The NHL's Central Scouting Bureau released its mid-season prospect rankings, something that might be of real interest to the Lightning this year, figured it was a good primer for the draft. The entire list is available on NHL.com.
Center Steven Stamkos and defenseman Drew Doughty, two key members of Canada's gold-medal team at the recently-completed IIHF World Junior Championships, are the top-ranked skaters for North American clubs in the NHL Central Scouting Service mid-season ranking of players eligible for the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, June 20-21 in Ottawa.
Stamkos, ranked by NHL Central Scouting as the top skater playing in North America, was fourth on Team Canada in scoring with six points (one goal, five assists) in seven tournament games. The 6-1, 183-lb. native of Unionville, Ontario also has recorded 51 points (30 goals, 21 assists) in 32 games with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League.
Doughty, the No. 2-ranked North American skater, contributed four assists in seven games during Canada's gold-medal run. The 6-0, 213-lb. native of London, Ontario has posted 31 points (seven goals, 24 assists) in 30 games with the OHL Guelph Storm.
Joining Stamkos and Doughty among the top North American skaters are: No. 3 Zach Bogosian (Massena, N.Y.), a defenseman with the Peterborough Petes (OHL) and the top-rated U.S.-born skater in the rankings; No. 4 Kyle Beach (Kelowna, B.C.), a center with the Everett Silvertips (WHL); and No. 5 Alex Pietrangelo (King City, Ont.), a defenseman with the Niagara IceDogs (OHL).
Chet Pickard (Winnipeg, Man.) of the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League is the top-rated North American goaltender, while left wing Nikita Filatov (Moscow, Russia) of Russian Super League club CSKA and goaltender Harri Sateri (Toijala, Finland) with Tappara of the Finnish junior league are the top-ranked skater and goaltender, respectively, in Europe.
The mid-season ranking features the top 210 skaters and 30 goaltenders in North America and top 170 skaters and 15 goaltenders from Europe.