Jones Ranks No. 1 in North America, Edging MacKinnon, Drouin
TORONTO (January 15, 2013) – Defenseman Seth Jones (Arlington, Texas) of the Western Hockey League’s Portland Winterhawks has been named the top draft-eligible skater from North America as the NHL Central Scouting Bureau today released its mid-season rankings for the 2013 NHL DraftTM. Jones aims to be just the third U.S.-born defenseman selected first overall (Bryan Berard, Woonsocket, R.I., in 1995 and Erik Johnson, Bloomington, Minn., in 2006) and the first from a rising generation of players who hail from outside the traditional hockey hotbeds in the midwest and northeast states.
Jones has been nothing but golden for Team USA so far in his career, winning gold at the 2013 World Junior Championship and at both the 2011 and 2012 Under-18 World Championships. A U.S. National Team Development Program product, he currently leads all rookie WHL defensemen in scoring with 28 points (8-20–28) in 33 games and is carrying the blue line of a dominant Winterhawks club that has the WHL’s top record (37-5-1-0) through 43 games.
Center Nathan MacKinnon (Halifax, Nova Scotia) of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Halifax Mooseheads earned the No. 2 ranking among North American skaters. MacKinnon, one of three draft-eligible players to represent Canada at the 2013 World Junior Championship, leads the Mooseheads in scoring with 55 points (23-32–55) in 32 games.
Joining Jones and MacKinnon among the top North American skaters are: No. 3 Jonathan Drouin (Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec), a left wing also with the Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL); No. 4 Sean Monahan (Brampton, Ontario), a center with the Ottawa 67’s (OHL); and No. 5 Hunter Shinkaruk (Calgary, Alberta), a center with the Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL).
Center Aleksander Barkov (Tampere, Finland), who plays for Tappara, is the top-rated European-based player. Barkov is averaging nearly a point per game in his second season in Finland’s top league, tallying 31 points (14-17–31) in 35 games. He also competed for Finland at the 2013 World Junior Championship, recording seven points (3-4–7) in six games.
Halifax goaltender Zachary Fucale (Rosemère, Quebec) is the top-rated North American goaltender. Fucale, the fastest 17-year-old to reach 50 wins in QMJHL history, has backstopped Halifax to first place in the QMJHL standings, leading all goaltenders with 28 wins (28-4-1-1) while ranking second overall with a 2.50 goals-against average.
The mid-season rankings feature the top 210 skaters and 35 goaltenders in North America and top 116 skaters and 10 goaltenders from Europe.
In its 38th year of operation, NHL Central Scouting provides evaluation and scouting of draft-eligible players to NHL member clubs. Headed by Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr, NHL Central Scouting employs eight full-time and 17 part-time scouts throughout North America. To report on prospects playing in Europe, the NHL employs the services of Goran Stubb and his staff of five scouts at European Scouting Services based in Finland. Combined, NHL Central Scouting and European Scouting Service will see in excess of 3,000 games this season.
Due to the revised scheduling of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, details for the 2013 NHL Draft to be held at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey at the end of June will be announced at a later date.