The NHL's Central Scouting Bureau has released its September rankings for North American prospects and to no one's surprise, Nathan MacKinnon and Seth Jones find themselves in prominent positions.
The 17-year-old MacKinnon and the soon-to-be 18-year-old Jones are expected to be in a battle to be selected first overall in the 2013 NHL Draft.
Hailing from the same hometown as Sidney Crosby (Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia), MacKinnon totaled 44 goals and 106 points in 75 playoff and regular season games for the QMJHL's Halifax Mooseheads last season as a 16-year-old.
The 6-foot, 182-pound centre is coming off an impressive performance at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament, finishing with five goals and 11 points in five games to help lead Canada to its fifth straight tournament win.
A 6-foot-3, 208-pound defenceman, Jones is the son of former NBA player Popeye Jones.
After two seasons playing for the U.S. National Team Development Program Under-18 team, Jones will play with the WHL's Portland Winterhawks in 2012-13.
He served as American captain at the 2012 World Under-18 Championship and helped his country win gold, recording eight points in six games.
The competition for the No. 1 spot will begin in earnest on Friday, as both MacKinnon and Jones are scheduled to kick off their regular seasons.
And don't forget to tune in on Thursday as TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie presents his own Pre-season NHL Draft Ranking special at 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt.