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Yakupov leads International Scouting Service rankings

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TSN.ca Staff
10/17/2011 1:54:48 AM
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The International Scouting Services have released their October Top 30 prospects list for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Leading the way in the early-season rankings is Sarnia Sting winger Nail Yakupov.

Yakupov is quickly becoming the early consensus number-one selection for this year's draft, having already topped pre-season lists compiled by TSN analysts Bob McKenzie and Craig Button.

After impressing with 101 points in 65 games en route to winning CHL Rookie of the Year honours in 2010-11, the highly-skilled Russian has already amassed seven goals and 18 assists in just 10 games with the Sting so far this season.

Fellow Russian Mikhail Grigorenko followed Yakupov as the ISS' number-two prospect, opening up the possibility for the first Russian one-two draft-day combination since Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin in 2004.

Everett defender Ryan Murray and Swedish forward Filip Forsberg were ranked three and four respectively before a run of blueliners.

Five of the remaining Top 10 prospects are defencemen including: Moose Jaw's Moragn Rielly, Red Deer's Matt Dumba, U.S. Under-18 defender Jacob Trouba, Windsor's Nick Ebert and Peterborough's Slater Koekkoek. Belleville centre Brendan Gance was the lone forward in the back half of the Top 10.

Last October, Drummondville centre Sean Couturier was ranked number one by the ISS with eventual first-overall selection Ryan Nugent-Hopkins placing second. Couturier would later be selected eighth overall by Philadelphia.

Although no official announcement has been made, the 2012 NHL Entry Draft is expected to be held in Pittsburgh June 22-24.

Nail Yakupov (Photo: Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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