This time of year always reminds that it's time for scouts to start formulating their initial rankings- usually by the end of the New Years' tournaments. This may surprise some readers but most NHL scouts do not have meaningful rankings made yet- mainly because they haven't seen a wide enough range of players to make it meaningful. That why I find it a bit odd when I hear on HF that scout (or rabid draft fan) X has player Y rated 47th, or "4th round" or something like that as of mid-November (although a half-decent scout can, on occasion, make an educated guess). What most scouts have been doing so far is not rating players against each other on a list but giving each player a numerical ranking, without regard to "draft position". So, you may watch, say, Mark Katic and give him a 2.3 but you'd have little idea where that puts him overall since you still haven't seen seven OHL and five Q teams yet and you may want to see Katic at least twice more before feeling comfortable with the grade. Many systems allow scouts to keep a running ranking- if they wish to look at it- from the first game forward but it's generally not very meaningful until the end of December, except to identify priority players early. In early January most NHL teams will be consolidating all this information into a very basic early overall list. This is the one that will determine who they want to see in the Prospects game and where their scouting focus will be during the 2nd half of the season. Thought this might be interesting to some readers.