Wisconsin’s Turris Leads College-Bound Players In NHL Draft Rankings

Wisconsin freshman-to-be Kyle Turris has turned heads in the last few months, enough so that the NHL Central Scouting Bureau (CSB) ranked him number one among North American forwards and defensemen eligible for this summer’s NHL Entry Draft.

Turris, a center, was ranked fifth in the CSB midterm rankings but leapfrogged a group of players that included New Hampshire recruit James van Riemsdyk, who was third in the final rankings released Wednesday.

In attaining the top ranking, Turris, who played this past season for the Burnaby Express of the British Columbia Hockey League — registering 121 points in 53 regular-season games — becomes the first player from the Canadian Provincial Junior Hockey League to reach the top of the CBS rankings.

Bradley Eidsness, who has committed to attend North Dakota in 2008, is the top-ranked North America goaltender with collegiate ties, at fifth overall. Notre Dame recruit Brad Phillips dropped from fourth to ninth among North American goaltenders in the final rankings.

In total, 10 current or incoming college players landed in the top 30 of the final CSB rankings. In addition to Turris and van Riemsdyk, Ryan McDonagh (Wisconsin, defense, 11th), Tommy Cross (Boston College, defense, 12th), Max Pacioretty (Michigan, left wing, 16th), Nicholas Petrecki (Boston College, defense, 21st), Mike Hoeffel (Minnesota, forward, 22nd), Patrick White (Minnesota, center, 23rd), and Colby Cohen (Boston University, defense, 25th) are all incoming recruits ranked in the top 30. Colorado College left wing Bill Sweatt is the top current college player, checking in at 27th.

While this group all saw their stocks remain relatively stable or rise at season’s end, Boston University recruit Kevin Shattenkirk fell from 13th at midterm to 34th in the final CSB rankings.

A more dramatic fall, though, was by Angelo Esposito. Esposito, who plays for the Quebec Ramparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, was ranked first among North America skaters in the midterm rankings but fell all the way to ninth, making room for Turris to assume the top spot.

Trevor Cann of the Peterborough Petes (Ontario Hockey League), also fell from the top spot on the North American goaltenders list, through he dropped just one spot with Plymouth (OHL) netminder Jeremy Smith moving to the number-one ranking.

This year’s NHL Entry Draft will take place June 22 and 23 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. For the first time ever, the Draft’s opening round will take place in prime time on Friday night, while rounds two through seven will be completed beginning Saturday morning.