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Preliminary Central Scouting ratings released; Oilers' Eberle warns not to get too hyped-up

by Mike G. Morreale
They're here…

Yes, the day every prospect prognosticator and player wishing to hear his name announced at the Entry Draft craves. The NHL's Central Scouting service on Tuesday unveiled their preliminary North American and European ratings for the upcoming draft in St. Paul, Minn. It's the first of three big ratings' installments -- a midterm release in January and final release in April are forthcoming.

A special thanks to those gentlemen over at Central Scouting, who do a fantastic job at compiling these lists for the benefit of the 30 NHL franchises. I especially want to commend the boys who spend countless hours on the road yet still find the time to return a phone call or email at the drop of a hat whenever a question arises about a potential star in the making.

The preliminary rankings, which include the top 25 skaters and most coveted goalies from the OHL, WHL, QMJHL and the USHL, may be accessed off the main story that ran on Tuesday morning. There are also sidebars on those top-ranked European standouts and those in the collegiate ranks, including two from Boston University and two from the University of Wisconsin.

For those players checking in for the first time to learn where they stand, my suggestion is to not get too wrapped up in having a number attached to your name. Continue playing hard while conducting yourself in a professional manner.

I recently had an opportunity to chat with Edmonton Oilers 20-year-old rookie Jordan Eberle about the preliminary draft lists.

Eberle, of course, was drafted in the first round (No. 22 overall) in 2008 by the Oilers. If you'll recall, he was told he would be an early choice in the WHL bantam draft but, despite great numbers, scouts shied away because of his size (5-foot-8, 145 pounds at the time). He ended up falling all the way to the seventh round, where the Regina Pats grabbed him 126th overall. He'd go on to score 70 goals and 130 points in two seasons -- that's hard work.

Eberle's advice to those starry-eyed prospects:

"I remember (the preliminary lists) clearly," Eberle told "It's something as you go through your draft year … there's so many ups and downs but I think the big thing is you can't get too hyped up and focused in on all of that stuff.

"It really affects your game. You see guys rated high and they worry way too much about their ranking and all that stuff and they start dropping," he continued. "The thing is to just play your game, don't worry if you're high or low. I mean, I'm a seventh-round draft pick in bantam so I don't think that the draft is really … if you're a good enough player people are going to find you, it's as simple as that."

No better words spoken.
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