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The NHL Central Scouting Bureau or NHL Central Scouting Services (CSS) is the organization that ranks prospects for the NHL Entry Draft at specific times during the hockey season. Players are ranked based on how well they will translate to the professional game in the National Hockey League. It was founded by hockey executive Jack Button in 1975 to establish a centralized database of NHL prospects. Button served as the director until 1979 and its current director is E.J. McGuire.
Currently, Taylor Hall of the Windsor Spitfires is the number one ranked North American skater and predicted to go first overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. However, McGuire says that it depends on what the team drafting at number one needs, and that the number one overall pick could indeed be Hall if the team needs a speedy left winger, Tyler Seguin if it needs a right-shooting centre, or Cam Fowler if it needs a defenceman.
The full time staff of the Central Scouting Bureau follows a checklist to assess the prospects' skillset and how it would apply to the pro game. Prospects are rated by skill as Excellent (E), Very Good (VG), Good (G), Average (A), Poor (P), or Not Applicable (NA), with different skills being emphasized amongst the different positions: forward, defenceman, and goaltender. The Bureau released the contents of the checklists to the public from their website, so anyone can evaluate players at any level of play. The rankings are compiled by numerous reviews by the professional scouts' combined opinions of the players and released as a bimonthly list.
Eligible players for the upcoming draft are ranked as North American Skaters, North American Goalies, International Skaters, or International Goalies. The players fit under the North American or International player based on where they train. For example, the Czech forward, Jakub Voráček was ranked as a North American prospect, because he played with the Halifax Mooseheads in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. A current example is Swiss forward Nino Niederreiter who is 14th on the North American ranks, as he plays for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League.
The latest rankings are the 2009-2010 Season Midterm Rankings for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. The Midterm Rankings are performed after the IIHF World U20 Championship to take into account performance in the prestigious tournament.
- ↑ "Hall grabs midterm top spot over Seguin, Fowler", NHL.com, January 11, 2010.
- ↑ "NHL Central Scouting Bureau", January 11, 2010.
- ↑ "North American Skaters Midterm Rankings", January 11, 2010.
- ↑ "North American Goalies Midterm Rankings", January 11, 2010.
- ↑ "International Skaters Midterm Rankings", January 11, 2010.
- ↑ "International Goalies Midterm Rankings", January 11, 2010.
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