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McKenzie: Jones top prospect in TSN's NHL Draft Rankings

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Bob McKenzie
4/29/2013 9:16:17 PM
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There's been precious little change in TSN's Top 10 NHL Draft Rankings over the last few months.

All 10 top prospects who appeared on our rankings list in January remain there for the updated Draft Lottery edition, albeit with a little movement.

Portland Winterhawk defenceman Seth Jones remains the clear consensus top prospect. In a survey of 10 NHL team chief scouts, the American blueliner was chosen No. 1 by eight of them.

Halifax Moosehead centre Nate MacKinnon, who remains at No. 2, got one first-place vote, as did No. 3 ranked Moosehead teammate and linemate Jonathan Drouin, whose position is also the same now as in January.

But Drouin has closed the gap between himself and MacKinnon since January. Four of the 10 scouts surveyed actually ranked Drouin ahead of MacKinnon this time around, though MacKinnon was able to hold onto the No. 2 spot. Drouin had votes ranging from No. 1 to No. 7. MacKinnon was no lower than No. 4 on any ballot.

Finnish centre Aleksander Barkov is still a fixture at No. 4, but the big mover in these rankings is No. 5-ranked Russian winger Valeri Nichushkin, who dominated a February tourney after the January rankings were completed with him in the No. 10 slot. While Nichushkin has moved up five spots on the Draft Lottery edition list, the fact he has a two-year contract in the KHL makes some scouts a little leery of actually choosing him as high as he's ranked. That will be an interesting story line leading up to the draft.

Swedish centre Elias Lindholm went from No. 5 to No. 6 on today's list, Ottawa 67s centre Sean Monahan went from No. 6 to No. 7 and Finnish defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen went from No. 7 to No. 8.

Medicine Hat Tiger left winger Hunter Shinkaruk slipped, but only marginally, from No. 8 to a tie for No. 10 and London Knight defenceman Nikita Zadorov didn't move. He was No. 9 in January and is still No. 9 now.

The only 'new' name on the Top 10 Draft Lottery edition rankings, which is actually a Top 11, is Soo Greyhound defenceman Darnell Nurse, who had exactly the same number of voting points as Shinkaruk. Nurse was No. 12 on the mid-season list.

Nine other prospects received at least one vote as a Top 10 consideration and of that group, London Knight forward Max Domi and Edmonton Oil King forward Curtis Lazar were the only ones to get multiple Top 10 votes. Domi, for example, was extremely close to finishing tied with Shinkaruk and Nurse. Domi was No. 18 in January, Lazar was No. 25.

Others who received a Top 10 vote included: Swedish forwards Alexander Wennberg, Jacob De La Rose and Andre Burakowsky; London forward Bo Horvat; Everett defenceman Mirco Mueller; Brandon defenceman Ryan Pulock; and, Val d'Or forward Anthony Mantha.

The next TSN Draft Ranking will be the final Top 60 list and will be released in the week leading up to the June 30 draft in Newark, N.J.

Seth Jones (Photo: Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
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