The NHL regular season has wrapped up and the schedule for the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs has been announced. But while 16 teams hope for a chance to hoist Lord Stanley's eponymous trophy, the remainder of the league will now set its sights on the first major event of the offseason; namely, the 2012 NHL Draft, which will take place in Pittsburgh in June.
The NHL has released its final list of draft-eligible prospect rankings before the draft takes place. As NHL.com notes, it is no surprise that the name topping the list is that of Nail Yakupov, the 18-year-old Russian right wing who currently skates for the Sarnia Sting in the Ontario Hockey League. Yakupov put up 101 points in his rookie season with the Sting in 2010-11 and recorded another 69 points in 42 games this past season before being sidelined with an injury.
Close behind Yakupov in the rankings is center Filip Forsberg, who plays with Leskand in the Swedish league. He helped lead Sweden to a gold medal in the 2012 World Junior Championships and is considered one of the best Swedish prospects in over a decade.
The top-ranked North American players in this year's draft are No. 4 defenseman Morgan Rielly of Vancouver, British Columbia, and No. 5 Alex Galchenyuk, who hails from Milwaukee, Wis.
The lottery to determine the order of the first 14 picks in the 2012 NHL Draft will happen Tuesday. You can find the full rankings and more information on the prospects at NHL.com.
For lots more on the 2012 NHL Draft, please visit SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.