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Posted On Wednesday, 05.14.2014 / 1:44 PM

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

Ekblad, Nedeljkovic named OHL First Team All-Stars

Defenseman Aaron Ekblad of the Barrie Colts and goalie Alex Nedeljkovic of the Plymouth Whalers, two top prospects from North America eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, were recognized as First Team All-Stars by the Ontario Hockey League on Wednesday.

The OHL All-Star teams were selected by the league's general managers.

Ekblad, who was named the defenseman of the year in the OHL after finishing with career highs in goals (23), assists (30), power-play goals (16), points (53) and penalty minutes (91) in his third season, is No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top North American skaters. He is projected by many scouts to be the first defenseman off the draft board in the first round on June 27 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.13.2014 / 3:10 PM

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

Waterloo defenseman Montour wins top USHL player

Waterloo Black Hawks defenseman Brandon Montour on Tuesday was named the top defenseman and player of the year in the United States Hockey League.

Montour, No. 92 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top North American players eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, becomes just the third defenseman in USHL history to be named the league's Player of the Year.

"What Brandon did on both ends of the ice this season was phenomenal and a big part of the magical year for the Waterloo Black Hawks," said USHL president and commissioner Skip Prince. "He may have come into the USHL a little under the radar, but he made everyone take notice this season with his tremendous abilities and talent. Congratulations to him on this dual honor and for standing out in a league full of stars."

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Posted On Friday, 05.09.2014 / 9:34 AM

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

Top 2015 prospect McDavid selected in KHL draft

Erie Otters center Connor McDavid, who many project to be the No. 1 pick at the 2015 NHL Draft in Florida, was selected by Medvescak Zagreb in the second round (No. 77) of the Kontinental Hockey League draft on Thursday.

Zagreb will hold McDavid's KHL rights, but that likely won't matter since the 17-year-old prodigy is expected to suit up for an NHL team in 2015-16 right out of training camp.

It's not the first time a player projected to be a top pick in a future NHL draft was selected by a KHL team. Ak Bars Kazan chose Taylor Hall (Edmonton Oilers) No. 89 in 2009; Vityaz Podolsk chose Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado Avalanche) No. 114 in 2012 and Podolsk chose 2014 top prospect Aaron Ekblad No. 171 in 2013. Ekblad is projected to be the top defenseman off the board at the 2014 draft in Philadelphia.

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.07.2014 / 11:02 AM

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

Notable last names part of 2014 USHL draft

The latest edition of the United States Hockey League draft concluded on Tuesday with some familiar names prepared to take the next big step in their hockey-playing careers with the hopes of following the successful paths of their fathers.

Topping the list was Edina High School forward Keiffer Bellows, the son of 1993 Stanley Cup champion Brian Bellows, who played 17 seasons with five NHL teams. Bellows was selected in the first round (No. 13) by the Sioux Falls Stampede after scoring 10 goals and 27 points in 25 games as a sophomore at Edina.

Bellows was part of Phase 1 of the two-part draft conducted over two days beginning on Monday when 124 players with 1998 birth years were chosen over eight rounds. These players normally don't play immediately in the USHL, but remain on the affiliate lists of USHL teams and compete for roster spots in the future.

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Posted On Friday, 05.02.2014 / 4:32 PM

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

Panthers GM Tallon will shop No. 1 pick in draft

Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said he would consider trading the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft for the right price in return.

Tallon made the announcement during a radio interview Thursday on Sportsnet 590 The Fan.

"I definitely will [shop the pick], especially this year," Tallon said.

The first round of the draft will take place on June 27 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

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Posted On Thursday, 05.01.2014 / 3:24 PM

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

League finals begin this week in OHL, QMJHL, WHL

While the NHL stars of today are ready to start the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the players of tomorrow are focused on their goal of reaching the Memorial Cup.

The Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League all will start their league finals this week, with the winning teams advancing to join the host London Knights in the Canadian Hockey League championship series May 16-27.

The first series to start is the OHL final between the Guelph Storm and North Bay Battalion, which begins Thursday.

Leading the way for Guelph is center Robert Fabbri, who is No. 21 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2014 NHL Draft. The 5-foot-10, 164-pound center had nine goals and nine assists in 11 playoff games; his nine goals are tied for second on the team and he has at least a point in eight straight games.

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Posted On Sunday, 04.27.2014 / 2:40 PM

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

U.S. captures gold medal at U-18 Worlds

Left wing Sonny Milano, No. 16 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, had a goal and two assists to help lead the United States Under-18 National Team to a 5-2 victory against the Czech Republic in the gold medal game of the 2014 IIHF World U-18 Championship at Lappeenranta Arena in Finland.

Auston Matthews, a 16-year-old from Scottsdale, Ariz., not eligible until the 2016 NHL Draft, scored two goals, and center Dylan Larkin and defenseman Jack Dougherty also scored for the Americans.

Matthews, a third-line center, closed out the tournament on a six-game point streak with five goals and two assists over that stretch. The 6-foot, 192-pound left shot forward had 22 goals and 48 points in 42 games for the National Team Development Program in 2013-14.

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Posted On Saturday, 04.26.2014 / 11:40 AM

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

U.S. advances to World U-18 final

Dylan Larkin, a top prospect for the 2014 NHL Draft, had a goal and an assist as the United States advanced to the gold-medal game at the 2014 IIHF World Under-18 Championship with a 4-1 win against Sweden in a semifinal game played Saturday at Lappeenranta Arena in Lappeenranta, Finland.

The United States will face the Czech Republic in the championship game on Sunday at Imatra Arena in Imatra, Finland. The Czech Republic beat Canada 4-3 in overtime, with David Kase scoring the winner 6:17 into extra time.

Canada, the defending gold medalists, got a goal and an assist from Matt Barzal, a top prospect for the 2015 NHL Draft. Joseph Hicketts and Daniel Audette also had goals. Mason McDonald, No. 2 on Central Scouting's final ranking of North American goaltenders for the 2014 NHL Draft, made 29 saves.
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Posted On Thursday, 04.24.2014 / 3:15 PM

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

Barrie's Ekblad named OHL Defenseman of the Year

Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad, No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, on Thursday was named Defenseman of the Year in the Ontario Hockey League.

Many NHL scouts project the 6-foot-3, 216-pound right-handed shot to be the first defenseman taken in the first round of the draft at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on June 27.

Ekblad, who finished with career highs in goals (23) power-play goals (16), assists (30), points (53) and penalty minutes (91) in his third OHL season, earned first-place finishes for best shot, hardest shot, best offensive defenseman and best defensive defenseman in the Eastern Conference of the OHL this season. The captain of the Colts was also voted second in the category of best penalty killer.

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Posted On Thursday, 04.24.2014 / 2:42 PM

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

Konency's late goal lifts Canada into U-18 World semis

Forward Travis Konecny scored with 30 seconds remaining in the third period to give the Canadian Under-18 National Team a 3-2 victory against Switzerland in the quarterfinal round of the 2014 IIHF World U-18 Championship on Thursday at Imatra Arena in Finland.

Canada, the defending champion, will face the Czech Republic in the semifinal round of the tournament on Saturday. The other semifinal pits the United States against Sweden. The gold-medal game is slated for Sunday at 12 p.m. ET.

Konecny, a 5-foot-9, 172-pound center from the Ottawa 67's in the Ontario Hockey League, was assisted by Travis Sanheim on the game-winning goal.

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