NHL Central Scouting Service released its Preliminary Watch List for players eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft. As is customary, CSS broke players down into either A, B or C grades. An A rating indicates a first round candidate, B rating for second or third round and C for fourth through sixth round potential.
Although there is no Jack Eichel or Noah Hanifin in this year's draft class, it still could be a good year in the first round for followers of college hockey. No school is that more the truth than at Boston University where two recruits and a current player all were graded as A players. US National Team Development Program U-18 linemates Clayton Keller and Kieffer Bellows are both projected to be first rounders. NTDP alum and Terrier freshman Charlie McAvoy is also on the list as an A player. Although he is on the list as a B player, many scouts view Chad Krys as having the potential to go late in the first round.
Wisconsin freshman center Luke Kunin, who had two goals in last Thursday's USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, is the only other current NCAA player with an A grade.
North Dakota commit Tyson Jost, a forward out of Penticton in the BCHL, also received an A grade. Uncommitted BCHL product Dante Fabbro is also listed as a first round candidate.
While there are no players from New England prep school hockey slated for the top three rounds, Avon Old Farms was the big winner with four players given C grades. Forwards Patrick Harper (Boston University) and Jamie Armstrong (Northeastern), defenseman Adam Karashik (UConn) and goaltender Matt Ladd (Niagara) all made the list from the Connecticut prep school that has also produced the likes of Brian Leetch and Jonathan Quick.
The full Preliminary Watch List can be found here.
Jeff Cox covers college, junior, high school or prep hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.