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Early look at 2012 NHL draft class, trends

Every draft has its own particular personality and themes, and the 2012 entry draft figures to be distinctly different than the one that wrapped up in Minneapolis over the weekend.

Before offering up our preliminary list of late-1993 and 1994 birthdays, please consider this advisory: If it's not obvious to you, keep in mind that it's very early to start drawing up lists and far too early to reach any conclusions. Some teams and scouts put no emphasis on underage lists, believing that the only useful scouting that can be done comes in a prospect's draft year. This time last year Sean Couturier would have been the first player selected from the late-1992 and 1993s, and Ryan Strome and Mark Scheifele wouldn't have been in the conversation for the top 30, never mind the top 10. It's not that things can change -- they will change.

As we said, it's too early to reach definitive conclusions, but there are a couple of trends that seem to be emerging and are at least worth tracking based on our preliminary list of 2012's top 10 prospects.