Central Scouting today released its annual pre-season ranking of North American and European players eligible for the upcoming NHL entry draft. To nobody’s surprise, Brandon Wheat Kings center Nolan Patrick topped the list of North Americans. Patrick, born in September of 1998, put up 102 points in 71 games in the WHL this year, and added 30 more in just 21 playoff games.
The top ranked European-based prospect was Kristian Vesalainen, who turned 17 last month, and last year had two points in 19 games playing for Frolunda in Sweden. Other top prospects include Victoriaville’s Maxime Comtois, Kelowna’s Callan Foote, and Mississauga’s Nicolas Hague.
The list defines “North American” as a player who plays in a North American league, meaning that an American player playing in Europe, like Auston Matthews last year, would be ranked among the European skaters. Similarly, Swede Alex Nylander, who played last year for the OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads, was ranked among the North American skaters.