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2012 NHL Draft

Czech Republic announces pre-WJC roster

Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 12:57 AM / 2012 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Czech Ice Hockey Association would like nothing more than to see the country snap its disappointing string of appearances at the WJC.The Czech Ice Hockey Association would like nothing more than to see the country snap its disappointing string of appearances at the World Junior Championship.
The program boasted back-to-back gold medals in 2000 and 2001 behind players such as Martin Havlat, Radim Vrbata, Martin Erat and Tomas Plekanec and three Czechs (goalie Tomas Duba, defenseman Rostislav Klesa and forward Pavel Brendl) even earned the tournament's best player awards in 2001 when the event was staged on rival territory in Russia.

Will injuries hurt top prospects' draft standing?

Friday, 12.02.2011 / 9:00 AM / 2012 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

What many consider to be the most important season in the career of a top prospect has been anything but for several blue-chip players eligible for the 2012 NHL Draft.

This is the season they put all their hard work into place to impress NHL scouts. Instead, for a few top players, injuries have plagued their draft season and dominated the headlines.

There currently are seven players with great potential sidelined by injury. The wounded are skaters at all positions, and in the U.S. and Canada.

Future NHL stars on display at U-17 Hockey Challenge

Friday, 11.25.2011 / 11:01 AM / 2012 NHL Draft

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Some of the top talent available for the 2013 NHL Draft -- and beyond -- will be on display next month at the 2012 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

The tournament will be played in Windsor, Ont., starting Dec. 29 with round-robin play between the 10 teams.

Five teams representing regions of Canada -- Atlantic (New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island), Quebec, Ontario, West (Manitoba, Nunavut, Saskatchewan) and Pacific (Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories, Yukon) -- will join teams from the U.S., Sweden, Czech Republic, Germany and Russia.

Among the players to watch is a pair from Team Ontario, defenseman Aaron Ekblad and forward Max Domi.

Ekblad, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound blueliner with the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League, was the second-ever player (following John Tavares) granted "exceptional player" status so he could play in the OHL this year at age 15. In 23 games, he has five goals and six assists, but won't be eligible for the NHL until the 2015 Draft.

Sarnia forward Yakupov sits after check to head

Wednesday, 11.23.2011 / 3:56 PM / 2012 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Sarnia Sting forward Nail Yakupov, considered by many to be the odds on favorite to get selected first at the 2012 NHL Draft in June, was forced to sit out Saturday's game against the Saginaw Spirit after taking a check to the head one day earlier.
According to local reports, head coach and general manager Jacques Beaulieu of the Sting is taking a "wait and see" approach with his star player at this moment.
"He hasn't been feeling that well since," Beaulieu said. "He's got a really sore back and is getting some light headaches, too. We don't know. We're just playing it by ear right now, giving him some rest and hopefully he can start skating with us [Wednesday]. We're not sure, we're going to have wait and see."
Yakupov, who has 16 goals, 43 points and a plus-17 rating in 22 games this season, was injured after taking a hit from Garret Ross of the Spirit last Friday. Ross received a five-minute major and a game misconduct on the play.

Bolts' Connolly proving pre-draft injury not deterrent

Tuesday, 11.22.2011 / 3:06 PM / 2012 NHL Draft

Lonnie Herman - NHL.com Correspondent

Brett Connolly
Right Wing - TBL
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 3 | PTS: 7
SOG: 32 | +/-: 1
TAMPA BAY -- When two potential 2012 draft picks go down with season-ending injuries within weeks of each other, that's news. When those picks are projected to be top-five selections on virtually everyone's draft list, that's even bigger news. That unfortunate fate is exactly what befell center Alex Galchenyuk and defenseman Morgan Rielly, both hobbled with torn anterior cruciate ligaments.

Galchenyuk, with the Sarnia Sting (OHL) went down first, suffering his injury in a preseason game on Sept. 16. Reilly, a member of the Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL), tore his ACL on Nov. 6. Both injuries are likely to be season-ending.

Grigorenko heads list of top QMJHL prospects

Monday, 11.21.2011 / 9:00 AM / 2012 NHL Draft

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

At the 2011 NHL Draft in Minnesota, the Florida Panthers used the third choice on Saint John Sea Dogs forward Jonathan Huberdeau. It's the highest a player from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League had been selected since the Pittsburgh Penguins picked Rimouski Oceanic center Sidney Crosby with the first pick in 2005.

In fact, in the last six drafts, Huberdeau is only the third QMJHL player taken within the first seven choices.

The league hasn't had a player taken in the top seven in back-to-back years since 2006 (Derick Brassard, No. 6, Columbus) and 2007 (Jakub Voracek, No. 7, Columbus), but that could change this year. 

Last-minute changes another part of life as a scout

Friday, 11.18.2011 / 10:48 AM / 2012 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

MOOSE JAW, Sask. -- Chris Edwards has been there and done that.
Blizzards, snow-covered roadways, temperatures around minus-20 degrees -- it's all par for the course when it comes to life as a scout and being on the road.
The 72-hour, four-city venture to view three junior-hockey matchups in Western Canada comes to an end Friday when Edwards, a scout for NHL Central Scouting, and the two-man crew from NHL.com make the six-hour journey from Moose Jaw to Lethbridge.
What a finish, eh?

Top OHL prospects can count on renowned agent

Thursday, 11.17.2011 / 10:00 AM / 2012 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Igor Larionov was always considered a thinking man's hockey player.
That probably factored into his becoming the sixth Russian-born inductee into the Hockey Hall of Fame back in 2008. But following a much heralded international career and 14 seasons in the NHL, Larionov now finds himself thinking for others as a player agent.
Two of his clients this season just so happen to be the top two prospects on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary list of the top 25 skaters from the Ontario Hockey League -- teammates Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk of the Sarnia Sting. Yakupov is listed No. 1 and Galchenyuk, despite being sidelined by injury, is No. 2.

Initial Central Scouting rankings rank Yakupov first

Thursday, 11.17.2011 / 10:00 AM / 2012 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

The first stage to projecting which draft-eligible prospects are considered to be future NHL stars was accomplished Thursday when Central Scouting released its preliminary rankings for the top levels of North American junior hockey.
As much as the process has evolved into a news event, NHL Central Scouting director Dan Marr is quick to note the early rankings are subject to refinement by the time the organization releases its mid-term report in January.

Kerdiles scores twice as to lead U.S. past Swiss

Sunday, 11.13.2011 / 5:46 PM / 2012 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Nicolas Kerdiles scored a pair of goals and goalie Jared Rutledge made 29 saves when the U.S. National Under-18 Team scored a 6-2 victory over Switzerland to earn its fourth consecutive U18 Four Nations Tournament title on Sunday in Monthey, Switzerland.

"I am extremely proud of how our guys played together as a team," said U.S. coach Danton Cole. "Everything came together at the right time and we hope to build off these wins as we move forward with our upcoming schedule."

Kerdiles, who is projected to be a highly coveted prospect for the 2012 Draft in Pittsburgh, topped all players in the three-game tournament with 5 goals and 5 points. U.S. defenseman Connor Carrick led all defenders in the tournament with 3 points. With the victory, the U.S. has now captured the tournament title the past four years.
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2012 NHL Draft