Fans looking ahead to the 2010 Entry Draft would be well-served to follow the Memorial Cup when it starts Friday, because that's where a number of the best prospects for the June selection process will be showcasing their skills.
All games from the Memorial Cup will be televised live and in high-definition on the NHL Network in the U.S. and Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. The NHL Network also will air a tournament preview show at 7 p.m. ET on Friday.
The annual tournament to crown the top junior team in Canada features the Ontario Hockey League champion Windsor Spitfires, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Moncton Wildcats, Western Hockey League champion Calgary Hitmen, and host Brandon Wheat Kings.
Three of the top six players in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings of North American skaters headline the list, led by Windsor left wing Taylor Hall. Hall, who won the tournament MVP award while leading Windsor to last year's Memorial Cup title, is No. 2 on Central Scouting's list. He tied for the Ontario Hockey League regular-season scoring title, and for the second straight year led the OHL in playoff scoring with 35 points in 19 games.
Also starring for Windsor is defenseman Cam Fowler, No. 5 on Central Scouting's list and the second-ranked defenseman. The Farmington Hills, Mich., native was a point-per-game player during the regular season, and helped the U.S. win the gold medal at the World Junior Championship.
Another defenseman to keep an eye on is Moncton's Brandon Gormley. Gormley, ranked No. 6 by Central Scouting, had 17 points and a plus-14 rating in 21 playoff games.
Besides the best draft prospects are a number of top NHL prospects, including a pair of 2009 first-round picks from Brandon -- forwards Brayden Schenn (Los Angeles) and Scott Glennie (Dallas).
Leading Calgary is Kings prospect Brandon Kozun, who led the league in scoring in the regular season (107 points in 65 games) and the playoffs (30 points in 23 games).