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Posted On Thursday, 04.24.2014 / 1:34 PM

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

MacLeod powers U.S. into semifinals at U-18 Worlds

Defenseman Johnathan MacLeod scored two power-play goals and Jack Eichel had a goal and two assists as the United States Under-18 National Team scored a 6-2 victory against Slovakia in the quarterfinal round of the 2014 IIHF World U-18 Championship at Lappeenranta Arena in Finland.

Eichel and MacLeod, No. 44 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, scored goals in the opening 3:28 of the first period. The U.S. scored three times in the first and held Slovakia without a shot (20-0) to build a 3-0 advantage.

Eichel, who was named the player of the game and is on a four-game point streak (four goals, four assists), is eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft in Florida.

"It's definitely a high right now," Eichel told the IIHF website. "Our coaches do a great job preparing us for the games and I think that we've trained so hard for two years and we know what we have to do."

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.23.2014 / 11:22 AM

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

Bettman praises Philadelphia as 2014 NHL Draft host

PHILADELPHIA -- Though it remains to be seen who will hear his name announced as the No. 1 choice at the 2014 NHL Draft in June, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is sure of one thing.

The city of Philadelphia will prove to be an outstanding host over the two-day event on June 27-28 at Wells Fargo Center.

Commissioner Bettman spoke about the upcoming draft during a media availability session prior to Game 3 of the Eastern Conference First Round series at Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday.

"Philadelphia, from the outset, has always been a terrific hockey town," Bettman said. "When you look at the grassroots level, there were 14,000 or more kids who were playing in 50 rinks throughout greater Philadelphia. You look at Snider Hockey, which Ed Snider has created; you look at everything the Flyers have done in the community. When you look at the entry of youngsters, our new players, the future of the League coming into the draft, what better place than Philadelphia?"

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.22.2014 / 4:14 PM

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

Eichel's late goal propels U.S. to win at U-18 Worlds

Jack Eichel, a top prospect for the 2015 NHL Draft, scored with 1:04 left in the third period as the United States beat Finland 4-3 on Tuesday in preliminary-round play at the 2014 IIHF World Under-18 Championship at Lappeenranta Arena in Lappeenranta, Finland.

The game was tied late when Sonny Milano, a forward ranked No. 16 among North American skaters for the 2014 draft, sent a pass to Eichel that he played from between his skates onto his stick. He fired a quick shot that beat Finland goalie Kaapo Kahkonen.

"We had a scouting report on [Kahkonen] before the game and we wanted to get a lot of shots on him and make him work," Eichel told the IIHF website. "End of the shift I'm kind of low and Milano makes a good pass to me. Didn't really have a lot of options, but I was in a spot where we said was a good place to shoot."

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Posted On Monday, 04.21.2014 / 9:31 PM

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

Czechs top host Finns at U-18 Worlds

Jakub Vrana, a top prospect for the 2014 NHL Draft, had one goal in regulation and scored the deciding goal in the shootout as Czech Republic beat Finland 4-3 on Monday in preliminary-round play at the 2014 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.

Vrana, who plays for Linkoping in the Swedish Hockey League, is No. 4 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of European skaters for the 2014 draft.

Vaclav Karabacek, who plays for Gatineau in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and is No. 41 on Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, also had a goal in the game, which was played at Lappeenranta Arena in Lappeenranta, Finland.

Antti Kalapudas had a goal and an assist for Finland. He plays for Karpat's team in Finland's junior league, and Central Scouting ranked him No. 32 among European skaters.

The Czechs took a 3-2 lead on Karabacek's goal with 3:21 left in the third, but Kalapudas set up Sami Niku for the tying goal with 1:12 remaining.

After overtime couldn't settle things, Vrana scored on the Czechs' first turn in the shootout, and David Pastrnak, No. 5 on Central Scouting's list of the top European skaters, scored to close the game.

Czech goaltender Vitek Vanecek, ranked No. 8 among European goalies, made 29 saves in regulation and stopped Kalapudas and top-rated European skater Kasperi Kapanen in the shootout.

The loss was host Finland's first, but the point they gained left them in first place in Group B, one point ahead of Switzerland and the United States. The Czechs are fourth with five points.

"We talked to each other about it before the game, that we needed to go aggressively to the net and do a lot of forechecking," Vrana told the IIHF website. "I think we did a good job in the end, though we stopped playing as hard in the third and we gave up a few unlucky goals."

The Czechs finish preliminary-round play Tuesday against Switzerland. Finland plays the U.S. on Tuesday.

In other action Monday:


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Posted On Monday, 04.21.2014 / 9:36 AM

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

Whalers' Nedeljkovic named OHL's top goaltender

Plymouth Whalers goalie Alex Nedeljkovic of Parma, Ohio, has become the first player in team history to win the Ontario Hockey League's Goaltender of the Year award.

Nedeljkovic, No. 4 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top North American goalies eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, faced the second most shots (2,207) in the OHL and finished with a 26-27-7 record, 2.88 goals-against average and .925 save percentage in 61 games.

"To receive this award is an incredible honor," Nedeljkovic said. "There were many other goaltenders in the league this year that also had great seasons. Credit must be given to all of my teammates that helped me to achieve this award. Game in and game out they would do their best to help make my job easier, and I would try my best to do the same for them. This award recognizes what a goalie has accomplished throughout the season, but it is also a symbol of what the entire team did over the course of the season to be as good as they possibly could defensively."

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Posted On Sunday, 04.20.2014 / 6:04 PM

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

Perlini sparks Canada past Slovakia at U-18 Worlds

Brendan Perlini's goal with 6:37 remaining in regulation was the game-winner as Canada beat Slovakia 2-1 Sunday in a preliminary-round game at the 2014 IIHF World Under-18 Championship at Imatra Arena in Imatra, Finland.

Perlini, No. 8 among North American skaters in Central Scouting's final rankings for the 2014 NHL Draft, scored two goals after Slovakia took a 1-0 lead after one period.

Mason McDonald, ranked No. 2 by Central Scouting among North American goaltenders, stopped 21 of 22 shots, and Canada improved to 3-0 in the tournament and remained alone atop Group A.

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Posted On Saturday, 04.19.2014 / 2:29 PM

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

Nedeljkovic leads U.S. to 3-0 win at U-18 Worlds

Alex Nedeljkovic stopped all 24 shots he faced and the United States rebounded from a loss in its opener of the 2014 IIHF World Under-18 Championship with a 3-0 win Saturday against the Czech Republic at Lappeenranta Arena in Lappeenranta, Finland.

Auston Matthews, Sonny Milano and Kyle Connor scored for the U.S., which needed points after letting a third-period lead slip away in a 4-2 loss to Switzerland in its opener.

"We started off slow in the tournament, but that would be the game to lose if you're going to lose one," U.S. captain Louis Belpedio told the IIHF website. "We played our game and it was a good team game all around. Today [Nedeljkovic] really made a name for himself."

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Posted On Friday, 04.18.2014 / 10:01 PM

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

Karabacek keys Czech Republic win at World U-18s

Vaclav Karabacek, a top prospect for the 2014 NHL Draft, had two goals and two assists as the Czech Republic routed Denmark 9-2 at Lappeenranta Arena in Lappeenranta, Finland, on the second day of the 2014 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.

Karabacek, who plays for Gatineau in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, is No. 41 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top North American skaters for this year's draft.

Jakub Vrana, ranked No. 4 among European skaters, had two goals and an assist. David Pastrnak, No. 5 on the European list, had two assists.

Slovakia beat Germany 4-1 in the other game played Friday.

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Posted On Thursday, 04.17.2014 / 4:51 PM

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

World U-18 roundup: Canada tops Sweden in opener

Jake Virtanen, a top prospect for the 2014 NHL Draft, scored two goals as Canada opened the 2014 IIHF World Under-18 Championship with a 3-1 win against Sweden on Thursday at Imatra Arena in Imatra, Finland.

Mathew Barzal also had a goal for Canada and goaltender Mason McDonald made 24 saves.

Gustav Forsling scored for Sweden.

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.16.2014 / 5:04 PM

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

Canada names roster for U-18 World Championship

Forwards Jake Virtanen and Brendan Perlini and defenseman Haydn Fleury, all projected to be selected in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft, highlight the roster of players that will represent Canada at the 2014 IIHF Men's Under-18 World Championship beginning Thursday in Finland.

Virtanen of the Calgary Hitmen, Perlini of the Niagara IceDogs and Fleury of the Red Deer Rebels were all ranked among the top 10 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the North American skaters eligible for the 2014 draft. Defenseman Roland McKeown, No. 27 on Central Scouting's final ranking, is the only returning player from last year's gold medal-winning performance. Canada is the defending U-18 World Championship gold medal winner.

The Canadian roster includes three goalies, seven defensemen and 13 forwards. There are 12 players representing the Western Hockey League, six from the Ontario Hockey League and five from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The roster includes 18 players eligible for the 2014 draft and five more eligible for the 2015 draft.

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