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Wednesday, May 12, 2004
Ovechkin likely to be No. 1 pick in draft

Associated Press

TORONTO -- Michigan sophomore Al Montoya topped the list of North American goaltenders eligible for the NHL draft in rankings released Wednesday.

BREAKDOWN: NORTH AMERICAN
SKATERS & GOALIES
LEAGUE NO.
Canadian Major Junior 116
Ontario Hockey Leauge 47
Western Hockey League 41
Quebec Major Junior Hockey Leauge 28
U.S. Junior 45
United States Hockey Leauge 29
Eastern Junior Hockey League 7
U.S. National Under-18 Team 4
North American Hockey League 3
Independent 2
U.S. College 37
Central Collegiate Hockey Assoc. 14
Hockey East 10
Eastern College Athletic Conf. 8
Western Collegiate Hockey Assoc. 5
U.S. High School 35
Canada Junior 28
British Columbia Hockey League 14
Alberta Junior Hockey League 14
Ontario Junior A 5
Ontario Junior B 1
Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League 1
Montoya helped lead the United States to the gold medal at the world junior championships earlier this year when he was chosen as the tournament's top goaltender. He was 26-12-2 with a 2.23 goals-against average and .917 save percentage in 40 games with Michigan.

While Montoya led the list of goalies in the league's Central Scouting Service rankings, Russian forward Alexander Ovechkin is likely to be the first pick when the Washington Capitals are on the clock at the June draft in Raleigh, N.C.

Ovechkin, a member of the gold medal-winning Russian team at last year's world junior tournament, is the top-ranked European skater. He had 13 goals and 10 assists in 53 games with Moscow Dynamo of the Russian Elite League.

Andrew Ladd of the Western Hockey League's Calgary Hitmen was the top ranked North American skater. Ladd led WHL rookies in scoring and tied for 12th in the league overall with 30 goals and 45 assists in 71 games.

Following Ladd among leading North American skaters are defenseman Cameron Barker of Medicine Hat in the WHL, left wing Alexandre Picard of Lewiston in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, center Kyle Chipchura from Prince Albert of the WHL, and left wing Wojtek Wolski of Brampton in the Ontario Hockey League.

Montoya tops a list of North American goalies that also includes Devan Dubnyk of Kamloops in the WHL, David Shantz of Mississauga in the OHL, Justin Peters from Toronto St. Michaels in the OHL, and Jeff Glass of Kootenay in the WHL.

The final ranking features the top 231 skaters and 30 goaltenders in North America and top 161 skaters and 13 goaltenders from Europe. The first three rounds of the draft are June 26 with rounds four through nine the following day.

The Central Scouting Service provides scouting and evaluation of draft-eligible players to NHL clubs.