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Posted On Thursday, 06.26.2014 / 5:13 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Draisaitl briefly shifts focus from hockey to soccer

PHILADELPHIA -- While his attention has been focused on the final things he has to do to get ready for the start of the 2014 NHL Draft on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS), Prince Albert Raiders center Leon Draisaitl had his focus tuned to another sport.

The native of Cologne, Germany, tried to watch as much as he could of the World Cup match Thursday between Germany and the United States. Germany won 1-0 but both teams advanced to the round of 16.


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Posted On Thursday, 06.26.2014 / 5:03 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Top Euros eye NHL next season or will play at home

PHILADELPHIA -- It appears it will be the NHL or Europe next season for NHL Central Scouting's top two European skaters for the 2014 NHL Draft.

Kasperi Kapanen of KalPa in Finland and William Nylander of Sodertalje in Sweden's second division both said they would like to play in the NHL in 2014-15. If not, they would rather play against more developed opponents in their home countries rather than play junior hockey in the Canadian Hockey League.

Nylander, Central Scouting's No. 2-ranked European player, played with three teams this season, including Rogle in Sweden's second division, where his teammate was his father, former NHL player Michael Nylander. He also played for Modo in the Swedish Hockey League, but had his most success with second-division team Sodertalje, totaling 11 goals and eight assists in 17 games. He is eligible for the 2014 CHL Import Draft next month, but said junior hockey isn't a consideration.

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.25.2014 / 4:44 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Hitting at Phillies park a thrill for six prospects

PHILADELPHIA -- The Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies were out for early stretching on the field at Citizens Bank Park while a few of the top prospects for the 2014 NHL Draft were taking some swings off a batting tee.

None of the baseball players need to be worried about losing their jobs.

Though none of the six prospects came close to clearing the outfield fence, they certainly had a good time.

"It was fun," Kingston Frontenacs center Samuel Bennett told NHL.com. "I was a little disappointed we couldn't hit off a pitcher, but it was cool to hit on the field. You don't really realize how far away the wall is. It feels a whole lot farther than it looks."

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.25.2014 / 2:14 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Betsy Ross House offers history lesson for prospects

PHILADELPHIA -- The top prospects for the 2014 NHL Draft made a stop at the Betsy Ross House in the historic section of the city.

They posed for pictures with Betsy Ross and Benjamin Franklin and toured the colonial-era home.

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.25.2014 / 1:26 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Prospects take bite out of Philly, cheesesteak style

PHILADELPHIA -- The top 2014 NHL Draft prospects continued their tour of Philadelphia with a stop for some pictures at Love Park, and then it was off to local culinary landmark Geno's for cheesesteaks.

All six prospects got steaks, some "wiz wit" -- local slang for with cheese wiz -- while others went "wit out." All, however, gave two thumbs up to their meal.

"Let all the people in Philadelphia know that I love cheesesteaks," Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad said.

The players also got an inside look at Geno's, and Kootenay Ice center Sam Reinhart worked the grill and helped prepare a few sandwiches.

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.25.2014 / 11:56 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

'Rocky' trip as top prospects trolley through Philly

PHILADELPHIA -- The top prospects for the 2014 NHL Draft got their first taste of Philadelphia on Wednesday, taking a trolley tour of the city.

The first stop for Kingston Frontenacs center Samuel Bennett, Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad, Kootenay Ice center Sam Reinhart, Prince Albert Raiders center Leon Draisaitl and Oshawa Generals left wing Michael Dal Colle was the famed steps in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum.

Bennett was one of the few players to have seen the Rocky movies and squad images of the famous scene in "Rocky II" when Rocky runs up the steps.

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.24.2014 / 4:29 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Hextall focused on building Flyers through draft

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall is a staunch advocate of building an organization by way of the NHL Draft.

"Your core pieces, or your homegrown pieces, are big," Hextall said during a pre-2014 NHL Draft press conference at the Flyers practice facility on Tuesday.

The 2014 NHL Draft will be held at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia with the first round on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN) and the remaining six rounds on Saturday (10 a.m. ET; NHL Network).

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Posted On Monday, 06.23.2014 / 2:58 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

German-born Draisaitl set for draft, soccer match

Prince Albert Raiders center Leon Draisaitl is scheduled to arrive in Philadelphia on Wednesday to prepare for all the pomp and circumstance that will accompany the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center this weekend.

Draisaitl, No. 4 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top North American skaters eligible for this year's draft, is projected to hear his name in the early stages of the first round on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS). Considered a power-forward with good touch around the net, Draisaitl finished with 38 goals and 105 points in 64 regular-season games in the Western Hockey League in 2013-14. He also played for Germany at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship and IIHF World Championship.

"I'm so excited and I can't wait for [draft] day," Draisaitl told NHL.com. "The last couple of weeks have gone by so quick and this will be pretty much the most exciting time of my life."

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Posted On Monday, 06.23.2014 / 10:56 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Islanders GM Snow open to trading No. 5 pick in draft

New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow told Newsday he's open to trading the fifth pick at the 2014 NHL Draft if the return is a player that can have an immediate impact on the roster.

"We're open to trading the pick for someone we think can come in and help us right away," Snow said recently.

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Posted On Thursday, 06.19.2014 / 5:10 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Sabres GM feels Panthers will take Ekblad at No. 1

Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray acknowledged Thursday that he expects Ontario Hockey League defenseman Aaron Ekblad of the Barrie Colts to be the first player chosen at the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

The Florida Panthers currently have the No. 1 pick in the draft, and the Sabres hold the No. 2 selection.

"I believe that Ekblad is going to go one and then we pick who we have left; the next guy on our list," Murray said at his pre-draft press conference. "If he doesn’t go one, I'd be surprised, I guess, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it."


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