It's never too soon to talk about the 2009 Entry Draft, and NHL Central Scouting will further the conversation with the release of its fall preliminary rankings Tuesday.
Central Scouting, which is the official scouting arm of the National Hockey League and advises all 30 teams, will rank the top 25 skaters and the best goalies for each the three member leagues of the Canadian Hockey League.
Also, there will be rankings of the top players in each of the major European countries, as well as a watch list for the four major NCAA conferences.
The marquee name will be John Tavares, expected to be the top-rated player from the Ontario Hockey League. Tavares has been the biggest name surrounding the draft almost since he was granted exceptional-player status to play in the OHL at the age of 15.
Competing with Tavares for the No. 1 pick will be Swedish defenseman Victor Hedman. Despite suffering a separated shoulder recently, the 6-foot-6, 220-pounder still is considered a top selection.
After today's release, Central Scouting will reveal their mid-term rankings in January, and their final rankings in April will rate all the players in North America, regardless of position and league. They will also release a companion list for European prospects around the same time.
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org.