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2012 NHL Draft

Marr sees final meeting, first season as a success

Monday, 04.02.2012 / 11:11 AM / 2012 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

"I think it's been healthy for our group to go through this. Dan comes in and has that whole perspective of telling us what he got out of what we delivered in previous years. He's coming in and seeing what we have to go through to deliver that, so it gives us sort of a fresh look." -- David Gregory

VAUGHAN, Ont. -- Healthy debate and robust opinion were evidenced early and often during NHL Central Scouting's final meetings to determine the top North American players eligible for the 2012 NHL Draft.
Perhaps Luke McGoey, Central Scouting's coordinator, said it best when he admitted, "We're being sequestered for the week."
While the scouts certainly were limited in their access to the outside world, instead spending nine-hour work days in a hotel conference room to complete their annual list of the top 210 skaters and 30 goalies, their mission was accomplished.
"You like to see the passion and you want to see which player a scout will stand up and pound the table for," first-year NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr told NHL.com. "There is a group of experienced scouts in this room, and they know the job as far as identifying the talent and finding the intangibles. I do think we'll get it right in the end."

Russian-born players dominate draft discussions

Sunday, 04.01.2012 / 1:38 PM / 2012 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

VAUGHAN, Ont. -- The Russians are coming.
Unlike last year, when Vladislav Namestnikov was the only Russian-born player selected in the opening round -- going to the Tampa Bay Lightning at No. 27 -- there could be as many as four selected among the first 30 picks at the 2012 NHL Draft, which will be held June 22 at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

That list includes lightning-quick Nail Yakupov of the Sarnia Sting, big center Mikhail Grigorenko of the Quebec Remparts and goalie Andrei Vasilevski of Ufa 2 in Russia's minor hockey league.

The fourth happens to be Russian-American -- center Alex Galchenyuk of the Ontario Hockey League's Sarnia Sting. Galchenyuk was born in Milwaukee, but lists Moscow as his hometown on his NHL Central Scouting questionnaire. His Russian-born father was playing for the American Hockey League's Milwaukee Admirals when Alex was born. The 6-foot-1, 197-pound Galchenyuk, who speaks Italian, Russian and English, has lived in Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Russia.
If Yakupov and Galchenyuk are chosen with the first two picks in this year's draft, it would mark the first time in 43 years that teammates were taken with the top two picks; in 1969, Montreal Junior Canadiens teammates Rejean Houle and Marc Tardif were drafted by the Montreal Canadiens with the first two picks.

Top draft prospects, CSS talk NHL comparisons

Saturday, 03.31.2012 / 1:47 PM / 2012 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

VAUGHAN, Ont. -- Prior to every season, NHL Central Scouting has already evaluated hundreds of the top prospects available in the upcoming NHL Draft.
In addition to meticulous reports that detail a player's good and bad points, and then sharing them with their colleagues, it's also helpful to have those prospects file some paperwork.
So, long before Nail Yakupov of the Sarnia Sting, Mikhail Grigorenko of the Quebec Remparts, Ryan Murray of the Everett Silvertips, Radek Faksa of the Kitchener Rangers and Morgan Rielly of the Moose Jaw Warriors begin a new season, they've already completed Central Scouting's 'questionnaire.'
There's a good chance one of the aforementioned players, all among the top five North American skaters on Central Scouting's mid-term list in January, will earn the No. 1 rating when the final release is publicized in two weeks.

Russian forwards, d-men likely to lead CSS rankings

Friday, 03.30.2012 / 9:00 AM / 2012 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

"The biggest challenge for Central Scouting is trying to place a star player in a commonly acknowledged lower league where his skills have made him a star and project him to a tougher league. But we need to project three years down the line in the best League in the world, so the discussions get pretty heated, but that's all part of the fun." -- The late E.J. McGuire, former Director of NHL Central Scouting

Which Russian would you choose -- Nail or Mikhail?

Inquiring minds want to know prior to opening night of the 2012 NHL Draft on June 22 at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. Does the team holding the No. 1 pick opt for Nail Yakupov of the Sarnia Sting or Mikhail Grigorenko of the Quebec Remparts?

Both are regarded as dynamic forwards with a different set of skills. Yet, the ultimate goal for each of them is landing an NHL contract.

It's sure to be a hot topic among NHL evaluators this weekend when they congregate one final time to determine Central Scouting's final rankings of the top 210 North American skaters and 30 goalies. The final scouting meetings will take place Saturday through Thursday.

Matteau leads talented USNTDP crop for '12 draft

Friday, 03.30.2012 / 9:00 AM / 2012 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Stefan Matteau knows all about the historic goal his dad scored in the second overtime of Game 7 in the 1994 Eastern Conference Final as a member of the New York Rangers against the New Jersey Devils.

While it took a while before he was finally able grasp the magnitude of the goal, he now admits "it was just crazy to see what he did."

Matteau's father, Stephan, was a 13-year NHL veteran. Of the 156 career goals he put home, including playoffs, there was none bigger than the series clincher over the rival Devils at Madison Square Garden on May 27, 1994 -- which came three months after Stefan was born.

The younger Matteau has been making a name for himself ever since. The 6-foot-1 1/2, 210-pound center was one of four players from the U.S. Under-18 National Team Development Program to be ranked among the top 30 North American skaters eligible for the 2012 NHL Draft in June.

Eggleston a pioneer of U.S. prospects

Wednesday, 03.28.2012 / 12:13 PM / 2012 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Gary Eggleston worked his way up the scouting ladder to become one of the more respected talent evaluators in the business. (Photo: Steve Hoffner)
Gary Eggleston began his scouting career working part-time for the Detroit Red Wings when Hall of Famer Sid Abel served as general manager and coach in the early 1960s.

He gradually worked his way up the scouting ladder to become one of the more respected talent evaluators in the business, particularly for those interested in the Eastern U.S. prospects. After this season, the 77-year-old Massachusetts native, who has spent the last 31 years working for NHL Central Scouting, will hang up his clipboard after 50 years of dedicated service.

"It's hard to believe … where do the years go?" Eggleston told NHL.com. "I sometimes look back and say to myself, 'Gee, that happened 20 years ago?' There have been so many interesting people and those annual trips to downtown (Toronto) for the spring meeting were always fun."

Barzee brought wit and wisdom to scouting job

Wednesday, 03.28.2012 / 11:33 AM / 2012 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Jack Barzee has done it all in hockey, from star player to accomplished executive. (Photo: Steve Hoffner)
Long-time NHL scout Jack Barzee never will be confused with the philosopher Confucius, but the man certainly has a way with words.

Just ask any of his colleagues at NHL Central Scouting.

"Jack is one of the funniest human beings on the planet," Central Scouting's Chris Edwards told NHL.com. "The only guy who could out-talk him was (the late) EJ McGuire. EJ would joke about his phone calls with Jack lasting the entire morning. It was always unclear if either guy was listening to the other, though."

The 71-year-old Barzee always has been confident enough to express himself when it came to evaluating an NHL prospect. His passion was evident; whether he approved or disapproved of a group decision made by Central Scouting, everyone usually knew about it by the time the meeting had adjourned.

Sweden WJC champs aiming for more gold

Tuesday, 03.27.2012 / 4:48 PM / 2012 NHL Draft

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The two best European forwards eligible for the 2012 NHL Draft will look to add to their gold-medal collection when they take the ice for the IIHF World Under-18 Championship.

Forwards Filip Forsberg and Sebastian Collberg were part of the Sweden team that won the gold at the World Junior Championship in January. They were part of the preliminary roster Sweden submitted for the World U-18s, which will be held April 12-22, in Brno and Znojmo, Czech Republic.

Forsberg, a 6-foot-2, 181-pound center, was rated by NHL Central Scouting as the No. 1 European player available for this year's draft. He had 8 goals and 9 assists in 43 games with Leksand in the Swedish second division this season. He had an assist in six games for Sweden at the WJC.

Scouts show their choices for first round of Draft

Monday, 03.26.2012 / 11:05 AM / 2012 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

The gurus of NHL Central Scouting are going back to the drawing board one last time beginning Saturday to put the finishing touches on their final rankings for the 2012 NHL Draft.
While those final ratings won't be released until next month, NHL.com couldn't wait that long. In the interim, two NHL scouts -- one representing a team from each conference -- were asked to provide their first-round projections, in exchange for anonymity.

Healthy again, Frk on verge of pursuing NHL dream

Friday, 03.23.2012 / 9:00 AM / 2012 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Martin Frk had 22 goals and 50 points in 62 games as a QMJHL rookie last season and 4 goals and 2 assists in three preseason games in August.
Halifax Mooseheads right wing Martin Frk has a tattoo on his left forearm that provides all the motivation he needs before every game.

It reads: "With my life, I will prove that no dream is too big."

In the case of Frk, his dream of joining an NHL team might soon become a reality. The 5-foot-11, 204-pound right wing is NHL Central Scouting's 25th-ranked North American skater.

"When I'm involved in something hard, I can always look at the tattoo and read this for motivation and it helps me," Frk told NHL.com. "Everyone needs a little pick-me-up, right?"

Frk needed some inspiration at the start of the 2011-12 campaign in Halifax after sitting out the first 29 games and missing out on the 2012 World Junior Championship with concussion-like symptoms.

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2012 NHL Draft