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Wednesday, 04.25.2007 / 10:45 PM ET / News
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TORONTO (April 25, 2007) -- Center Kyle Turris of the Burnaby Express of the British Columbia Hockey League is the top-ranked North American skater for the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, according to NHL Central Scouting Bureau's final rankings released today. The final ranking features the top 210 skaters and 30 goaltenders in North America and top 175 skaters and 16 goaltenders from Europe.

Turris, a native of New Westminster, British Columbia, becomes the first Canadian Provincial Junior Hockey League player ever to be ranked first by Central Scouting. The 6'1", 170-pound centerman scored 50 goals in 39 games in 2006-07.

Joining Turris among the top North American skaters are a pair of American wingers: #2 ranked Patrick Kane (Buffalo, N.Y.) of the London Knights and #3 ranked James Van Riemsdyk (Middleton, N.J.) of the U.S. National Development Team Program. Kane led all scorers in the Canadian Hockey League in 2006-07 with 145 points (62-83-145), while Van Riemsdyk led his U.S. National Under-18 team to a silver medal this past weekend at the Under-18 World Championships and was named the top forward in the tournament.

The top three rated players are closely followed by two stand-out Western Hockey League defensemen: #4 ranked Keaton Ellerby from the Kamloops Blazers (Okotoks, Alberta) and #5 ranked Karl Alzner (Burnaby, B.C.) from the Calgary Hitmen.

Jeremy Smith (Brownston, Mich.) of the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League is the top-rated North American goaltender, while right wing Alexei Cherepanov (Omsk, Russia), fresh off of a gold medal at the Under-18 World Championships with Russia, is the top ranked European skater.

Cherepanov set a new record for most goals by a rookie in the Russian Super League this season with 18, surpassing former NHL great Pavel Bure’s mark (17) set in 1988-89.

“This year’s Draft is very even at the top, with no clear-cut number one,” said NHL Director of Central Scouting E.J. McGuire. “A lot will depend on the position and needs of the particular team. There are many different options available at the top end on draft day for NHL teams.  There are dynamic offensive players in Kyle Turris and Alexei Cherepanov; a great playmaking forward in Patrick Kane; a power forward in James Van Riemsdyk; an offensive, hard-hitting defenseman in Keaton Ellerby and a stay-at-home playmaking defenseman in Karl Alzner."

In its 31st year of operation, the NHL Central Scouting Service provides scouting and evaluation of draft-eligible players to NHL member clubs. Headed by Director of Central Scouting E.J. McGuire, NHL Central Scouting employs nine full-time and six part-time scouts throughout North America and works with Goran Stubb of the European Scouting Service and his staff of five full-time scouts to cover prospects playing throughout Europe. Combined, the NHL Central Scouting and European Scouting Service will have seen in excess of 3,000 games this season.

The 2007 NHL Entry Draft will take place at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The first round will take place on Friday, June 22 commencing at 7 p.m., ET (VERSUS, TSN, RDS, NHL Radio, NHL.com audio stream) and the subsequent rounds (two through seven) will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 23 (NHL Network, NHL.com video stream).

The Chicago Blackhawks hold the first overall selection and are followed in the top five by the Philadelphia Flyers, Phoenix Coyotes, Los Angeles Kings and Washington Capitals.

The full rankings in all categories are available at NHL.com, media.nhl.com and through the League’s Public Relations Department in Toronto (416-981-2777) and New York (212-789-2000).

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