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2015 NHL Draft

Saint John could be popular team at 2015 draft

Sunday, 06.14.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League were a popular destination for NHL scouts this season.

NHL Central Scouting invited six players from the Sea Dogs to the NHL Scouting Combine, and had a Canadian Hockey League-leading 10 players listed on Central Scouting's final ranking of the top prospects for the 2015 NHL Draft.

"They have a young team, have done well in the European draft and have had the top picks in the QMJHL draft the last couple of years," Central Scouting's Troy Dumville said. "They've built a good stable of young players."

Among those players are four ranked among Central Scouting's top 55 prospects: Defensemen Jakub Zboril (No. 12) and Thomas Chabot (No. 16), and forwards Nathan Noel (No. 54) and Adam Marsh (No. 55). Also well-regarded forwards Samuel Dove-McFalls (No. 70) and Mathieu Joseph (No. 125), and defensemen Bailey Webster (No. 122) Jack van Boekel (No. 180) and Jason Bell (No. 187).

Physical defenseman Zboril adapted well in QMJHL

Sunday, 06.14.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

When European players come to North America, there's always an adjustment to the style of hockey played on this side of the Atlantic.

In the case of Czech-born defenseman Jakub Zboril of the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, scouts didn't need long to see he would do just fine on the smaller rink with the more physical play.

Zboril, a 6-foot-1, 184-pound left-shot defender, had 13 goals and 33 points in 44 games. As skilled as he was offensively, he also had 73 penalty minutes and never backed away from physical play. NHL Central Scouting ranked him No. 12 on its final ranking of North American skaters for the 2015 NHL Draft.

"We think he's a solid two-way player," NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr said. "His game with the puck, without the puck, I don't know there's too many holes in his game. … He's a solid two-way guy that these are the type of guys you see playing in the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs."

Konecny used hockey to develop socially, physically

Thursday, 06.11.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

There was a time when the anxiety of meeting new people outweighed the joy of playing hockey for Ottawa 67's forward Travis Konecny.

"I didn't really want to play hockey," he said. "When I was a little kid I was afraid of the people in the locker room. So my parents told me playing hockey would help alleviate that fear.

"I'm so glad I stuck with it because now I'm more outgoing and I couldn't imagine hockey not being a part of my life."

It's certainly worked well for Konecny. In two seasons with the 67's, the 5-foot-10, 175-pound right wing/center had 55 goals and 138 points in 123 regular-season Ontario Hockey League games.

Coyotes fielding offers for third pick in NHL Draft

Tuesday, 06.09.2015 / 9:57 PM / 2015 NHL Draft


The Arizona Coyotes have the No. 3 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, one general manager Don Maloney would be willing to trade, for the right price.

"I'm like, 'First-born, second-born, maybe I could use a helicopter to take me to work,'" Maloney said Tuesday. "That would certainly get us to start thinking about it."

Maloney, speaking at Gila River Arena, said he was approached by a few general managers at the NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo last week about what he would want for the selection. The first round of the draft is June 26 in Sunrise, Fla.

"I was approached by three teams," Maloney said on the Coyotes website. "I had a call right before [this press conference] asking me what would it take to get that pick. … All in all, those deals start being discussed now, and if there's a deal there, it'll be on the draft floor.

"The idea that we're going to trade that pick outright for a player to help us next year, I think that's remote, though you never know. It's probably more likely we trade down if we don't take the pick. We'll see."

McDavid impresses Messier during Chicago meeting

Monday, 06.08.2015 / 7:33 PM / 2015 NHL Draft

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- Mark Messier, who started his Hall of Fame career with the Edmonton Oilers, spent five minutes chatting with top prospect Connor McDavid on Monday at United Center.

Messier said he came away thoroughly impressed with the potential future star of the Oilers, who are expected to select McDavid with the No. 1 pick at the 2015 NHL Draft on June 26.

"What a fine young gentleman, very down to earth and very honored, genuinely so, to be in the position that he is," Messier said of McDavid in a press conference prior to Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final to promote the Bridgestone Mark Messier Leadership Award. "I think the thing that struck me the most was how well-versed [McDavid] was in the history of the game and how much appreciation he had for the players that have carved the path for these young kids. He has a real sense for the history and tradition of the game, which I find very admirable."

Strome, Marner continue longstanding competition

Monday, 06.08.2015 / 2:00 PM / 2015 NHL Draft

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

CHICAGO — Mitchell Marner and Dylan Strome have been competing against each other since they were 10 years old.

They are two kids from the Toronto area, and they are still competing even though there are no more hockey games to play this season. Marner and Strome are two of the top prospects available in the 2015 NHL Draft, which is June 26-27 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.

They are also close friends.

"We used to hate each other growing up the whole time," Marner said Monday at United Center. "He was always playing for the [Toronto] Marlies and I was always playing for the Vaughn Kings or Don Mills [Flyers]. We were kind of the head-on-head match of the [Greater Toronto Hockey League] at that time. Everyone knew Dylan and I was kind of a smaller guy that no one really expected too much of.

Center Joseph Veleno, 15, taken first in QMJHL Draft

Sunday, 06.07.2015 / 3:10 PM / 2015 NHL Draft


Joseph Veleno, the first player from Quebec to be granted exceptional player status by Hockey Canada, was selected by the Saint John Sea Dogs with the first pick of the 2015 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Draft on Saturday.

Hockey Canada had announced Thursday a reversal of an earlier decision that allowed Veleno, a center who turned 15 in January, to enter the QMJHL draft a year earlier than other eligible players.

Listed at 6-foot, 168 pounds, Veleno had 16 goals and 52 points in 41 games for the Lac St-Louis Lions of the Quebec Midget AAA Hockey League this season. He also was second on Team Quebec at the Canada Winter Games with 10 points in six games.

Buffalo leaves lasting impression as Combine setting

Sunday, 06.07.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

BUFFALO – The NHL Scouting Combine was always a fixture in Toronto, but Buffalo hosted the event for the first time in 2015 and left a big impression on teams and players.

The Combine was held at First Niagara Center and the HarborCenter in downtown Buffalo and allowed all the events from interviews to workouts to be held in its own space.

"I’m not sure you’re going to find a bad word," New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero said. "I mean in terms of how this has been run and the Buffalo Sabres what they've done and now with this new facility, it's a great opportunity to show people what this is like. They put a lot of time and effort into this, and certainly money, but for the kids and the staff this whole week has been really, really good."

Eichel highlights results from NHL Scouting Combine

Saturday, 06.06.2015 / 8:07 PM / 2015 NHL Draft

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

BUFFALO -- Boston University center Jack Eichel showed he has a fitness level to match his tremendous on-ice skills at the 2015 NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo on Saturday.

Eichel, NHL Central Scouting's No. 2-ranked North American skater for the 2015 NHL Draft, finished in the top 10 among all prospects at the fitness testing in seven categories.

Among his top accomplishments was lasting 12 minutes and 15 seconds on the VO2 Max bike test, which measures a player's endurance. The only player to match Eichel was Gatineau Olympiques center Iakov Trenin. Seattle Thunderbirds right wing Keegan Kolesar stayed on for 12:01, and Portland Winterhawks left wing Paul Bittner and center Joel Eriksson Ek of Frolunda of the Swedish Hockey League tied for fourth at 12 minutes.

Eichel bests McDavid at 2015 NHL Scouting Combine

Saturday, 06.06.2015 / 3:38 PM / 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

BUFFALO -- Erie Otters center Connor McDavid and Boston University center Jack Eichel went head-to-head on the ice at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.

On Saturday they had another chance to see who was better during the fitness testing portion of the 2015 NHL Scouting Combine.

Eichel got the best of McDavid in five of the six tests that posted results: Standing long jump, vertical jump, pro-agility test, bench press and pull-ups. Eichel also lasted longer than McDavid on the VO2 Max stationary bike on Friday. That test measures a player's endurance and stamina.

McDavid and Eichel didn't hesitate when asked which of the nine tests Saturday offered the greatest challenge.

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