Central Scouting releases mid-term rankings
The NHL’s official scouting agency has uncorked its second set of player rankings for the upcoming NHL Draft this summer.

A few highlights:

-John Tavares is ranked first among North American skaters, followed by Matt Duchene, Evander Kane, Jordan Schroeder, and Brayden Schenn, in that order.

-Victor Hedman tops the European list, ahead of Swedish countryman Magnus Svensson Pääjärvi, Jacob Josefson, and David Rundblad.

-Edward Pasquale and Robin Lehner are the top rated North American and European goaltenders listed.

Full lists are at NHL.com.

Schenn upping stock with performance in WHL
After being left off Canada’s roster for the World Juniors, a clearly angered Brayden Schenn returned to the Brandon Wheat Kings out to show Pat Quinn and Canada’s selection team that they were wrong in not picking him for the squad. Schenn was named the Boston Pizza WHL Player of the Week for last week after putting up seven points in two Wheats wins over the week. Schenn’s strong play throughout the year (and his junior career) has kept him near the top of Central Scouting’s lists since the preliminary list was put out in November. Of all North American skaters, Schenn is ranked fifth right now.

Grant responding well after trade to Cataractes
Alex Grant, arguably the Penguins’ best defensive prospect, was traded a few weeks ago from the QMJHL Saint John Sea Dogs to the Shawinigan Cataractes. Grant had spent all of his junior career with the Sea Dogs, and he was a leadership figure in the dressing room as well as a key cog in the team’s defensive and offensive systems. Since being dealt to the QMJHL’s top team, Grant has eight points in six games, accumulating a mere two penalty minutes in that time. It will be interesting to see how things play out with regards to Grant’s NHL career and his and the Cataractes’ quest for the Memorial Cup.