Well, draft fans- it's that time of year again.
Every April, just after the regular season and before the lottery selection to determine the official order for 1-14 in the NHL Entry Draft, the Central Scouting Service releases its final rankings.
This year, it will be with heavy heart that they come out, as the CSS director E.J. McGuire's mortal remains are laid to rest on Tuesday in Oakville, Ontario.
We will of course bring you analysis of the lists for North America and Europe when we get them, and to do it right will take some time.
If you have not done so already, be sure to go to NHL.com and follow Mike G. Morreale's draft work. He's not only been on the inside for all the meetings and knows precisely what went on as far as the process goes, but he's a good friend and colleague who is one of the top pros out there.
We'll be following along after Mike's killed it with the initial release stories and insights, but you're missing the boat if you aren't reading his draft work, in addition to the prodigious amount of coverage he does for the NHL.
This week, we're going to have some draft watch player lists for you to digest as the Under-18 Championship gets underway in Germany. NHL scouts and management are heading there right now and this is a key event in the process leading up to the draft as a performance there can go long way toward lifting a player's stock or sending trending downward.
So, be sure to hit the blog early this week and often. The content will keep coming, and while we can't promise a "case for" post this week, you can bet that with Mika Zibanejad playing in the U18s, we'll have our sources keeping a close eye on him so that we can beat the competition to the punch when the tourney wraps up next week.