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Posted On Thursday, 10.23.2014 / 2:09 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Sarnia's Zacha, Korostelev impress in the OHL

The Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League have a pretty formidable top line, with Czech Republic native Pavel Zacha centering right wing Nikita Korostelev and left wing Jordan Kyrou.

    Pavel Zacha (Courtesy: Czech Ice Hockey Association)

NHL Central Scouting's Chris Edwards, who evaluates players in the OHL, has liked what he's seen from the three. He particularly was impressed with Zacha, who is in his first OHL season after spending last season with Liberec in the top professional league in the Czech Republic as a 16-year-old. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound left-shot center had four goals and eight points in 38 games in the Czech Republic last season and was selected by the Sting with the No. 1 pick in the 2014 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft. He's considered a potential top-five pick at the 2015 NHL Draft.

"He's got a high-end skill set and is an excellent competitor," Edwards said of Zacha, who has four goals and six assists in 10 games this season. "He plays an excellent two-way game and broke up a couple of rushes in a recent game I saw him play against the Peterborough Petes. He's physical and solid on his skates and separates guys from the puck. He sees the ice well and can move the puck through traffic."

In addition to Zacha, here are three other players to watch in the OHL:

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Posted On Wednesday, 10.22.2014 / 3:34 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Prospects hoping to impress at First Niagara Center

Erie Otters center Connor McDavid isn't the only high-end prospect eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft preparing to showcase his skills for the many fans and scouts in attendance at First Niagara Center in Buffalo, N.Y. on Wednesday.

While McDavid is unquestionably the main attraction in the Ontario Hockey League regular season matchup at the Sabres home rink at 7 p.m. ET, there are other players hoping to have an impact on the outcome.

Erie forward Dylan Strome, the brother of New York Islanders forward Ryan Strome, was given an A rating on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list for October. Strome (6-foot-3, 187 pounds) is second in league scoring behind McDavid with 23 points (seven goals, 16 assists).

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.21.2014 / 1:12 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

McDavid to lead Erie Otters at First Niagara Center

The pressure associated with performing well in a draft season hasn't gotten the best of Erie Otters center Connor McDavid.

McDavid leads the Ontario Hockey League with 25 points (eight goals, 17 assists) in nine games. He has a point in all nine games, and eight straight multipoint games. He has 61 goals, 190 points and a plus-39 rating in 128 games in three OHL seasons.

The 17-year-old Erie captain will lead the Otters against the Niagara IceDogs on Wednesday in a special regular-season game at First Niagara Center in Buffalo at 7 p.m. ET. The game will give fans in the area a glimpse of McDavid, who is expected to be a top-two pick at the 2015 NHL Draft.

"I've been to a couple Sabres games," McDavid said in August during the announcement of the game in Buffalo. "I was here last year and it's a pretty nice spot. The fans are crazy here; they're great. I'm really excited to play here with my team."

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Posted On Monday, 10.20.2014 / 9:23 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Eichel and McDavid continue race for No. 1

BU center Jack Eichel (Photo: Noah Buchanan/BU Athletics)

Boston University center Jack Eichel doesn't have the look of a typical starry-eyed freshman.

He's basically been in his element since the day he walked on campus. It shows in the way he carries himself not only on the ice for Boston University coach David Quinn, but during a typical press conference when the questions come fast and furious.

Ditto for Erie Otters center Connor McDavid, who in three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League has really generated quite a fervor and excitement in northwestern Pennsylvania.

It's what makes both players so special and why fans and NHL scouts are so looking forward to seeing them lead their respective teams during this season. McDavid and Eichel are expected to be the top two choices at the 2015 NHL Draft in Sunrise, Fla. Who goes first is the million dollar question.

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Posted On Thursday, 10.16.2014 / 10:22 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Youngstown prospect Connor reaches milestone

Youngstown Phantoms forward Kyle Connor, an A-rated prospect on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list, scored the 50th goal of his United States Hockey League career Oct. 11 to help lead his team to a 3-2 shootout victory against the Bloomington Thunder.

Connor, who played in the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game on Sept. 25 at First Niagara Center in Buffalo, has two goals and six points during a five-game point-scoring streak to open the season for Youngstown (3-2-0). The 6-foot-1, 182-pound left-handed shot has 50 goals and 121 points in 123 games in three seasons with the Phantoms.

"He's got a nice stride and quickness and he's good in tight spaces with the puck," Central Scouting's Greg Rajanen said. "I saw him against the [U.S. National Team Development Program Under-18 team] and he really elevated his game. He wants the puck, and when he gets it he makes things happen."

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Posted On Thursday, 10.16.2014 / 9:06 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Otters' McDavid loses game, extends point streak

Top NHL prospects Julius Bergman and Max Domi of the London Knights put to an end the six-game season-opening winning streak by the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League and 2015 NHL Draft top prospect Connor McDavid 4-3 in a shootout Wednesday at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario.

McDavid, an A-rated skater on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list, had two assists to extend his point-scoring streak to seven games. The 6-foot, 195-pound center has seven goals and 13 assists this season.

Erie forward Dylan Strome, also an A-rated skater on Central Scouting's preliminary list, scored in regulation and also had the Otters' only goal in the shootout. Strome, who plays on a line with McDavid, also is has a point in all seven games; his 19 points are second to McDavid's 20.

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.14.2014 / 9:45 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Jeremy Bracco named USHL forward of the week

Right wing Jeremy Bracco, who has points in four straight games for the United States National Team Development Program Under-18 team, was named the CCM Forward of the Week in the United States Hockey League.

Bracco, a 5-foot-9, 173-pound right-handed shooter, is a B-rated skater on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list for October. Bracco, a projected second- or third-round pick at the 2015 NHL Draft, has scored a point in nine of 10 games this season for the USNTDP (8-2-0).

Bracco, who participated in the CCC/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game at First Niagara Center in Buffalo on Sept. 25 and played on a line with A-rated prospect and Boston University freshman Jack Eichel, has six goals and 19 points in 10 games this season. The native of Freeport, N.Y., will attend Boston College in 2015-16.
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Posted On Monday, 10.13.2014 / 8:42 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Top prospects McDavid, Eichel off to strong starts

Erie Otters center Connor McDavid, a projected top-two pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, extended his season-opening point-scoring streak to six games while leading his team to back-to-back wins against the Kitchener Rangers over the weekend.

Boston University center Jack Eichel, also considered a top-two selection, had two goals and two assists in his first college game Saturday, an 8-1 win against the University of Massachusetts at Mullins Center in Amherst, Mass.

Both players are A-rated skaters on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list.

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Posted On Wednesday, 10.08.2014 / 1:15 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Muskegon's Marchin commits to Brown University

Muskegon Lumberjacks left wing Tom Marchin, a C-rated skater on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list for September, will play at Brown University in 2015-16.

Marchin, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound power forward from Algonac, Mich., is in his first season with the Lumberjacks. He has two goals, four points and a plus-6 rating in five United States Hockey League games.

"I've always wanted to go to an Ivy League school and that's why I prided myself in getting good grades during high school to go to an institution like this with the academics that they have to offer," Marchin told the USHL website. "Their hockey program continues to be on the upswing, and the coaching staff is a bunch of great guys that are genuinely interested in me, which I like a lot."

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Posted On Monday, 10.06.2014 / 10:03 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Eichel, McDavid begin season-long battle for No. 1

There's no doubt Boston University center Jack Eichel and Erie Otters center Connor McDavid will be engaged in an anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better competition all season long leading up to the 2015 NHL Draft.

Both players are considered to be top-two picks in the draft and each received an A rating on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list for September.

In Erie's four straight victories to open the season, McDavid had five goals, 12 points and a plus-7 rating. He was named the first star of the game Saturday when he had two goals and four points in a 7-3 victory against the Sarnia Sting. As first star he was honored with wearing the Super Player of the Game suit.

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