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Blended NHL draft rankings

Nathan MacKinnon and Seth Jones have been battling all year for the honor to be picked No. 1 overall at the NHL draft. (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Nathan MacKinnon and Seth Jones have been battling all year for the honor to be picked No. 1 overall at the NHL draft. (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

The ranking of prospects you see in Draft Preview this year were assembled by scout Grant McCagg and fine-tuned by the scouting networks of THN writers Ryan Kennedy and Ken Campbell. Most of the legwork was done in April to conform to our production and printing schedule.

But with May came the feedback from the under-18 world juniors and the Memorial Cup. Most notably, Nathan MacKinnon rose in the eyes of most scouts to surpass Seth Jones as the No. 1 prospect. Other prospects did a bit of a rankings shuffle as well.

According to McCagg, the following prospects have risen since we published Draft Preview and he wouldn’t be surprised to see them selected higher than their DP ranking in parentheses. McCagg is quick to point out it doesn’t necessarily mean their play got better in May – many of them weren’t playing – just that general consensus is telling him they’re doing better in the court of scouting opinion.

Risers: Rasmus Ristolainen (22), Hunter Shinkaruk (23), Anthony Mantha (24), Frederik Gauthier (30), Madison Bowey (44), Emile Poirier (47), Nick Baptiste (63), Steve Santini (65), Laurent Dauphin (66) and Gage Ausmus (98).

Same idea with the list of fallers. McCagg says their play didn’t necessarily fall off in May. But they’re not quite as ballyhooed as they once were and are bound to slide a little lower than the numbers you see next to their names.

Fallers: Curtis Lazar (9), Ryan Pulock (10), Robert Hagg (12), Adam Erne (13), Andre Burakowsky (17), Linus Arnesson (40), Connor Hurley (48), Brett Pesce (52) and Keaton Thompson (75).

Just before the draft last year, I did a blog that assimilated the rankings from five separate draft rankings – effectively the thoughts and opinions of perhaps 100 scouts. Let’s do that again this year. Take the top off the blender, toss in the rankings from The Hockey News Draft Previews, International Scouting Services, Bob McKenzie from TSN, McKeen’s and Future Considerations, hit mix and see what comes out.

Twenty prospects appeared in the first round of all five lists. Three others appeared on four lists and six others appeared on three lists.

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BLENDED DRAFT EXPERT PROJECTIONS

1. Nathan MacKinnon, C
2. Seth Jones, D
3. Jonathan Drouin, LW
4. Aleksander Barkov, C
5. Valeri Nichushkin, RW
6. Elias Lindholm, C
7. Darnell Nurse, D
8. Sean Monahan, C
9. Nikita Zadorov, D
10. Alexander Wennberg, C
11. Curtis Lazar, C
12. Max Domi, C
13. Rasmus Ristolainen, D
14. Bo Horvat, C
15. Ryan Pulock, D
16. Hunter Shinkaruk, LW
17. Andre Burakowsky, LW
18. Joshua Morrissey, D
19. Anthony Mantha, LW
20. Kerby Rychel, LW
21. Adam Erne, LW
22. Robert Hagg, D
23. Frederik Gauthier, C
24. Samuel Morin, D
25. Mirco Mueller, D
26. Valentin Zykov, LW
27. Zachary Fucale, G
28. Ryan Hartman, LW
29. Ian McCoshen, D
30. Michael McCarron, RW

Brian Costello is The Hockey News’s senior editor and a regular contributor to THN.com with his column. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Brian Costello on Twitter at @BCostelloTHN

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