TORONTO (April 25, 2007) -- Center Kyle Turris of the Burnaby Express of the British Columbia Hockey League is the top-ranked North American skater for the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, according to NHL Central Scouting Bureau's final rankings released Wednesday. The final ranking features the top 210 skaters and 30 goaltenders in North America and top 175 skaters and 16 goaltenders from Europe.
Turris, a native of New Westminster, British Columbia, becomes the first Canadian Provincial Junior Hockey League player ever to be ranked first by Central Scouting. The 6'1", 170-pound centerman scored 50 goals in 39 games in 2006-07.
Joining Turris among the top North American skaters are a pair of American wingers: #2 ranked Patrick Kane (Buffalo, N.Y.) of the London Knights and #3 ranked James Van Riemsdyk (Middleton, N.J.) of the U.S. National Development Team Program. Kane led all scorers in the Canadian Hockey League in 2006-07 with 145 points (62-83-145), while Van Riemsdyk led his U.S. National Under-18 team to a silver medal this past weekend at the Under-18 World Championships and was named the top forward in the tournament.
The top three rated players are closely followed by two stand-out Western Hockey League defensemen: #4 ranked Keaton Ellerby from the Kamloops Blazers (Okotoks, Alberta) and #5 ranked Karl Alzner (Burnaby, B.C.) from the Calgary Hitmen.
Jeremy Smith (Brownston, Mich.) of the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League is the top-rated North American goaltender, while right wing Alexei Cherepanov (Omsk, Russia), fresh off of a gold medal at the Under-18 World Championships with Russia, is the top ranked European skater.
Cherepanov set a new record for most goals by a rookie in the Russian Super League this season with 18, surpassing former NHL great Pavel Bure's mark (17) set in 1988-89.
"This year's Draft is very even at the top, with no clear-cut number one," said NHL Director of Central Scouting E.J. McGuire. "A lot will depend on the position and needs of the particular team. There are many different options available at the top end on draft day for NHL teams. There are dynamic offensive players in Kyle Turris and Alexei Cherepanov; a great playmaking forward in Patrick Kane; a power forward in James Van Riemsdyk; an offensive, hard-hitting defenseman in Keaton Ellerby and a stay-at-home playmaking defenseman in Karl Alzner."
In its 31st year of operation, the NHL Central Scouting Service provides scouting and evaluation of draft-eligible players to NHL member clubs. Headed by Director of Central Scouting E.J. McGuire, NHL Central Scouting employs nine full-time and six part-time scouts throughout North America and works with Goran Stubb of the European Scouting Service and his staff of five full-time scouts to cover prospects playing throughout Europe. Combined, the NHL Central Scouting and European Scouting Service will have seen in excess of 3,000 games this season.
The 2007 NHL Entry Draft will take place at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The first round will take place on Friday, June 22 commencing at 7 p.m., ET (VERSUS, TSN, RDS, NHL Radio, NHL.com audio stream) and the subsequent rounds (two through seven) will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 23 (NHL Network, NHL.com video stream).
The Chicago Blackhawks hold the first overall selection and are followed in the top five by the Philadelphia Flyers, Phoenix Coyotes, Los Angeles Kings and Washington Capitals.
The order of selection for the first 14 drafting positions in the first round, only, of the 2007 Entry Draft is as follows:
1. Chicago Blackhawks
2. Philadelphia Flyers
3. Phoenix Coyotes
4. Los Angeles Kings
5. Washington Capitals
6. Edmonton Oilers
7. Columbus Blue Jackets
8. Boston Bruins
9. St. Louis Blues
10. Florida Panthers
11. Carolina Hurricanes
12. Montreal Canadiens
13. Toronto Maple Leafs
14. Colorado Avalanche
The remaining drafting positions will be determined at the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Following are brief profiles (listed alphabetically) on some of the top-rated prospects for the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.Fans can view a complete listing of the 2007 rankings at http://www.nhl.com/futures/index.html
Karl Alzner, Defense, Calgary Hitmen (WHL)
Born: September 24, 1988 in Burnaby, British Columbia
6'2", 209 lbs.
Ranked fifth among North American skaters... named a 2006-07 Eastern Conference Second Team All-Star after finishing the season with 47 points (8-39-47) and a plus-16 rating... was a member of Team Canada's gold medal-winning team at the 2007 World Junior Championships in Sweden... was Calgary's Scholastic Player of the Year in 2005 and 2006.
Mikael Backlund, Center, Vasteras (Swedish Elite League)
Born: March 17, 1989 in Vasteras, Sweden
6'0", 194 lbs.
Ranked second among European skaters... helped lead Team Sweden to a bronze medal at the 2007 Under-18 World Championships after defeating Canada 8-3... was the leading goal scorer at the Under-18 World Championships (7)... was named Most Valuable Player of the 2006 Mac's Midget Tournament.
Born: March 30, 1989 in Oakville, Ontario
5'11", 180 lbs.
Ranked second among North American goaltenders... finished the season with 23 wins (23-32-1-4) and a .909 save percentage... was the youngest goalie selected to attend the Canadian National Junior Team selection camp in 2006... was named to the Eastern Conference Team for the OHL All-Star Classic in 2007... recorded a shutout with 23 saves for Team OHL at the Canada-Russia Challenge in 2006.
Alexei Cherepanov, Right Wing, Avangard Omsk (Russian Super League)
Born: January 15, 1989 in Barnaul, Russia
6'0", 183 lbs.
Is the top ranked European skater... set a record for goals by a Russian Super League rookie (18) in 2006-07, surpassing Pavel Bure's record (17) set in 1988-89 with the Red Army (CSKA Moscow)... his 29 points as a 17-year-old are more than the totals recorded by Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin, Washington's Alex Ovechkin and Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk in their first year in the Russian Super League... won a silver medal with Team Russia at the 2007 World Junior Championships.
Keaton Ellerby, Defense, Kamloops Blazers (WHL)
Born: November 5, 1988 in Strathmore, Alberta
6'4, 194 lbs.
Ranked fourth among North American skaters... completed his third season with the Kamloops Blazers in 2006-07... is a cousin of Phoenix Coyotes' captain Shane Doan... won the hardest shot competition at the 2007 CHL Top Prospects Game with shots registering 94.2 and 95.6 miles-per-hour... attended Team Canada's Selection camp for the 2007 World Junior Championships.
Angelo Esposito, Center, Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)
Born: February 20, 1989 in Montreal, Quebec
6'1", 180 lbs.
Ranked eight among North American skaters... captained the Team Canada at the 2007 Under-18 World Championships... member of the 2006 Memorial Cup Champion Quebec Remparts, posting five points (1-4-5) in four Memorial Cup games... awarded the Michel Bergeron Trophy as the QMJHL's Top Offensive Rookie in 2005-06.
Sam Gagner, Center, London Knights (OHL)
Born: August 10, 1989 in London, Ontario
5'11", 190 lbs.
Ranked sixth among North American skaters... was the youngest member of Team Canada's gold medal-winning team at the 2007 World Junior Championships in Sweden... member of the Western Conference All-Stars for the OHL All-Star Classic, tallying five points (1-4-5)... finished second in CHL rookie scoring with 118 points in 53 games (35-83-118) in 2006-07... is the son of former NHL'er Dave Gagner.
Joel Gistedt, Goaltender, Frolunda (Sweden)
Born: December 7, 1987 in Uddevalla Sweden
5'11", 176 lbs.
Is the top ranked European goaltender... had a 1.98 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage as Team Sweden's starting goaltender at the 2007 World Junior Championships... had a shutout in his first ever senior pro game on Dec. 8, 2005, stopping 21 shots for the 3-0 victory.
Patrick Kane, Right Wing, London Knights (OHL)
Born: November 19, 1988 in Buffalo, New York
5'9", 162 lbs.
Ranked second among North American skaters... captured the OHL and CHL scoring titles with 145 points (62-83-145) as a rookie in 2006-07... had nine points (5-4-9) as a member of Team USA's bronze medal-winning team at the 2007 World Junior Championships in Sweden... had 102 points for the U.S. National Under-18 Team in 2005-06 - setting a record for points in a season (previously held by Phil Kessel --98).
Jeremy Smith, Goalie, Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
Born: April 13, 1989 in Brownstown, Michigan
6'0", 159 lbs.
Is the top ranked North American goaltender... was second in the OHL and second among rookie goaltenders during the regular season with a .923 save percentage in 2006-07... had only one loss in his last 18 games of the 2006-07 (dating back to Nov. 25, 2006)... currently holds the fifth longest shutout streak in franchise history at 151:37 (Oct. 13 - 29, 2006)... recorded the win at the 2007 CHL Top Prospects Game for Team Red, stopping 14 of 15 shots.
Kyle Turris, Center, Burnaby Express (BCJHL)
Born: August 14, 1989 in New Westminster, British Columbia
6'1", 170 lbs.
Is the top ranked North American skater... scored 50 goals in 39 games and had 13 multi-point games, including three games with four goals in 2006-07... was second in the BCHL in scoring during the regular season with 121 points (66-55-121)... was named the BCHL's Most Valuable Player in 2007... won the Royal Bank Cup (Canadian National Tier 2 Junior champion) in 2006 with the Burnaby Express - named the Tournament MVP after posting 13 points (7-6-13) in six games, including a hat trick in the final game... represented Team Canada at the 2007 Under-18 World Championships in Finland.
James Van Riemsdyk, Left Wing, U.S. National Under-18 Team
Born: May 4, 1989 in Middletown, New Jersey
6'3", 200 lbs.
Ranked third among North American skaters... made his U.S. Junior Team debut at the 2007 World Junior Championship where he helped Team USA capture the bronze medal... led his team with 63 points (33-30-63) in 42 games in 2006-07... led Team USA to a silver medal and was named the Top Forward at the 2007 Under-18 World Championships... will attend the University of New Hampshire in 2007.
Jakub Voracek, Right Wing, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
Born: August 15, 1989 in Kladno, Czech Republic
6'1.25", 191 lbs.
Ranked seventh among North American skaters... awarded the 2007 Michel-Bergeron award as the QMJHL's Top Offensive Rookie... set a new franchise record with his 56th assist in 2006-07, surpassing Ladislav Nagy's (Dallas Stars) mark set in 1998-99... played for the Czech Republic at the 2007 World Junior Championships, helping them to a 5th place finish... represented the Czech Republic at the 2007 Under-18 World Championships.