Jones, MacKinnon top ranked in 2013 NHL draft

Halifax Moosehead's Nathan MacKinnon, left, charges up ice against the Gatineau Olympiques, Mikael...

Halifax Moosehead's Nathan MacKinnon, left, charges up ice against the Gatineau Olympiques, Mikael Langlois, at the Robert Guertin Arena in Gatineau, Que. on Nov. 9, 2012. (Darren Brown/QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:03 PM ET

Defenceman Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks, centre cof the Halifax Mooseheads and centre Sean Mohahan of the Ottawa 67's top NHL Central Scouting's preliminary rankings of North American prospects for the 2013 draft.

Jones is the top prospect from the WHL, MacKinnon is No. 1 in the QMJHL and Monahan is first among OHL players. The preliminary rankings break down the players by league for North America and by country for Europeans.

Forwards Alexander Barkov of Tappara in Finland and Elias Lindholm of Brynas in Sweden are considered the best of the bunch in Europe.

MacKinnon, who has 19 goals and 18 assists in 22 games this season, is vying to become the first player from the QMJHL since Sidney Crosby in 2005 to be drafted first overall. In fact, it's a bumper year in the Q, according to Central Scouting director Dan Marr.

"There are top-end prospects and a lot more high-end players from the QMJHL in the top 100 this year -- more so than there have been in the past few years for sure," Marr told NHL.com. "This is a very strong year in the Q."

Eric Comrie of the Tri-City Americans (WHL), Zachary Fucale of the Mooseheads (QMJHL) and Spencer Martin of the Mississauga Steelheads (OHL) are the top-rated North American goalies.

SEMIN STILL SLOW

Carolina Hurricanes forward Alex Semin has been playing in the KHL for two months but still doesn't feel he's in game shape yet.

Semin joined his hometown team, Sokol Krasnoyarsk, of the Russian second-tier league soon after the NHL lockout started then moved up to Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod of the KHL a couple of weeks later. He has two goals and five assists in eight games with Torpedo.

"Without doubt, I still need to improve my physical condition," he said on the team website. "I could have scored more points. A lot of chances have come up, but I don't always have enough composure yet."

Semin signed a one-year, $7 million free-agent deal with the Hurricanes in July after six seasons with the Washington Capitals.

HALAK OFF TO KHL?

One half of the top goaltending tandem in the NHL last season will soon join Moscow Spartak of the KHL.

According to multiple reports, St. Louis Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak has agreed to terms with Spartak and will play alongside former NHLers Shaone Morrisonn, Branko Radivojevic and Oleg Petrov.

Halak is the 11th NHL goalie to head overseas to play during the NHL lockout and fifth to sign with a KHL club.

Last season, Halak and Brian Elliott teamed up to win the Jennings Trophy after allowing the fewest goals against. Halak finished with a goals-against average of 1.97, fourth-best in the NHL.

AHL KEEPING RULE

The American Hockey League will continue its experiment with hybrid icing, league president David Andrews announced Tuesday.

The AHL's board of governors voted that the trial period for the "current test of AHL Rule 82 ("Icing")" will be extended until the NHL returns. Once that happens, it will be reconsidered by the AHL board.

The hybrid rule allows for icing to be waved off if, in the event of a race for the puck, the attacking player is even with or ahead of the defender when they pass the facoff circle.

"I have had nothing but positive feedback from coaches, from players, from scouts," Andrews told the Sporting News last month. "It's going really well. We'll get feedback from NHL general managers, but I expect we'll leave it in for the rest of the year."

 


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