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by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

So, here we are. It's NHL Draft week.

This is always an exciting time of the year for hockey fans, and it's no different for those who work for an NHL team. We've just come off the high of the Stanley Cup Final -- and it was a terrific series this year -- but now, the draft gives us our first taste of what's to come during the summer.

One of the most intrguing parts of this week (for me, at least) is seeing all of the preparation and legwork put into action. Scouts have scoured the globe for an entire year, logged many sleepless nights, taken the red-eye on too many occasions, and engulfed countless cups of coffee all for the same reason: to make sure their team is in the best possible position once the clock starts ticking on Friday night.

It doesn't stop with the scouts, either. Hockey operations staffs have discussed, debated and deliberated among themselves for weeks to make sure they get it right. I think back to a conversation I had with Blue Jackets director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright, just a few weeks back.

He reiterated this point: they are doing everything in their power to get this right. They want to draft the best player available at No. 2 overall, and they've put in a lot of work to help make their decision.

And that's where the intrigue begins. The options are plentiful and the possibilities endless. Teams could get aggressive and move up the draft board, and other teams could opt to move back in the draft order and collect multiple picks in return. We have seen big names on the move during draft week, and the rumors/speculation/chatter have picked up just as they typically do this time of year.

The best part: you never know what's going to happen.

Most people you talk to about the draft are in agreement that this week and weekend could be very entertaining. Let's hope so, because the suspense and drama are a large part of what makes draft week an edge-of-the-seat experience for hockey fans.

You can follow all of the news right here on this blog. I'll be posting regular updates all week long, and our friends at JacketsTV will be supplying video content, as well. So keep it locked to the Draft Central blog, and join the battle with us as the offseason unofficially gets under way.

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