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NHL Central Scouting begins final discussions ...

by Mike G. Morreale

11:40 a.m. (ET) - The scouts have completed the ranking of players from the WHL. Quite an undertaking, but the boys broke it down extremely well and have left the meeting room for lunch. The Ontario Hockey League and U.S.-West skaters are up for discussion following the one-hour break.

11:00 a.m. (ET) -
Some great debate on Saskatoon's Dalton Thrower and Lukas Sutter and Regina's Chandler Stephenson, who played center/left wing.

10:40 a.m. (ET) - The Western Hockey League is now up for discussion. Of course, the league is stocked with defenseman. Ryan Murray, Morgan Rielly, Mathew Dumba, Griffin Reinhart and Derrick Pouliot were among the top 10 blue liners regarded highly at the midterm rankings in January.

Fantastic discussion on whether or not Dumba has accelerated his play over the second half of the season to make a jump in the final WHL ranks.

While defenders are dominating the talks, center Colton Sissons of the Kelowna Rockets is certainly a player that isn't overlooked here.

Scouts now viewing a fight that took place at Top Prospects Game between Dumba and Raphael Bussieres. You have to be here to hear the banter that takes place as they view a fight. It's like kids in a candy store.

And, yes, Ryan Murray, as you might expect, is regarded highly by every scout.

10:27 a.m. (ET)
- Veteran scout Gary Eggleston has now taken the lead to open discussion on those players from US-East.

Jack Barzee told me he's not reading any more of my articles. I told him that was too bad.

Daniel O'Regan of St. Sebastian School, Jimmy Vesey of South Shore, Chris Calnan of Nobles and Devin Tringale of Lawrence have all impressed the scouts and in different ways this season. David Gregory, Jack Barzee and Gary Eggleston are discussing the kids.

At the midterm rankings in January, Cristoval Nieves of Kent School, Samuel Kurker of St. John's Prep, Brian Hart of Exeter and Mark Jankowski of Stanstead HS in Quebec in the USMAAAE were regarded highly. They are dominating the discussion.

Video of each player is also being shown while the scouts talk about the aforementioned players.

An interesting discussion involved defenseman Travis Jeke of Northwood School. Jeke was born in Pittsburgh, Pa., where the 2012 NHL Draft will be held June 22-23 at Consol Energy Center. Jeke's favorite player is Kris Letang and he feels his vision, hands and shot are his greatest assets.

9:20 a.m. (ET) - The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is now being discussed. At the midterm rankings, Mikhail Grigorenko of the Quebec Remparts and Martin Frk of the Halifax Mooseheads were considered the top two players from the 'Q'. 

Grigorenko was rated No. 2 overall at the midterm, behind Sarnia's Nail Yakupov of the OHL. Frk was No. 25 overall at the midterm ranks.

The boys are debating several other 'Q' players right now, including Quebec's Ryan Culkin, Baie-Comeau's Raphael Bussieres, Vladislav Shalimov of Val-D'Or and defenseman Dillon Fournier of Rouyn-Noranda. All those players were ranked among the top 138 North American skaters in January.

Again, keep in mind, I cannot get into detail here; rather, provide a broad scope of what is happening.

8:30 a.m. (ET) - The scouts open the meeting discussing the Canadian junior midgets. David Gregory, son of Hall of Famer Jim Gregory, offers a brief explanation of how the voting system will work. Gregory has a sticker on his laptop that reads: "EJ". This is Central Scouting director Dan Marr's initial year, so there's obviously plenty on his plate.

At the midterm rankings in January, center Devin Shore of Whitby Fury in the Ontario Junior Hockey League was the first Canadian junior midget player listed among the North American skaters at No. 75 overall.

When asked which NHL player he compared to, Shore mentioned Henrik Sedin.

Left wing Jujhar Khaira of Prince George was second on the list at No. 80 overall. The scouts are discussing those players as well as several other scouts.

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