"The top prospects game is an event that all NHL scouts look forward to attending," NHL Central Scouting Director Dan Marr said. "The 40 players competing in this game were chosen by the 30 NHL clubs with the game being a unique opportunity to evaluate 40 of the top draft-eligible prospects on a single stage in what has annually become an intense competition."
2012 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game rosters
Goalies -- Malcolm Subban, Belleville Bulls, OHL; Francois Tremblay, Val d’Or Foreurs, QMJHL.
Defensemen -- Gianluca Curcuruto, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, OHL; Matthew Finn, Guelph Storm, OHL; Olli Maatta, London Knights, OHL; Adam Pelech, Erie Otters, OHL; Derrick Pouliot, Portland Winterhawks, WHL; Griffin Reinhart, Edmonton Oil Kings, WHL.
Forwards -- Andreas Athanasiou, London Knights, OHL; Francis Beauvillier, Rimouski Oceanic, QMJHL; Raphael Bussieres, Baie-Comeau Drakkar, QMJHL; Radek Faksa, Kitchener Rangers, OHL; Mikhail Grigorenko, Quebec Remparts, QMJHL; Tomas Hyka, Gatineau Olympiques, QMJHL; Scott Kosmachuk, Guelph Storm, OHL; Matia Marcantuoni, Kitchener Rangers, OHL; Tanner Pearson, Barrie Colts, OHL; Colton Sissons, Kelowna Rockets, WHL; Chandler Stephenson, Regina Pats, WHL; Lukas Sutter, Saskatoon Blades, WHL.
Goalies -- Matthew Murray, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, OHL; Brandon Whitney, Victoriaville Tigres, QMJHL.
Defensemen -- Cody Ceci, Ottawa 67's, OHL; Mathew Dumba, Red Deer Rebels, WHL; Nick Ebert, Windsor Spitfires, OHL; Slater Koekkoek, Peterborough Petes, OHL; Ryan Murray, Everett Silvertips, WHL; Damon Severson, Kelowna Rockets, WHL.
Forwards -- Martin Frk, Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL; Brendan Gaunce, Belleville Bulls, OHL; Coda Gordon, Swift Current Broncos, WHL; Charles Hudon, Chicoutimi Sagueneens, QMJHL; Scott Laughton, Oshawa Generals, OHL; Jarrod Maidens, Owen Sound Attack, OHL; Andrew Ryan, Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL; Gemel Smith, Owen Sound Attack, OHL; Dominik Volek, Regina Pats, WHL; Thomas Wilson, Plymouth Whalers, OHL; Nail Yakupov, Sarnia Sting, OHL; Daniil Zharkov, Belleville Bulls, OHL.
Murray, along with Tanner Pearson of the Barrie Colts (OHL), will compete in this event after representing Team Canada at the 2012 World Junior Championship in Edmonton and Calgary from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5, 2012.
"It is a huge honor to be named to this event and to play alongside some of the best players in the 2012 NHL Draft class," said Murray. "I've had some great friends compete in this game, including Ryan Nugent-Hopkins last season, and I am really looking forward to this opportunity."
Thirty of the 59 CHL clubs will be represented in the contest, including three players from the OHL's Belleville Bulls (goalie Malcolm Subban and forwards Daniil Zharkov and Brendan Gaunce). The host Kelowna Rockets will be represented by forward Colton Sissons and defenseman Damon Severson.
"Colton is a guy who will score goals for us and he has that speed," Kelowna coach Ryan Huska said of his team captain. "He's also a guy who will block shots and fight, so he's one of those two-way guys who most teams wish they had in their lineup. I think that's what makes him a special player and separates him from a lot of guys. He's not one dimensional, has a nice blend. He's not afraid to get his nose dirty."
The two-day event also features a skills competition and 3-on-3 challenge on Jan. 31, 2012.
Two players sure to capture the fancy of NHL scouts will be Russian-born prospects Yakupov and Grigorenko. Yakupov is third in the OHL with 49 points, and also has 19 goals and a plus-17 rating in 24 games. Grigorenko leads all QMJHL rookies with 24 goals, 32 assists and 56 points in 35 games.
"I am very excited to play in the Top Prospects Game," Yakupov said.
"I am looking forward to playing against and meeting the other top draft-eligible players from the CHL," added Grigorenko. "I am honored to play among the best NHL prospects and it will be a great challenge for me."
Last year, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins became the tenth player to compete in this event since 1996 to be selected with the first pick in an NHL draft, and 19 players who skated in last year's Top Prospects Game were chosen in the first round of the 2011 draft.
Two players who likely would have been a part of the two-day event but had their seasons end to injuries are Yakupov's linemate in Sarnia, Alex Galchenyuk (torn ACL in left knee), and Moose Jaw Warriors defenseman Morgan Rielly (knee surgery).
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale