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Couturier, Landeskog, Nugent-Hopkins among top prospects in preliminary rankings

TORONTO – Drummondville Voltigeurs centre Sean Couturier, Kitchener Rangers left-winger Gabriel Landeskog and Red Deer Rebels centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are among the top prospects in the NHL Central Scouting Bureau’s preliminary rankings for the 2011 draft.

Couturier is the top-ranked player in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Landeskog leads the Ontario Hockey League while Nugent-Hopkins is No. 1 in the Western Hockey League.

The preliminary rankings, released Tuesday, were sorted by league or country and not cross-checked against each other. The bureau’s mid-term rankings are due Jan. 10.

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Right-winger Tyler Biggs leads the United States Hockey League rankings, which include national development team players.

Right-winger Maxim Shalunov leads the rankings in Russia, defenceman Adam Larsson is tops among Swedes, winger Joel Armia heads the Finland list while winger Dmitri Jaskin sits first in the Czech Republic.

The Minnesota Wild host the 2011 draft on June 24.