

Russian left-winger Nikita Filatov was the top-ranked European prospect. Filatov had 32 goals and 34 assists in 32 games for CKSA and had four goals and five assists in seven games at the world junior tournament for Russia.

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Obviously there's a lot of expectations around me but it's something I try not to focus on. I'm just trying to go out there, be myself on the ice every day, try to get better, be myself around the guys in the locker room. I think that's what's made me successful and the person that I am.

— Sabres forward Jack Eichel on transitioning from college hockey to the NHL