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.
2012 NHL DRAFT
Who are the Scouts' selections?
NHL scouts make their 2012 Draft first-round predictions. WEST SCOUT ›
| EAST SCOUT ›
Keep in mind, things certainly will change between now and when the teams congregate at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh on June 22-23 for the annual selection extravaganza, but our Eastern and Western scouts were more than willing to give it a shot.
Is Sarnia Sting right wing Nail Yakupov
the best available prospect in this year's draft? Could Yakupov and Mikhail Grigorenko
of the Quebec Remparts make it a Russian duo at the top?
Who will be the first defenseman selected? After all, the 2012 Draft is stocked with quality blueliners, several of whom could which could be earning their cup of coffee in the League in a very short time. Among the candidates are Ryan Murray
of the Everett Silvertips, Mathew Dumba
of the Red Deer Rebels, Morgan Rielly
of the Moose Jaw Warriors, Griffin Reinhart
of the Edmonton Oil Kings and Jacob Trouba
of the U.S. Under-18 National Team Development Program.
Do the scouts consider a goalie worthy of a first-round selection? If so, will Malcolm Subban
of the Belleville Bulls be the choice? What about Andrei Vasilevski
of Salavat Yulaev Ufa in the KHL following his remarkable showing in the 2012 World Junior Championship for silver medal-winning Russia?
These and other questions are answered by our scouts.
The draft order in place for this exercise was based on inverse order of the standings from March 21. Three teams -- Colorado, Detroit and Nashville -- currently don't have first-round picks. Washington, Tampa Bay and Buffalo each have two choices in the top 30.
The writers for NHL.com will be offering their third mock drafts of the first round following Central Scouting's final rankings release.
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale