Seth Jones top ranked prospect heading into NHL draft

Portland Winterhawks defenceman Seth Jones (right) was ranked the top North American skater by NHL...

Portland Winterhawks defenceman Seth Jones (right) was ranked the top North American skater by NHL Central Scouting heading into the NHL draft. (PAUL DARROW/Reuters)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:24 PM ET

The team that wins the NHL draft lottery will have to choose between Portland Winterhawks defenceman Seth Jones and Halifax Mooseheads forwards Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin.

But as far as NHL Central Scouting is concerned, Jones is still the top prospect for this summer’s draft.

Jones topped the final ranking list of North American skaters for the draft released Wednesday, followed by MacKinnon and Drouin. There was no change to the order of the top three from the mid-term rankings.

“These are players you can build your team around, so what kind of player do you want to build with?” Central Scouting director Dan Marr said on NHL.com. “Do you want to build from the back-end out, or do you want to build up the middle? There’s no steadfast answer, so the projection is what the player will mean to the team.

“We think Seth’s game is still going to develop, as are MacKinnon and Drouin, but we had no reason to remove Seth from that No. 1 spot. We do feel Nathan will get stronger and continue to develop.”

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds defenceman Darnell Nurse made the jump from ninth on the mid-term report to fourth while Ottawa 67’s centre Sean Monahan slipped one spot to fifth.

There was also some big movement — up and down — later in the rankings. Owen Sound Attack winger Zach Nastasiuk moved up 20 spots to 13th while Guelph Storm centre Jason Dickinson dropped 14 spots to 30th. Rimouski Oceanic defenceman Samuel Morin climbed from 76th at the mid-term to 23rd on the final list.

Tappara (Finland) centre Aleksander Barkov topped the list of European skaters, with Chelyabinsk (Russia) winger Valeri Nichushkin and Brynas (Sweden) centre Elias Lindholm rounding out the top three.

Halifax’s Zachary Fucale was the top-rated North American goalie while Juuse Saros of HPK Junior (Finland) was No. 1 among Europeans.

The draft is scheduled for June 30 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.


Videos

Photos