Believe it or not, a kid from Texas is the hottest prospect on ice.
Defenseman Seth Jones of the Western Hockey League's Portland Winterhawks was named the top draft-eligible skater from North America for the 2013 NHL Draft in the league's Central Scouting Bureau's midseason rankings, which were released Tuesday.
Jones leads all rookie WHL defensemen with 28 points in 33 games for a team with the WHL's best record at 37-5-1.
If the Arlington, Texas, native is selected first overall in the NHL draft, he would be just the third U.S.-born defenseman to go No. 1. The others are Bryan Berard in 1995 and Erik Johnson in 2006.
Center Nathan MacKinnon of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Halifax Mooseheads received the No. 2 ranking among North American skaters. He leads the Mooseheads in scoring with 55 points in 32 games.
---The Nashville Predators have claimed forward Richard Clune on waivers from the Los Angeles Kings.
Clune is in the first of a two-year, two-way contract that will pay him $525,000 at the NHL level and $75,000 at the AHL level in 2012-13, and $525,000 at the NHL level and $90,000 at the AHL level in 2013-14.
Clune, 25, has not played in the NHL since 2009-2010 season, when he had two assists in 14 games for the Los Angeles Kings.
--- Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky is still not with the New York Islanders, but he is not playing for HC Slovan either as the situation continues to be unsettled.
The Islanders have already suspended Visnovsky for not showing up for camp and remaining overseas, but the KHL rejected Visnovsky's request to sign a contract with the HC Slovan because of the KHL's agreement to honor contracts players have with NHL teams.
Yahoo! Sports reported that the KHL statement also said it will try to negotiate a compromise with the Islanders to allow Visnovsky to play for HC Slovan.
For the moment, it appears Visnovsky won't be playing for anyone.
Visnovsky had six goals and 21 assists for Anaheim last season, and was traded to the Islanders in the offseason.
--One day after the Edmonton Oilers acquired defenseman Mark Fistric from Dallas in exchange for a third-round pick in the upcoming drafft, the Oilers said defenseman Andy Sutton is not expected to play this season because of his knee problems.
Sutton's serious knee injury may end his career, and there is a chance he will have a managerial role with the Oilers if he can't play.
Sutton, 37, signed a one-year, $1.75 million extension with the Oilers last February. He had 10 points in 52 games in 2010-2011, and he was signed because of his toughness and leadership. But he has since had surgery on his knee and is still recovering.