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Jones tops final Central Scouting draft rankings

Seth Jones draft capsule (

By Mike Harrington

The Sabres are off today, have their final practice Thursday and play their final game of the season Friday night against the New York Islanders. Plenty of decisions to make, notably on Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller, before the draft is held June 30 at the Prudential Center in Newark.

(Miller said last night in Pittsburgh he wants to play here Friday night so he gets in his 500th game as a Sabre. Deserves the milestone, fan reaction aside).

Anyway, once the teams get to The Rock on draft day, they'll have an interesting cadre of talent to choose from. NHL Central Scouting has released its final rankings for the draft today and Portland defenseman Seth Jones, the American-born son of former NBA player Popeye Jones, is the No. 1 North American skater on the board. Nos. 2-3 are Halifax teammates Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin.

The lottery to determine the No. 1 pick in the draft will be held Monday featuring all 14 non-playoff teams. It will be at 8 p.m. and televised by NBC Sports Network.

Many fans of teams at the bottom of the standings have had a Twitter hashtag all season of #suckforSeth and he's going to be quite a prize on the blueline for whichever team lands him.

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds defenseman Darnell Nurse -- the nephew of longtime NFL quarterback Donavan McNabb -- is No. 4, followed by Sean Monahan of the Ottawa 67's at No. 5. 

Among European players, the top two players are both centers: Aleksander "Sasha" Barkov of Tappara in Finland and Valeri Nichushkin of Chelyabinsk in Russia

The Sabres, of course, are on the outside of these prospects right now. If the season ended today, they would pick at No. 9 unless they're fortunate enough to win the draft lottery or trade into a higher spot. They also, of course, own Minnesota's No. 1 pick in the Jason Pominville trade, a selection that would be finalized after the playoffs based on the Wild's finish now that it looks pretty certain Minnesota will qualify.


NHL Entry Draft
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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |